Hybrid working: How to get the best of distributed and colocated collaboration

At this point we’re well into the Covid-19 remote work experiment. The result? From the looks of it, working remotely has, well, worked. Many companies in tech and knowledge work have quickly adopted standard policies allowing for more flexible ways of working. Twitter, Facebook and many others have adopted long-term policies to allow for working-from-anywhere. [link] Even traders accustomed to long days on frenzied trading floors have found benefits in the shift to working from home. [link] 

The initial success of the remote experiment has not surprised us. We’ve been studying remote work for a while now and knew how productive remote work could be. 

We observed how remote workers were able to focus deeply on tasks. We saw them start their mornings earlier and work later than their commuting counterparts. And we noticed how they were able to take advantage of their more flexible days to exercise, cook and look after assorted children and pets.

The current experiment seems to reveal that these benefits persist as companies shift to distributed working at scale and at pace. Despite the concerns that many may have had previously, getting work done is not a problem for distributed teams and workforces. Most hiring managers feel that productivity has increased rather than decreased [link].

From WFH to a new hybrid

Many organisations are now trying to decide on their strategy for working going forward. Should it be “everyone back in the office”? Everyone works from home? Work from wherever you want? With so much uncertainty and complexity, too many organisations are seeking a false sense of security either hoping to “return to normal” or to fit in with the trailblazers going remote with bold visions of the future of work. This leads to knee-jerk blanket decisions that prevent us from asking the single most necessary question: how can our teams best get their different types of work done?

In this whitepaper we explore the benefits and downsides of distributed work. We propose an approach to designing a hybrid work model that is not a free-for-all but is crafted to achieve the greatest benefits from both remote and colocated working.

Check out the White Paper to continue reading…

// Calen Cole, Associate Director

Illustrations by Sooraj Seshan