The Hybrid Model
For most of us, 2022 has been a challenging year. Post-traumatic stress from Covid-chaos, the economy, war in Ukraine, loadshedding… We have all been impacted by the adversities of life.
The new way of work that most companies have implemented, the Hybrid Model, has created new challenges. Heart warming as the reconnection with our colleagues are, the majority of us find it difficult to stomach another change to our lifestyles.
It was a struggle when we were forced to navigate working from home during the Lockdown. We adapted, some slower than others, to new technology, working alone, being a ‘home’ parent, longer hours, and self-regulation of work. Even the proximity of the fridge. We also became too comfortable, even over productive in our bubble, and the fact we could spend the travel time on other important things. We adjusted to a different rhythm.
The hybrid model is still a more flexible way to work, although the conflict and push-back lies in the identity crisis. Most leaders and teams have not adopted their identity to a hybrid model. After observing a variety of industries, I came to this conclusion: (a very personal and subjective one)
- There is more pushback and negativity if management hasn’t spent enough time communicating the ‘why’ of the need for the implementation of the hybrid model. A generic broadcast from the top is not enough.
- All teams need to go back to basics and draw up a cooperative hybrid contract. How to navigate the new identity, what are the non-negotiables, choices of channels of communication, recognising the diverse values in the team etc.
- People want to be treated as individuals. The hybrid model will have different gifts and gaps for each one of us. A grief cycle exercise (Ref: Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle) may help the team and leader understand where each person finds themselves in the cycle.
- Leadership needs a makeover. A hybrid leader is a virtual leader on steroids. Leaders need to create a new identity for themselves, for the team.
- A hybrid culture needs to learn from what has worked in the past, and let go of what is not working. Ask the team – let their voices and experience count.
- Compassion is the new sexy. We need to start embracing social intelligence – change ‘I’ to ‘We’ to form a community at work again.
- Fear makes people stupid. It leads to authoritative leadership and micromanagement. This causes burnout and a dysfunctional team.
- Lastly, we need to accept that the new way of work is here. Stop the blaming and shaming. Face your fear – you may need to take micro steps. Choose how this will impact you. Negativity affects everyone, mostly your own health and happiness.
Let go of what was, this is now. As tough as it is, it is what it is.
“It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”
Charles Darwin “Origin of Species”