Leadership Faces Massive Challenges Aligning Their Strategy For Hybrid Work

Guest Post by Howspace

Results from Howspace’s new global survey indicate that despite 94% of surveyed respondents feeling well-equipped to transition to a hybrid work model, leadership teams still do not have clarity for how to lead teams and work together with people in a hybrid work environment.

The Howspace hybrid work survey sample was 303 team leaders, consultants, and employees across a range of industries and organization types and sizes in 31 countries between July 1, 2021 to August 6, 2021. In this article, we share key findings from the survey to consider as you make the transition to hybrid work.

A third of respondents said post-COVID working model decisions are made top-down 

When post-COVID working model decisions are made within the leadership team, employees are not asked about their preferences.

Additionally, 20% of respondents who work as employees do not feel that leadership is taking action based on their feedback for how, where, and when they’d like to work.

Howspace hybrid model

The push for going back to the office is largely being driven from the top. Yet especially since COVID-19, employees overwhelmingly expect flexible options. With so many people “rage quitting” their jobs, there’s a lot at stake for leaders when it comes to implementing a hybrid work model. This post-pandemic resignation boom has been dubbed “The Great Resignation,” as people leave their jobs in search of more flexibility, happiness, and money.

By not involving employees in the decision-making process—or not acting on their feedback—you risk losing them for a company that offers what they’re looking for.

Howspace hybrid model work

There is no single right way to do hybrid work

There are disparities in the methods bigger and smaller companies are returning to the office: Large companies (250+ employees) have the strictest policies for remote work, while small to medium-sized companies predominantly plan to offer complete freedom and flexibility around remote work, according to the Howspace survey.

When it comes to hybrid work, there is no cookie-cutter solution for all companies. A hybrid work model will look different for each organization, and co-creating that model with everyone in your company is the key to success.

Organizations need new ways of working both synchronously and asynchronously

The Howspace survey highlights that teams in both large and small companies still have a long way to go to overcome and develop leadership and internal communication challenges.

What’s the solution for overcoming these challenges? For Howspace CEO Ilkka Mäkitalo, the answer does not rely on more tools to improve information sharing and gathering opinions at the workplace.

“Employees are easily using 15 different tools when working remotely or in a hybrid environment. Instead of throwing new tools at the problem, we need to consider how to ensure new ways of working that support learning and development, while still maintaining culture and improving equality throughout the whole organization.

The hybrid era doesn’t mean that we only create ways for collaboration in the setting where we work synchronously, in different locations but at the same time. Leaders should also give people possibilities to work asynchronously and really collaborate all together,” he concludes.

People have very different preferences for sharing their thoughts and opinions within an organization

The survey respondents’ preferences for how to share their thoughts and opinions with others in their organization varies quite a bit, with the majority preferring to share verbally during small in-person meetings

Howspace survey results

A major challenge of hybrid work is how to lead and work together with people who have very different preferences for sharing their thoughts and opinions within an organization.

Not every person feels comfortable sharing their thoughts out loud or in meetings. Plus, Feeling overwhelmed with more meetings and messages was another top challenge with hybrid work, according to our survey results.

The hybrid model calls for new ways of collaborating that allow for a balance of focused work and opportunities to discuss ideas and opinions together.

Finding new ways of working can be done by adapting a facilitator’s mindset—understanding how human relationships work and designing the work to best suit these habits and needs. We can take an exploratory approach and ask ourselves “How can I best accomplish this goal?” rather than automatically booking a meeting, for example. You can read more about Howspace’s findings and tips here!

Want to get more insights from the global Howspace survey? Get your free copy of our ebook: The hybrid work model playbook, including research-backed insights and strategies for making hybrid work successful.