Making Room for Everyone on the Highway to Hybrid Work


Dancing With Hybrid

It’s been two years since the working world was flipped on its head, thanks to a pandemic many of our contingency plans barely considered.

How we work changed. Full stop. And most of the questions we hear now are about managing the stops and starts for your teams as you attempt to journey on the highway back to “normal.”

If your company, like many, has decided to transition to a hybrid work model, remember that this isn’t a flip-a-switch event. The transition is a process that will take effort, preparation, and honest, direct communication about expectations and safety.

Even if your hybrid approach is clearly defined, leaders can benefit from identifying their own and their team’s work styles so that they understand how the return to office, or hybrid work strategy, will impact your work in the future. It’s also important to address what’s happening and accommodate and engage teams as you transition from fully remote to a hybrid environment.

One Size Does Not Fit All

As a change consultancy, we’ve had the opportunity to help hundreds of leaders make the transition from remote to hybrid work. And it all starts with recognizing that one size does not fit all, that individuals have different styles and preferences, and that leaders and organizations must understand and acknowledge the diversity of workstyles within their companies. We call them personas.

When companies make the time and space for leaders to reflect on workplace personas – their own and those of the people on their teams — they help leaders demonstrate the empathy and understanding that builds trust with employees. We’ve found that leaders everywhere are hungry to have the opportunity to identify their own styles and preferences, and to learn how best to do this with the people who report to them.

Of the four workplace personas below, which feels most like you right now?

The Workplace Personas:

CLASSICS do their best work in the office. It’s where they get their energy. They value a traditional work style, including face time with colleagues. They work from home only out of necessity and are eager to get back to the office full time.

CONNECTORS do their best work with their colleagues – especially in the office. They are open to flexible work arrangements and are happy to split time between the workplace and home. But they look forward to creating memorable moments with co-workers because building relationships is a key motivator for them at work.

BALANCERS do their best work when they can maintain work-life balance. They prefer working from home, with only a day or two in the office each week. They place great value on getting their work done in the most efficient manner. They value facetime with colleagues – when there’s a good reason.

INDEPENDENTS do their best work independently in their own workspace. They prefer working remotely all the time and are standard-bearers for the remote worker. They feel limited by too much structure or a weekly pre-defined schedule. Independents value connection but find ways to do it successfully in the virtual world.

What This Means For You

You will likely find all these personas in your organization. So how can you adjust and take action to engage your people and bring them along the journey to a hybrid workplace? Start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • What are the strengths of this persona and how can I leverage them?
  • What are the common challenges with this persona?
  • What actions can I take with this persona to engage and include them?

For example, make sure Classics are engaged during remote meetings and feel okay coming to an office that might be sparsely populated. Schedule one-on-ones with them in person! Independents appreciate having their productivity validated, even when you can’t see them. Make sure you continue to understand your team’s needs while you ensure the needs of your business are met. Talk to your teams, they will appreciate you reaching out and listening.

Remember, there is no “right” or “better” persona; in fact, all of them contribute unique value to your team. You, yourself, may be in more than one – or perhaps you have shifted your persona throughout the pandemic.

To find out more about how companies are managing the transition to hybrid work, please Notion.