In this quarter, The Change Maker Group will focus on the hybrid and flexible work world.  This blog is the first of our new series of articles explaining the rationale for this focus, and how to employ hybrid working for better outcomes.

At The Change Maker Group we are always looking to support clients to find new ways of working.  Recently, we ran a poll over social media, to find out which business issues are relevant for your organisation, as we move into another next “normal”.

We offered a wide range of issues, all taken from clients’ recent wish-lists of changes they want for their organisations.  The choices were:

  • “Hybrid” workplace (remote/office blend)
  • Flexible working (better use of office space and time spent travelling)
  • Moving towards an agile leadership mindset
  • Moving towards an agile mindset throughout the organisation
  • Widening diversity of thought in the organisation
  • More use of AI and new technologies
  • Focusing on staff wellbeing
  • Focusing on a more sustainable supply chain

This is what you told us about hybrid working

Our respondents came from UK companies and organisations.  It is clear that physical ways of working are occupying those leaders’ thoughts.  The highest-scoring section, with 34% of respondents, said they were looking at introducing (or perhaps improving) “hybrid” and/or flexible working, and exploring “agile” working too.  This suggests the “going back to the office” mindset is changing, which means working practices and policies are changing to follow suit.

That is likely to have knock-on effects on many areas: workforce recruitment and onboarding; real estate and facilities management; employment contract revisions; insurance … we are still probably only just scratching the surface of the sea-change that the flexible working shift could bring.  Whether it will bring that shift, remains to be seen.

It is also important to note our focus on hybrid working FOR BETTER OUTCOMES.  Our respondents were looking at how to retain staff to enable their businesses to recover, bounce back and then thrive.  Staff retention was mentioned in some ancillary comments, as was staff wellbeing and some self-care for leaders too.  There is clearly a wider and deeper understanding of the importance of that human element in business.  As a change consultancy working primarily with and through an organisation’s people, this was music to our ears … and the reason for our new series of articles.

After Hybrid Working came “Agile”

The next highest sector of anticipated new ways of working is “agile”.  Long the preserve of the project manager and process engineer, this is now playing an important role in altering leadership approaches.  Introducing “agile” as a mindset and leadership approach is credited with resulting in increased flexibility, positive accountability and shared understanding of common goals tested with controlled risk taking.  In other words, many of the leadership behaviours thrust upon organisations by the pandemic.

The 29% of respondents looking at this may have found it works for them as a happy accident and are keen to grow its use.  Or maybe they have looked at competitors using “agile” and want the improved results the competitors appear to be getting as a result.  Again, who knows the reason, but here at The Change Maker Group, we support clients to understand, embrace and deploy a flexible and adaptive leadership mindset – it’s a core tenet of our change leadership approach.  However, some change agents in the marketplace are whispering that “agile” as a leadership style may be a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes.  That’s food for another blog, however.

Having reviewed our survey results, we then took a look at the use of search terms online.  This example shows the increase in use of “hybrid working” as a search term.  As you may be able to see from the graph, this started to become a real focus for attention around the start of March 2021.

graph showing increased use of HYBRID WORKING search term

What is also interesting is that another search term which has been used a lot over the same period of time is “hybrid working meaning”.  This tells us there are a lot of organisations (and their leaders) still unsure of quite what hybrid working means and what it entails.

If that’s you, we can help.

For the next few months, The Change Maker Group will be publishing regular articles and thought pieces focusing on helping people to answer those two questions: “What is Hybrid Working?”; and “What does it entail?”.

So please read our articles and build up your own knowledge – and confidence – about the subject.

And if the results from the poll chime with what you are hearing from across your organisation, please help us learn what is going on for your teams … or perhaps what those better outcomes are that you want.  We would love to hear from you, and to discuss how we might be able to help you.  There’s always a Change Maker available to have a chat, so please book a free session here.

Astrid Davies

To contact Astrid please email.