Worklogic has a new address, as while moving, we have been thinking about our role as a hybrid workforce. Worklogic has been working flexibly across office, client site and home since its inception and we have advised many workplaces who are embracing hybrid work. As working from home recommendations are lifting across the country, even more Team Managers and HR Advisors are limbering up to deal with the next set of challenges brought about by the digital transformation we had to have in the last few years.
The newly released APSC report Working during the Pandemic: The future of work is hybrid, made findings that appear to be repeatedly coming out of this emerging area. Assessments of productivity have remained fairly steady after the counterintuitive spike in “panic productivity” reported in the first year of the pandemic. It’s pretty clear that most of our office based work can be done without too much change in productivity.
The report also showed that the majority of employees would like to maintain some kind of flexible work and the most popular option was working from home.
In 2021, the Victorian Secretaries Board issued a guidance note which stated that the default position for full time office-based VPS employees was three days a week in the office. While it remains to be seen whether this recommendation remains the same in 2022, this position mirrors statistics from the US where studies have shown that for full time knowledge workers, the emerging picture of work is that of three days in the office and two days at home.
This Hybrid model creates a few logistical challenges for managers.
Many employees still want to see their colleagues in person some of the time, although the amount of that time varies from team to team and person to person. It makes sense to use office space as a time to get together and collaborate – which of course means that organisations will need almost as much office space as they did pre-pandemic. At Worklogic, we have managed this by moving into a flexible office space, we have offices and meeting rooms that are just ours, as well as soundproof booths for videocalls, nearby meeting rooms we can book for clients, shared break out spaces, places for relaxing, eating lunch and playing games. Other organisations manage their office space by staggering the days that different teams are in and out of the office.
Communications with a Hybrid Team
When they are working from home, employees want assurances that they will get the same level of consideration for promotion, training, networking and access to interesting work as employees in the office.
An interesting thing we noticed when reviewing organisations during the height of lockdowns was how much happier the part-timers, or already remote workers were. Finally, they were on a level footing with everyone else, no longer an afterthought, there were systems and processes set up so that everyone got the same information at the same time. Asynchronous methods of information delivery became the norm, rather than having to ask people about what might have happened at a meeting where they were not present.
The challenge for team leaders as they head into Hybrid work is ensuring that information flows smoothly to employees whether they are in the office, working from home or are somewhere in between.
Noticeboards on Trello or MS Teams or Slack are useful places to store information so that everyone can access them. If your primary purpose is to provide information, hybrid work means that it is more important than ever to have the information somewhere people can come back and read what is going on.
Meetings are also a challenge when you are meeting with people in person around a table as well as people joining by video conference. Hybrid meetings often mean either muffled voices and out of focus pictures in the ‘in person’ room or people who’ve joined online feeling like they are eavesdropping on a conversation had in a meeting room. Ensure that you invest in decent tech so that those on video can be clearly seen and try suggesting that everyone in the meeting room looks at the screen and the camera (they should be in the same place!) rather than at each other.
Shattering the Virtual Ceiling
We are still gathering data about the longer term effects of moving from office-based to home based work. One area of interest is the impact of working from home on advancement and promotion at work. Some people see the growth in acceptance and support for flexible work finally providing infrastructure to those people with volunteering, household or caring responsibilities to meaningfully balance work and personal responsibilities. Others worry that women will primarily work from home and miss out on the networking and presenteeism bonuses of work in the office.
For International Women’s Day, I will be joined by our Perth Director, Jennifer Porter as well as Bronwen Clark, CEO, National Growth Areas Alliance and Cecelia Irvine-So from Moores Legal to talk about the opportunities and risks for women and hybrid work. I’d love to see you there!
Worklogic Melbourne has moved to:
Level 19, 15 William St,
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Worklogic | Webinar
International Women’s Day: Shatter the Virtual Ceiling
Wednesday 9th March, 12:30pm
Jodie Fox- Director, Worklogic
Jennifer Porter- Director, Worklogic
Cecelia Irvine-So- Practice Leader, Accredited Specialist Commercial Law, Moores Legal
Bronwen Clark- Chief Executive Officer, National Growth Areas Alliance
As mask mandates lift this week across the country and more employees return to the office, our next challenge is navigating the new world of hybrid workplaces. For women, who are more likely to take advantage of workplace flexibility, does the technological transformation finally offer the infrastructure for real work-life balance, or will those working from home be disadvantaged by a bias toward being present, creating a new “virtual ceiling” for female employees?
For International Women’s Day, join our experienced and outspoken panel – Cecelia Irvine-So, Practice Leader, Accredited Specialist Commercial Law, Moores Legal and Bronwen Clark, Chief Executive Officer- National Growth Areas Alliance will join Worklogic directors Jodie Fox and Jennifer Porter for a special panel to talk about the opportunities and risks of remote working and hybrid work and the impact this has on women in the workplace.
Worklogic lunchtime webinars are free. Register here.