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Managers from all over the world look more and more like Carlo Verdone in 'A beautiful bag', when he is desperately looking for a travel companion to take on an unlikely summer adventure in Krakow. It is not easy to ask employees "how are you doing?" if it is a question of reorganizing an office presence at the time of hybrid work.
If this request (and the consequent answers, mostly negative) also concerns salaries, profits and leasesbecomes something very stressful.
In recent weeks, all plans to return to the office have staggered, for different reasons, almost everywhere. In the US, cases of Covid are on the rise and are holding back the "Great Return": in Europe the uncertainties are perhaps more linked to spending and the war situation in Ukraine. In all cases, however, the new awareness of workers weighs heavily. And the desire for a more "asymmetrical" but "luminous" work.
Already in 2021 the plans in the presence were based on arithmetic: roughly, the trend was 3 days in attendance and two more days at home. Today? The division already appears to be outdated, or complex. And executives try to abandon rigid rules to more easily adapt to life (there is only one) of employees.
The manual of hybrid work has not yet been written
At the two extremes we find giants like Goldman Sachs who have resumed with 5 days of work in attendance, and tech companies such as Airbnb who told employees "stay and work from home forever". In between, the purgatory of a world without rules. Unlike totally remote or totally in-person working models, hybrid models are developing differently in every office.
The key word is Chaos.
A Robin survey of 10.000 companies around the world reveals that 20% of workers return to attendance only one day a week. About 10% return for two days, only 5% return for 3 days and gradually even fewer return for 4 or 5 days. More than 50% of the workers surveyed do not use the office consistently, i.e. on the same days week by week.
How will inertia change? Many companies just don't know this. Who should decide is weighing actions and reactions well, because the relationships of employees with each other and with company leadership are at stake.
When you come back to go out, but not to go to work
A trend to be noted (for now with data coming only from the USA) also shows us another phenomenon: the total or partial reopening of many sectors has not affected the desire of workers to review their balance between home and office.
Participation in NBA basketball games, for example, is 95% of that pre Covid. Meals eaten outdoors are 87%. Many entertainment businesses are picking up their pace, but face-to-face work isn't growing at the same rate.
For this reason, the path of incentives is also attempted: those who manage a company are realizing that among the important factors there is also that of making people understand the benefits of working together, when greater than the boredom of a (sometimes long) daily commute. . Why work as an "obligation" is perceived more and more as a "choice".
Jeffries, an investment bank, publishes invitations to employees on Instagram for team dinners, or "motivational" requests to older employees: come back, he tells them, to help younger colleagues build community. Already. Because there is also a community, if you had forgotten it.
The magic of working together
There is no denying the enormous convenience of being able to work, when in the right sector, even mainly from home. And many workers experience it so vividly that they have become refractory to all the abstract "benefits" of teamwork.
Yet, this does not detract from teamwork, which also has incredible pluses.
What can be the solution? Why a solution is needed: 40% of workers have already decided for their future that they want to work in a hybrid way. And, since hybrid work is the future, it should be written together in the best way.
Once again a practical example: Relays Payments, a US online payment platform. He wanted happier employees (and therefore more productive) and tried to encourage them without controlling them.
Two days a week, free meals, work plans that use presence to collaborate together. In other words? It doesn't just say “stay in the office at least two days a week”, it says what's different.
They say what can be done in the office that cannot be done from home.
Here, the whole difference in the world between the Great Resignation and the Great Return depends on the answer to this question. Indeed, it depends on the overcoming of this scheme of hybrid work, to reach the final goal.
To the manual that is not there today: the one for a Great Job.