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The Hybrid Organization: Empowering Employees in the Post-Pandemic Era


The hybrid work model has been described as the way of the future, but there is no one definition of a hybrid work model. Companies define hybrid work differently – for some, it means people work on-site some of the time and elsewhere some of the time. For others, it refers to a structure where some teams are entirely on-site and others (within the same organization) are entirely remote. Some companies are even experimenting with or fully implementing the practice of “hoteling,” in which assigned desks are replaced by shared, reservable workstations and people come into the central headquarters only when necessary or preferred.[1]

Global research has shown that 72% of corporate leaders plan to offer a hybrid model.[2] Indeed, in a March 2021 survey of more than 9,300 professionals worldwide, 83 percent of the respondents said they’d prefer a hybrid work model (a mix of working in the office and from home) going forward.[3]

Hybrid work models share a common denominator: Flexibility for both individuals and the organization. This flexible model of work has many benefits, including improved employee productivity, real estate cost savings, and job satisfaction to name a few. But “flexible” should not be construed as “improvised.” Like any major organizational change, adopting hybrid work can lead to a decline in employee’s workplace experience, retention, and productivity. Managing teams in a hybrid work environment requires careful planning and clear communication. Hybrid work model success requires well-defined structures and strong, well-trained management.

HR professionals agree that to reap the benefits of collaboration in the hybrid organization, companies should be mindful of organizational culture and think outside the box to create an environment that’s inclusive and supportive of all working arrangements. Consistency and cohesion are key; without both, you run the risk of having two (or more) separate organizations – one that works on-site, and one that works somewhere else. The hybrid model may look different for every organization and if not implemented thoughtfully, it could threaten culture, collaboration, and innovation. Conversely, a well-executed hybrid plan can be a magnet that brings people together and increases engagement and productivity.[4]

How can managers create an equitable and effective organization in the new normal? Many HR professionals and organizations have weighed in on the issue. While not exhaustive, we’ve compiled a list of three key factors that are imperative to engaging employees in this new age: (1) Communicate, Communicate, Communicate; (2) Provide the Tools Needed to Succeed from Any Location; and (3) Find Ways to Motivate Both Remote and On-Site Employees.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

The success of a hybrid work model depends on communication and yet, 60% of companies don’t have a long-term internal communications strategy, particularly when it comes to communication in this “new age.”[5] It is the job of leadership to ensure employees understand organizational changes. As leadership considers implementation plans, be clear about who is impacted by these decisions, as well as how and when you’ll communicate changes to employees. As with any communication strategy, communication surrounding a new hybrid work model should consider your audience, your messaging, and the channels you will use to communicate the new strategy.

Listening to your employees is critical to making hybrid work a success. Be sure to keep an open line of communication with your people as you’re thinking through changes to the organization that may impact them. Ideally, the changes you make will be a win for both your organization and its employees. Some suggestions include: developing workplace schedules only after soliciting employees’ input; creating a cross-functional workplace committee that includes employee representatives; proactively surveying employees for feedback; and setting aside time for employees’ specific questions about changes to the workplace.[6]

Set Clear Expectations. Managers should set expectations so employees know what is needed from them. Before the pandemic, many offices had fixed office hours, but today’s landscape emphasizes more flexible hours. In a hybrid environment where people work a certain number of days in the office and the rest at home, managers have the flexibility to curate unique schedules. However, with remote work, the lines for workday start and end times have been blurred and hours spent working are lengthening.[7]

Managers should set aside time to have intentional discussions with team members to outline what is required and how the work can best be accomplished. Balance is crucial, and the best way to accomplish this is to clearly articulate expectations so everyone knows what they need to do and when.[8]

Create Performance Metrics. When it comes to creating balance, performance metrics can be very helpful, but companies can’t be content with simply keeping their pre-pandemic metrics in place. Rethink how to measure employee performance. Is the amount of work they deliver most valuable? Is it face time with leadership? Simply put: Companies utilizing a hybrid model should revisit and redefine performance objectives. These metrics should measure desired outcomes. Consider: What is the impact, quality, and value of the work?[9]

A successful hybrid model means companies must acknowledge different work styles and consider what collaboration really looks like. Historically, companies often measure productivity using time and billable hours. Instead, in a hybrid model, productivity must be measured based on the quality of the work, the deliverables, and how the employee is managing workflow. Companies should also measure productivity based on how employees motivate, inspire, and engage with their teams, either as leaders or participants.

Documentation Is Important. Now more than ever, focus on documentation. Without documentation of project plans, notes, decisions, action items, and meeting minutes, projects are difficult to track in the new hybrid model. With detailed documentation, team members can be on the same page and held accountable for their responsibilities.[10] If communication and collaboration are top priorities, hybrid teams can deliver successful results.

Provide the Tools Needed to Succeed from Any Location

Your company’s technology capabilities and effectiveness are crucial to providing employees a seamless experience in a hybrid work model.[11] A 2021 survey conducted by The Harris Poll, which included 2,000 workers in the U.S., found that 68 percent of employees feel that their company gives them the right technology to work remotely.[12] That means nearly one in three respondents felt their companies didn’t give them the tools necessary for productive remote work.

Studies show that IT spending in companies will grow by 6.2% in 2021 alone.[13] This IT investment is largely related to the hybrid model and ensuring employees have the tools they need to work remotely. Managers should be prepared to collaborate closely with the organization’s HR and IT teams. HR should develop insight into the kinds of tools that employees need to be productive while on-site, while IT must provide infrastructures that can support the networking connections necessary for hybrid work. By partnering with IT and HR, you can ensure your employees have the tools they need to accomplish tasks, both in the office and at home.

Find Ways to Motivate Both Remote and On-Site Employees 

Human nature dictates that people need to experience moments of delight when they’re working, even if the hybrid model means working from home part of the time. Since employees may now have the resources they need at home to get their work done, organizations may be challenged to convince employees of the need to come into the office on a regular basis. Likewise, on days when employees are not on-site, it’s important to keep them engaged with what’s going on in the organization. Envoy, a workplace platform dedicated to helping companies navigate the hybrid workspace, recently offered a few creative examples:

  • Organize activities that include remote employees. For example, you might have guest speakers, online contests, scavenger hunts, or trivia contests;
  • Create an online group that encourages people to take part in a daily photo challenge or question of the day; 
  • To delight on-site employees, try adding beverage stations so employees can help themselves to coffee and tea. This will also help spark interactions between employees who may not work together on a regular basis.[14]

These small actions can help build a more people-centric experience, keep people engaged with what’s going on, and keep them excited about coming into the office, even where the hybrid model means they work from home part or most of the time.

Finally, be aware of potential burnout. Even the most introverted employees need connection. Isolation is one of the occupational hazards of long-term remote work, especially for individuals or teams who never or rarely work on-site.[15] So, be attuned to potential burnout – with people who work on-site, remote, or both – and remain vigilant in prevention.

As we think about returning to a “new normal,” it’s important to remember that we shouldn’t simply return to the way things were; we must adapt to something even better. We now have a unique opportunity to create a hybrid work environment that combines the best of the office and working from home. To successfully implement this, companies should remember: (1) Communicate, Communicate, Communicate; (2) Provide the Tools to Succeed from Any Location; and (3) Find Ways to Motivate Both Remote and On-Site Employees. By putting people first and being intentional about communication and collaboration, companies can empower their employees in the post-pandemic era.


[1] See, Casey, Kevin, 7 Best Practices to Manage Teams (August 2021), The Enterprisers,

[2] See, Keane, Jim & Heiser, Todd, 4 Strategies for Building a Hybrid Workplace that Works (July 22, 2021), Harvard Business Review,

[3] Accenture Future of Work Study 2021 (March 2021), Accenture,

[4] See, Keane, Jim & Heiser, Todd, 4 Strategies for Building a Hybrid Workplace that Works (July 22, 2021), Harvard Business Review,

[5] See Casey, 7 Best Practices to Manage Teams (quoting Smith, Silverstone et al, The Future of Work: A Hybrid Work Model (April 30, 2021),

[6] Fowell, Tiffany, 5 hybrid work best practices for workplace leaders (August 12, 2021),

[7] See Meakin, Lucy (February 2, 2021), Remote Working’s Longer Hours are New Normal for Many,

[8] See Harris, Sharon, (September 15, 2021), The Returnship, Part Two: Four Steps to Creating a Hybrid Work Environment,

[9] Harris, Sharon, The Returnship.

[10] See, Casey, 7 Best Practices to Manage Teams (August 2021).

[11] See Harris, The Returnship, Part Two: Four Steps to Creating a Hybrid Work Environment.

[12] See Casey, Kevin, 7 Best Practices to Manage Teams (quoting Sungard Availability Services), July 27, 2021,

[13] Fowell, Tiffany, 5 hybrid work best practices for workplace leaders (August 12, 2021),

[14] Ibid.

[15] See Casey, 7 Best Practices to Manage Teams (August 2021).