By Jason Korman | World Economic Forum | July 15, 2021
artwork by Gapingvoid
- As offices partially reopen, hybrid working is set to become the new norm.
- This has the potential to increase diversity and inclusion in workplaces.
- However, to realise this potential, organizations will need to create a different kind of working culture for the new era.
Despite early fears, the work from home revolution that swept across much of the world during the pandemic did not destroy productivity. “A new study finds that, in fact, remote work does indeed make us more productive,” Bloomberg reported in April. And in some cases when productivity did suffer, studies show that it was largely due to constraints that workers had no control over, such as “poor telecommunication environment at home” and “rules and regulations that require some tasks to be conducted in the office.”
But what about company culture? Again, fears that it would fall apart did not pan out. In one survey, more people said their work culture actually improved during the pandemic. There’s no guarantee, however, that these successes will continue – or that any problems will be rectified – as more people start returning to offices. The world is entering a new era for what work will look like, and organizations need to adapt all over again.
The vast majority of companies plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time, making hybrid work the new norm in the United States and much of the world. Keeping remote work as an option has the potential to increase diversity and inclusion, making jobs available to people who can’t come to the office frequently. They may have caregiving responsibilities, live far from the office where housing is more affordable, or have no means of transportation.
But the benefits to both organizations and employees of the hybrid working era will only be realized if there is a positive culture. Businesses need to create the working culture of the hybrid era.