Hybrid working – It’s complicated!
One would imagine that it’s a ‘no brainer’. Let people work where they can be most productive.
But there are a few complications:
- The industrial factory model, underpinning many organisations today, focuses more on human activity than productivity.
- The industrial factory model, which is typically underpinned by a contract rather than trust, means that bosses would prefer to see their people being active than trust them to be productive.
- Whilst we have nailed the home working model, little attention has been given to ‘work homing’.
- There will always be a conflict of interest when the head of workplace design is also the head of real estate.
- Workplace design is typically based on battery hen farming principles. The aim is to get the most out of the workers, rather than get the best from them.
- Homeplace design is typically not optimised for work. Masking tape has its limitations when it comes to muting pets and children. Retired parents / in-laws, unconstrained by the 9 to 5 regime, are not shy in respect of sharing the progress of their begonias with your webinar attendees by leaving long detailed voice mails on your landline recorder.
- Property tycoons will no doubt put pressure on government to drive people back to the ‘factory’. Government itself is under pressure to ensure that inner cities don’t become economic wastelands. Neither of these actors has employer productivity in mind.
- The lack of HR representation in the leadership team means that where people work is less a matter of strategy and asset management (human capital) and more an exercise in employer brand management, or just another addition to the benefits ‘perk store’.
It is only when employers, HR and the government see the importance of productivity and employee wellness over activity and presenteeism, will people, government and business become aligned.