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Stop Talking About Hybrid and Start Talking About How We Work

It’s become all too common to hear CEOs of major organisations insisting that employees return to the office. This notion is so outdated and ignores not only the nature of work, but the way we work.

Your company’s culture isn’t confined to a building.

 

While being in the same physical space can foster a sense of belonging and community, it’s not the sole factor in cultivating a strong culture.
When I hear CEO’s make these statements, I’m reminded of the 1950’s typing rooms  – it’s time to move beyond this and think more about how we work.

I understand the concerns CEO’s might have:

  • Empty Offices are expensive.
  • You can’t possibly be productive if you are not in the office.

BUT, we are at an impasse.


The world has changed.  The rising costs of living, childcare and life in general and the constant reduction in resources at work, mean we are still being asked to do more with less.  Not to mention, stress, burnout, and mental health issues are increasing.

There has to be a quid-pro-quo.

  • Parents want to parent and that means being able to juggle kids, childcare and actually raising their children by being present.  Hybrid working can make this more convenient and cost-effective. (P.S. the cost of childcare is increasing)
  • People have lives outside of work.  Having this flexibility allows people to manage their lives and do the things that are meaningful for them.

I think what the covid era has taught us is that there is more to life than just working.

It’s safe to say that the real issue is how we work, not where we work.

Consider the current state of our workdays:

  • Back-to-Back Meetings: Diaries are filled with endless Teams or Zoom meetings.  These aren’t even always effective or action oriented.
  • Transactional Relationships: A sense of transactional relationships between employers and employees diminishes the motivation to come to the office.
  • Workplace Design doesn’t consider collaboration, diverse working styles and different types of work required.

Also, don’t get me started on the productivity argument.  This no longer holds water. Many professional roles can be more productive from home, saving time on commuting and between meetings.

I’m not saying bring back the old days….but gosh we need some fun at work!

I recall the “good old days” when office drinks on a Friday night were the norm, allowing us to blow off steam, have fun, and create lasting memories with our teams. These memory making festivities fostered a great sense of belonging and community.

So, what are the real benefits of going to the office?

  • Face-to-Face Interaction: Spending time with colleagues you like can feel rewarding. It’s great for building relationships, trust, and having fun.
  • Energising Environment: The office should be a place where purposeful work fosters collaboration and co-creation.
  • Avoiding Distractions at home: If you’re in the office only to spend all day on Zoom calls, it can be boring and easy to get distracted.

The way we work hasn’t changed

The way we work hasn’t fundamentally changed. We’re still expected to do more with less, often working long hours. All of this can be done from home. If we’re committed to a new way of working, we must think about how to do it better. Hybrid work isn’t just about location; it’s about improving our approach to work itself.

Let’s stop fixating on where we work and start focusing on how we work. By creating environments that support diverse working styles and prioritising meaningful interactions, we can truly embrace the future of work.

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Lemon Co was created to help you make your change, the way you want, in a really people-centered way.

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style

Maya Angelou

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