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Hybrid work doesn’t have to destroy productivity. Here are 3 ways to make it work

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The majority of the workforce has been working remotely for almost two years. Not only have they figured out how to make it work, but many of them also want it to stay that way. The reasons are wide-ranging, but typically include fewer distractions, saving time, and enhanced well-being.

Alternatively, many organizations are pushing for the opposite—requiring that employees come back to the office every day or most days. The reasons typically involve the need to maintain organizational culture, ensure collaboration, and keep people engaged.

So who’s got it right? Those leaders looking to return to the traditional, face-to-face workspace, or employees vying for flexible arrangements that leverage technology?

In many cases, organizations are making inaccurate assumptions about the downsides of using technology to collaborate. If done right, virtual and hybrid work arrangements work just fine. At the same time, employees will need to commit to new team-building norms. Working remotely is not a permanent hall pass, which allows workers to disappear for extended periods of time.

The primary organizational concern of moving to a virtual or hybrid work environment is the desire to maintain a positive organizational culture. The problem is that organizations are incorrectly assuming a strong overlap between organizational culture and high-quality collaboration and engagement.

Culture entails shared norms and assumptions, or “the way things are done around here.” And like it or not, culture is driven by people, not policy. Organizations should first seek to understand where and how their employees want to work, and then decide how to increase collaboration and engagement.

Organizations should also keep in mind that high-quality collaboration isn’t automatic in face-to-face settings. Getting there entails focusing on improving what organizational psychologists call “team processes” such as psychological safety, information sharing,........

© Fast Company

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