Laura and Margery were delighted to welcome back Jonathan Smale, Managing Director of ‘Work to Be’ and Helen Denny, Managing Director of ‘Not9to5’.

This is our third webinar on hybrid working, we have had some really interesting discussions and it has generated more and more questions as organisations start to implement their own hybrid working practices. 

The panel discussed some of key themes that we are seeing emerging, those being;

  1. Well-being and how to prevent unhelpful and damaging working practices that have crept in during lockdown
  2. The use of office space and staying connected with everyone
  3. Company culture, and how to maintain this in a hybrid world

Jonathan opened up the conversation with some findings from recent research that he has carried out, that although we are making positive moves and heading in the right direction in terms of the hybrid working practices, we are also replicating unproductive working  practices. Research is saying that many of us are now in back-to-back meetings, jumping from one to the other with no breaks in between. Meetings are taking longer with more people involved and people are spending time in meetings multi-tasking. Because of this, there is no time for reflection or deep thinking and we are experiencing this new term ‘Zoom fatigue’. 

Although there are some practical solutions, i.e. using technology to have shorter meetings by default, or looking deeper into Google Analytics to assess how your Organisation is working, the question we need to be asking ourselves is ‘why are we doing this’? Jonathan and Helen discussed the fact that we need to be starting the debate around why we are working this way, looking at the cultural issues behind this and not confusing busy-ness with productivity, otherwise we risk creating a crazy world of work. 

Helen talked about the need to rethink the purpose of the office. When planning a hybrid approach that works for your Company, a couple of questions to ask yourself are, how you expect your staff to work going forward, how do the individual staff want to work and what is the purpose of the office. Many organisations are looking at having an office base for collaboration and wellbeing, networking and connecting people. The consensus is that by not moving to a flexible or hybrid way of working, organisations may lose good people to organisations that are.  Many people don’t want to have to travel to the office, for time and cost reasons, when they can carry out the same work at home. Out of sight should not always mean out of mind and we need to move away from this perception, otherwise we are in danger of creating silos and inequality in the workplace. 

Helen and Jonathan are incredibly knowledgeable on the subject of agile and hybrid working and we have really enjoyed our conversations with them over the last three webinars. The biggest takeaway for us is that at the end of the day, we cannot predict and control everything and therefore we need to try and embrace uncertainty. Let’s not get tied up in knots, let’s press pause, trust one another to experiment and make space to learn and reflect. 

If you would like further advice or guidance around developing your hybrid models, please get in touch with Jonathan, Helen or the team at Gravitate HR


A recording of the webinar can be found here