We’ve been hearing this question a lot lately, and we bet you have too.
But before we explore answers, let’s define what is meant by “The New Normal.”
One thing for sure is that it doesn’t mean that everybody will be working in exactly the same way. Because, let’s be realistic. No matter what happens now, not everyone will be working identical schedules in central work locations.
And you have to ask, was there ever really a time when everybody worked in exactly the same way? Not really. Even in the days when everybody knew that the definition of a “normal” workweek meant going to one work location for eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, not everybody worked that way. Some people worked part time. Some worked as independent contractors. Other people worked flextime.
So if the definition of “normal” is so hard to pin down, what can it possibly mean?
It helps to think of it like one big mosaic that contains a lot of small tiles, with each of them representing an individual worker. One of those workers works from home part of the time, another works from the central office, another works from a location near home, and so on. Although each person is working differently, you can step back from the mosaic and get an overall picture of what is going on. The view you are getting is the new normal, but that doesn’t mean that everybody is working in exactly the same way.
You can also think of the New Normal as a school of fish you see when you are snorkeling. It is just one school of fish, right? But it is made up of thousands of little herrings, each doing his or her own thing, with variations.
Heck, we are individual people right, not robots? So we are now freer than ever before to decide where and when to work.
So, Is Hybrid Work the New Normal?
Now that we have defined The New Normal as a big-picture kind of thing, we can return to our original question and definitively conclude that Hybrid Work will really be the new normal.
Hybrid Work means that more people can work in more individualized ways than they could before the pandemic struck.
Employee A is eager to work back in company offices every day, because he learned during the pandemic that he can be much more productive there, can communicate directly with other members of his team, and enjoy other benefits.
Employee B is a lot like Employee A, except that he wants to work in company offices three days a week, and work from home the other two.
Employee C wants to continue to work from home more than 90% of the time, and only come into the office occasionally for meetings.
Employee D is a lot like Employee C, except she would like to work in an office space located near her home when she does not come into a company location.
To Summarize . . .
It is hard to define a “new normal” now, because during the pandemic people and their employers discovered new ways of working. After working from home for so long, some people discovered they can be just as productive at home as they were in the office, or maybe even more. Other employees have fallen in love with working from home some, if not most, of the time. Still others have dropped back to work for their companies as contract employees. And lots of people have discovered that long daily commutes are simply not for them.
The number of individual solutions is nearly as great as the number of people who are in the workforce. (It’s that mosaic thing, right?)
If you are an employer, you might have discovered that Hybrid Work offers you advantages you never enjoyed before Covid-19 struck. You can, for example, place employees where they feel most productive, always giving them the option to come back into the office or stay home if needed.
Managing a hybrid-working team can be a bit challenging, but there are solutions out there that can help ease the transition to Hybrid.
KettleSpace, for example, is bringing solutions such as KettleOS, a hybrid operating system that will let employees reserve a desk or a conference room and employers manage their teams schedules. That way, companies can maximize their space and know when employees are coming into the office or staying home.