Making Hybrid Working Work

Making Hybrid Working Work

In the past one year and a little more, many of our companies have watched a slew of people quit or resign. A disturbing trend is the 'Quiet Quitting', where the employees go off work without as much as any formal communication or a notice period. They are willing to pay the price and forego even the final settlement, just to avoid confrontations and difficult conversations around leaving. The 'Great Resignation', of course, is a team en masse resigning from the firm. Projects come to an abrupt standstill and the HR department is left wanting for staff and answers. On the other hand, we have 'Mass Layoffs', where without as much as a squeak beforehand, employees are handed the pink-slip and sent packing home. There's no room for protest or negotiation with the employers.

All this is reminiscent of the early 2000s and 2010s when the economic recession took turns in sending people off-work, with or without notice. In India especially, at that time, the IT sector saw tumultuous transitions, employees jumping ships between companies and inflated pay packages to attract new talent.

However, with a recession predicted around the corner in 2023, why are people quitting their jobs now? And why are companies letting them go? Several companies and employees have found the transition from pre-pandemic, to pandemic, to post-pandemic work styles extremely difficult and exhausting. This wear-out is being seen as a prime reason for employees and employers to behave so.

While the Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting and then Mass Layoffs phenomena have been time bound in nature, there is one which has clearly transcended time, at least after the Covid-era. And that is which mode of working works – Hybrid, Work from Home or Work from Office?

Today, there are organisations which have gone 100% remote and then some who have gone 100% back to office and still wondering if they have gone the right way. The ones in hybrid are probably wiser post pandemic or are still indecisive.

Anyway, assuming 50% of the workforce is working in a hybrid manner as we speak, what are the few aspects of work and life do we need to take care of to maintain the proverbial balance?

1)      Work from Home is added responsibility – When no one is watching, how should we be behaving? We are responsible for our work and answerable to our own conscience; so it makes more sense to do it right. What’s the fun in fooling oneself?

2)      Work from Home is flexibility – We have the flexibility to manage our day as per work requirements and maybe meet some personal commitments. We just need to ensure that the personal side of it is not a regular feature of our working day.

3)      Work from Home is optimum utilisation of productive hours – We have a great opportunity to utilise the time that we would have spent on commuting or other going to office activities and put it to better use, maybe by focussing on health or pursuing a passion or whatever other meaningful pursuit one can engage in.

4)      Lastly, Work From Home is balance – On the other hand, it is possible that one gets so engrossed in work since there is no designated start and end time, that we lose track of time, food, family, and everything else. We alone can be conscious and strike a balance.

We need to ensure we do it right, by ourselves and by our organisations. The bottom-line is trust for all such work setups and the onus is on us to keep it going.
Chinmaya Udghosh