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Inicio  /  Blog  /  The hybrid worker experiment: from eye contact to virtual contact

The hybrid worker experiment: from eye contact to virtual contact

by Ximena Carbone | Head of Human Capital

Reading time: 5'

Five years ago, some visionaries thought that the hybrid work model would inevitably be installed. What nobody knew is that a virus gave the missing turn of the screw to install the model, pushing out all the prejudices for which many companies refused to incorporate this model. It was a necessity rather than an option, it was necessary to find a way to continue operating from the confinement.

By hybrid we mean the work model that allows the collaborator to perform his tasks some days in person at the office and other days remotely from home or another space of his choice. The remote work model that implies the hybrid is nothing new, many companies had it incorporated into their usual practices prior to the pandemic, mainly companies in the technology area. The hybrid model has had, has had and will have the greatest impact in those companies that until now could not contemplate any other way of working other than face-to-face.

Seeing the person sitting in his or her chair for eight hours has to do with a paradigm of control that we were forced to give up. The boss stopped seeing his team in person and was forced to move from visual to virtual contact. What a challenge to motivate the team from a distance, especially in a context of uncertainty and chaos as was the beginning of the pandemic.

In most cases, the hybrid model is understood as a win-win for both the company and the employee. For the company, it saves costs and gains in motivation, since HR management has always maintained that the more comfortable the employee is, the more productive he/she will be. Today, the home office optimizes the worker's quality of life, contributes to the environment by reducing commuting, allows the inclusion of the most vulnerable groups, avoids migration from the city and enables the continuity of work even in extreme situations such as a pandemic. But its success will begin to be measured from now on, in the post-pandemic world we are just entering, in which the new rhythm of the labor market and its response to these changes, in addition to the economic crises provoked by COVID-19, will take its temperature.

The great experiment of the hybrid worker brings with it a worker who needs to have incorporated and developed some skills: a priori that of self-management, organization and, to a large extent, also self-motivation. The benefit of working from home means that, although we have virtual contact, it is necessary to develop a more exhaustive level of self-management of time, resources and skills. Work is integrated with home activities, so discipline and organization are essential for the model to survive. Clearly the result is to measure each worker by the achievement of objectives, in short, by productivity.

The hybrid model confronts us with 100% results-oriented work. Work ceases to be a place we go to and becomes what we do and the results we achieve. Visibility moves from our person to our work. This is the challenge for leaders and companies, but even more so for employees, as much is expected of them for the model to work properly. Those who do not manage to make it work will resort to the previous model of presentiality, so that the workspace organizes what has not been achieved autonomously in another environment. But workspaces have changed. Many leaders stopped going to offices, so organization and motivation in the hands of each collaborator is an urgency to develop.

The adaptation of services to the hybrid model is another component of this great experiment, which we also understand lies in how the "hybrid worker" adapts and adjusts it according to the client's needs. In a world where everything is intended to be instantaneous, responsiveness is measured without the visual of face-to-face as part of service quality. The world wants the two blue tics for everything, the ability to speed up audios just like WhatsApp, but with results and the "right here, right now" culture also impacting the workspace. 

Also on the table is the hybrid model versus the different generations and its impact. Millennials have seen the possibility of improving their quality of life, with a better combination of work and personal life. Generation Z seeks in the hybrid model the office spaces for social exchange, generating the encounter with peers when going to the office. Millennials and Z are digital natives so this process has been very natural for them. They were born into a changing world and the ability to adapt is commonplace.

Regarding generation X, mostly in leadership positions in organizations, not going to the office and not seeing their teams affected them negatively at the beginning of the pandemic. But today they have amalgamated the telecommuting and remote leadership model with relative success. They were forced to evaluate their team on productivity and enjoy doing so. It is a generation that has been moving to the office for many more years, that has raised their children in this context, so today they can enjoy the benefits of this new hybrid model, putting the focus on their team and on performance through results.

What do we believe are the keys to consolidate a hybrid model? It is something that everyone in organizations is still building and deconstructing.
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