“There is no going back to the work model that prevailed before the pandemic.”
Gartner Inc, 2021
The Future of Work is Hybrid
The pandemic gave us a glimpse of a world in which the workforce is free to work remotely. With the worst of the pandemic behind us, the time has come for company leaders to decide to what extent they want to make a temporary measure borne out of necessity into the new normal.
The business case for doing so is compelling. Organizations that offer the freedom to work from home are
- more attractive to potential employees
- subject to less absenteeism
- not restricted to local job markets
- easier to scale up or down and achieve 24/7 coverage
- less burdened by all the overheads associated with office space and business travel
- resilient to disruptions to the office and the ability of employees to commute
- more environmentally friendly and capable of achieving sustainability targets.
But while the case for making the switch to a hybrid work model is a powerful one, it’s not an easy transition to make. One of the first challenges is keeping staff aligned with company and departmental priorities. Our own annual Mission Clarity Index confirms that communicating the company mission and departmental goals is not an easy task for leadership under normal circumstances, let alone when dealing with a remote workforce.
The isolation of remote working also makes much of what staff and management take for granted in the office environment difficult and time-consuming. Communicating or staying on top of new developments and key metrics is one example, particularly since fast-paced change is a constant for modern businesses.
Acquiring the tribal knowledge of how to get things done and who can help is another task that becomes a real challenge in a world in which the option of simply looking up from your desk and asking the team a question no longer exists.
These difficulties can lead to remote workers feeling dislocated, if not second-class citizens compared to their office-based counterparts, culminating in a divided workforce.
The Trust Issue
However, for leadership, the number one challenge is typically referred to as ‘accountability‘ when what is really meant is ‘trust‘. Quite simply, not being able to keep tabs on remote workers is the issue. This is not a straightforward technological challenge of implementing remote monitoring systems that recreate the same kind of oversight of home-based workers that managers take for granted in the office environment.
The problem is more monitoring sets the stage for making the old idea that employees work better in the office a self-fulfilling prophecy. Why? Because under the mantle of technology, performance management, and incentivization, it has become more evident than ever that the organizing principle at work is a culture of command and control.
The Objectives and Key Results management methodology (OKRs) combined with Gtmhub software solves the challenges presented by the long-term adoption of the hybrid work model.
In the first instance, this is because engagement rather than control is the organizing principle for OKRs, as evidenced by the emphasis on communicating the vision and focusing on business goals, trust, and genuine accountability.
In the results-focused culture that OKRs bring about, micro-management and output telemetry are redundant. This allows leadership to sidestep the limited engagement that accompanies measures designed to achieve compliance rather than commitment. Instead, leadership are freed to focus on the more rewarding task of helping staff achieve the goals that matter to the business.
With objectives cascading from top-level vision and made as widely visible as required by the Gtmhub software, staff at every level of the organization can stay in close alignment with team, departmental, and company goals, regardless of whether they are based at home or in the office.
The same Gtmhub software-enabled visibility instills staff with the sense of purpose that comes from understanding how their efforts make a difference and the confidence to take the initiative when course corrections are required.
Gtmhub software also makes it easy for individuals to pinpoint colleagues with related objectives anywhere in the organization. This capability goes beyond enabling collaboration within the same team or department. It sets the stage for radically breaking down silos by enabling the spontaneous emergence of goal-focused, cross-functional teams right across the organization.
For the leadership, the real-time picture afforded by Gtmhub software amounts to nothing short of a single source of truth capable of allowing them to finally understand the relationship between people, processes, and outcomes, regardless of the extent the workforce is home or office-based.
In conclusion, in addition to improving workforce effectiveness through heightened levels of engagement, alignment, and decision-making, OKRs combined with Gtmhub software enable leadership to reap the rewards of the hybrid work model while sidestepping the challenges that plague organizations that employ neither.