Massive deployment of teleworking, health measures, travel restrictions, economic and environmental concerns... We are moving towards a new societal environment and a new life at the office. The crisis we are going through has accelerated many changes in the way we live and work. New "standards" are taking shape. Co-constructing the new working environment to support a new way of working will be one of the building sites for all companies in the coming months. This new way of working will be a hybrid way of working, the HWoW or Hybrid Ways of Working.
For us, it is THE working mode of tomorrow.
The coronavirus-related health crisis has highlighted different situations in the way companies operate: on the one hand, those already engaged, before the crisis, on the road to hybridisation of working methods, for which this crisis is an opportunity to accelerate the transformations and developments underway. On the other hand, those which have faced the need for work from home under the constraint imposed by confinement, and which are now asking themselves in a more fundamental way the question of the next stage, by looking with interest at the feedback of the HWoW precursors.
Why are we talking about hybrid work? The HWoW is a variation of hybrid modes of presential-distancional work, aiming at the ideal balance between office work and remote work, for an integrated response to many company goals:
- Improving performance
- Pro-life balance, employee health, attracting and retaining talent
- Improving the carbon footprint
- Cost optimization
HWoW obviously conditions the use of workplaces and technology, but, above all, it is about a new culture, new habits and behaviours, with a fundamental change in management and in the way teams operate. The challenge for the company is to appropriate the hybrid presential-distancial mode by finding the right alchemy, while building the work environment that supports this way of working.
Han Paemen, Workplace Consulting Director at Colliers, a specialist in New Ways of Working, gives us her insight: « For an organization, integrating the HWoW means first of all asking the question of the working mode that will best support its objectives in the current context and for the future. Then, inventing the new offices that facilitate the hybrid way of working, in particular by integrating new uses, the desire for a 'healthy' and meaningful environment, and a new flexibility: places that can be easily adapted to different situations, including the need for physical distance. A majority of companies will have to initiate fundamental changes in managerial practices, from now on in a mixed presential-distancial environment, relying more on the team. Teams will have to be accompanied, because it is a question of locating responsibility and autonomy at the level of the team, which must share clear objectives and be stronger, autonomous and interconnected, with the use of tools adapted to this stronger human interconnection. We need to learn how to really use remote collaboration technology to its full potential. »
Isabelle Sonneville is CTO of AXA Group Operations, which has been a pioneer in the development of HWoW on a large scale as a lever for transformation within the company. The health crisis confirmed that this was the right approach. « The health crisis confirmed that this was the right direction. Now more than ever, it is more important to adopt sustainable consumption patterns that take care of people and the environment in the long term. Our workplaces, our ways of working together and our mobility play a key role in this. In recent months, we have intensively experimented with work from home and its advantages. But we have also been deprived of direct human contact and many moments of informal exchanges between colleagues. The office is indeed above all a place where we meet, which should encourage better mutual knowledge and strengthen team cohesion. As such, office space must support new ways of working, offer the best conditions for meeting, thinking together and exchanging, but also encourage informal meetings, taking time to meet and share. Companies must consider hybrid work as a win-win-win situation between the company, the employee and the issues related to the environment and sustainable development. ».
Colliers proposes to accompany companies both in their reflections on these new ways of working and in their implementation on practical, organisational and human aspects. Discover Colliers' New Age service >