Techies prefer a hybrid model of work, even though they do value and miss the in-person informal interactions that were the highlight of the pre-pandemic full-time work-from-office model. Leaders and line managers can play a crucial role in ensuring success in the hybrid era.
A whopping 70 per cent of techies would prefer a combination of remote and on-site working, if given a choice. About 25 per cent would prefer working remotely full time, while a mere five per cent are open to working from office full time. These are the insights from the NASSCOM-BCG Future of Work report study of the implications for India’s tech industry.
Best fit team structure
It is understandable that with organisations transitioning to a new hybrid work model, the organisational structure is bound to undergo some changes to accommodate more collaboration and engagement for employees.
However, there cannot be any one type of structure. A fluid organisation structure would be more suited for work involving creativity, where the individual potential of the employees is relied on heavily.
A modular platform organisation would be ideal in cases where organisational efficiency is the focus and where teams work in a single workstream.
Of course, the two types can co-exist basis the project requirement and team makeup. After all, not all organisations are of the same nature. While the traditional ones focus on accurate execution, the tech organisations are fluid and modular.
Hybrid work model across roles
To implement the hybrid work model, organisations will first have to decide the roles that need to be on-site and those that need to be performed remotely. Then, they need to look at the job requirements across workforce personas to determine the most suitable hybrid model.
For this, they have to first identify main clusters that account for majority of jobs. The next step is to identify a range of work models based on what the employees prefer. The third step is to map job clusters to decide the best-fit hybrid model basis key dimensions and enterprise-level constraints.
Role of first line managers
The role of managers is evolving and will continue to do so in the hybrid era. They will have to adapt to the new ways of working and integrate their teams as well. They will now be required to:
• adopt best management practices at scale, run regular reviews, establish personal connect with the team members, make expectations clear, and offer timely / immediate feedback;
• learn and unlearn constantly along with the freshers to stay updated and relevant; and
• be willing to share knowledge without appearing to coach and advise the younger employees in a ‘community of practice’.
Role of leaders
Leaders can do their bit in this hybrid era by:
• trusting their employees and providing them with greater autonomy in terms of work techniques and timing;
• offering opportunities to interact and remaining transparent;
• levelling the playing field with more focus on comparable feedback frequency and detail for remote and in-person staff, and using objective, data-backed performance measures;
• ensuring digital social intimacy; utilising virtual tools for coaching and feedback;
• celebrating success in remote settings by sharing stories of success, organising catch-up sessions and virtual get-togethers for peers, and so on; and
• empowering employees to make decisions locally and involving lower-level employees in key meetings