During a recent virtual presser, technology company Dell Technologies shared insights to help organizations in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) navigate and lead their teams into the hybrid work future.
The paper, titled Leading the Next Hybrid Workforce, investigates the role of organizations in designing a hybrid work future and captures actionable insights and recommendations from four experts: Australian RMIT lecturer Dr Julian Waters-Lynch, Japan-based management consultant Rochelle Kopp, NUS lecturer Dr Rashimah Rajah from Singapore, and Mallory Loone, co-founder of learning and engagement firm Work Inspires in Malaysia.
Based on the company’s research, Dell outlines three key imperatives that organizations must prioritize as they lay the foundations for a successful and sustainable hybrid work arrangement: leadership, structure, and culture.
Imperative 1: Leading with empathy and intent
According to all four experts, leaders have a defining role to play in assembling the building blocks of a hybrid work future. They must clearly establish fundamental and innovative changes in their organizations to move forward, yet demonstrate empathy and compassion towards the struggles their employees likely face—such as the lack of in-person communication, as well as blurred boundaries between professional and personal lives.
Additionally, leaders must seek to establish trust with their employees and embrace an outcomes-driven mindset to avoid falling into the trap of micromanagement.
Imperative 2: Creating a thoughtful hybrid work structure
Today, organizations cannot simply approach hybrid work from an operational and technical standpoint and apply a one-size-fits-all model. Instead, employers must take the time to learn more about their employees’ preferences and needs to help them succeed in a remote work environment.
To co-design an inclusive hybrid workplace, experts recommended more open communication between employers and employees. They emphasized the need to find a balance between flexible working and regularity—in the form of dedicated time for team meetings and the like—to preserve culture and social interaction.
Imperative 3: Making culture-building deliberate
The experts also called for more deliberate efforts towards culture-building and learning and development to preserve and spark creativity, innovation and collaboration. They cautioned against the risk of split cultures between home-based employees and those in the office, which may lead to tension in office dynamics and perceived imbalances between the two groups.
One suggestion is for employers to redirect their budget saved from daily office expenses and re-invest in dedicated and regular activities for social engagement among employees, such as team lunches or interactive training sessions. This helps create more opportunities for an organic exchange of ideas as well as the chance to foster trust and stronger working relationships between team members.