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Welcome to the hybrid workplace

As the pandemic abates in some parts of the world, companies are figuring out the best way to give employees what they want: the flexibility to come into the office when they want with the option to work remotely.
Illustration by Xavier Lalanne-Tauzia
  • The big idea

    As the pandemic abates in some parts of the world, companies are figuring out the best way to give employees what they want: the flexibility to come into the office when they want with the option to work remotely.

    Image copyright: Illustration by Xavier Lalanne-Tauzia
  • Explain it like I’m 5!

    What’s hybrid work?

    It’s not work from home, it’s not the old school expectation to come into the office, it’s something in between. At its most abstract, a hybrid work plan would allow employees to work at home when they wanted or to come into the office sometimes. The specifics, though, vary by company—one might have days when certain teams come into the office, while others might leave it completely up to the employees.

  • By the digits

    91%: People who said they’d rather be back in the office in some capacity, in a January 2021 survey

    70%: People who say they now work on weekends when their companies transitioned to remote work during the pandemic, according to a survey from staffing firm Robert Half

    45%: Respondents to the same survey who say they regularly work more hours during the week than they did before, which experts agree is a recipe for burnout

    85%: People who say they are more likely to stay with a company in a work-from-anywhere environment, according to a survey from Accenture

    56%: Workers who say their company has not asked them about plans for a possible return to the office

  • Why people might come into the office…

    They miss the teasing, eavesdropping, and gossip

    To escape Zoom fatigue or avoid tech glitches

    To brainstorm or work collaboratively in person

    To give themselves the mental space that a commute allows

    …and why people might want to stay home

    To avoid long commutes

    To work without office distractions

    For caregiving responsibilities

  • Commonly held question

    How can I make hybrid work function for my company?

    The best of the office and remote work? It won’t happen without a few thorny issues, so Quartz contacted leading firms and collected ideas from experts to ask about their best tips for hybrid work. Here are a few top tips we learned.

    ✍️  Get used to writing things down

    📝 Ask employees what they want

    🔭  Train managers to recognize proximity bias

    🤔 Experiment like you would with a new product

    🤯  Embrace the complexity

  • How to run a hybrid meeting

    1. Pay attention to where everyone will be looking. If there’s a whiteboard, for example, can everyone see it?
    2. Add a facilitator. For large meetings, try adding one facilitator for each location. They’re tasked with keeping things running smoothly—and keeping things rolling if there are glitches.
    3. Draw up a “seating chart” so you never forget who’s on the phone.

    Read more tips on hybrid meetings

  • Fashion victim

    Remember shoes? We barely do. What’s appropriate to wear on your feet could be an important part of returning to the office. Let’s break down the shoe trends affecting your back-to-work look:

    ⛔ Out: high heels (sort of)

    ✅  In: sandals, flats, loafers, fashion sneakers, Crocs

    In short, comfort is king—and that means productivity in the workplace.

    The same goes for clothes, in fact. After decades of the tyranny of suits and collared shirts, the return to the office is a chance to rethink what constitutes a professional appearance—perhaps making work attire both more comfortable and more equitable in the process.

  • Keep reading

    How to get the most out of a hybrid work environment. Watch Quartz’s panel on hybrid work structures, or read the summary.

    The future of the digital workplace. Remote collaboration tools, tips for improving workplace culture, advice for getting the most out of online systems—this field guide is your perfect companion to a future workplace that’s at least partially online. 

    The home office handbook. That wfh setup you jerry-rigged in March 2020? It’s probably time to make that permanent—and a bit more comfortable while you’re at it.

    The virtual, borderless team.  What can we learn from teams that are built to overcome—and even harness—massive geographic spans and cultural differences to do their work?

    The virtual conference reboot. The pandemic has shaken up the conference format, forcing organizers to get creative.