The importance of trust in a hybrid world

As organisations continue to work in dispersed environments, a key factor to a connected and productive team is trust.  Trusting your team provides a safe space to share and debate and ask questions. It also means you can predict your team’s behaviours and how they work.

Aman explained that his own team works successfully in a hybrid environment because of the trust that exists between them.  However, this is not the case for everyone: “There are managers who either don’t know how to manage hybrid, or the trust isn’t there.

There are managers who either don’t know how to manage hybrid, or the trust isn’t there.

— Brian Aman, guest speaker

Our team has that level of trust that allows them to work from anywhere and not have to check in as often.”  This high level of trust within teams can allow them to quickly make decisions and have a good understanding of what to expect from their colleagues.

One participant admitted: “We are struggling with this. I have done a broad assessment on how people are feeling and trust is a big issue. It tends to come out when there are stressors. I think we need to be mindful of that.”  Leadership needs more resources and to upskill to navigate this new environment, in terms of how to motivate, communicate, and develop their teams.

How to do hybrid better

According to our guest speaker, studies and reports from global experts indicate a preference for working remotely two to three days a week. Therefore, as organisations transition to a greater degree of remote working, Aman suggested that new ways of working need to be adopted, with ongoing support to ensure a successful transition to hybrid.

One participant pointed out that pre-pandemic office design focused on trying to create an office space that was a replica of the home, and how this has now changed to creating a destination.  Hybrid work will be most effective when in-office activities are intentional and purposeful.  Employees do not want to come in simply to check an attendance box to show they were there. Their office visits need to have value and there needs to be an energy created around these visits to encourage them to come back and show employees the benefits of face-to-face interactions.

The challenge in creating this destination will be to determine what is most valuable to employees: access to leadership, development opportunities, social events, and so on.  A one size fits all solution certainly will not apply, and our guest speaker touched on this. “Our team has talked about how we really need to start engaging each of the business units and how (hybrid has) impacted each one. Coming up with a (hybrid work) model is a place to start but it needs to be a much more tailored solution to each group.”

Coming up with a model is a place to start but it needs to be a much more tailored solution to each group.

— Brian Aman, guest speaker

Aman suggested that to create long-lasting change, conversations need to be had around what has changed, and what the direction is going forward. Organisations need to get to know their people, their motivations, and how they can come together to perform their best.


How can utilisation tools assist?

Roundtable attendees watched in real-time how our client is leveraging heat mapping to enable its teams to better manage and optimise its portfolio. 

The Cisco DNA Spaces app uses existing Cisco Wireless Access Points (WAP) infrastructure to provide anonymous, real-time use. This allows organisations to determine how their spaces are being used and can help inform future design and ways of working.  Combining both flexible spaces and workstyles is needed in order to keep up with changing needs.

Aman said: “The future workplace is evolving. Past benchmarks and best practices are no longer directly applicable. We are in a period of learning from new observations, utilisation data and engagement with our employees. This will provide the foundation for the future of our workplace design.”

Past benchmarks and best practices are no longer directly applicable

— Brian Aman, guest speaker

He recommended creating a three-to-five-year plan as we transition, adding: “I believe and I hope I’m supporting an innovative and collaborative conversation – let’s get it right, let’s start with the conversations and data and rationalise what the future is and bring everyone closer to a solution.”

One thing to be sure, the workplace will continue to evolve and we’ll need to align our solutions with a base strategy with built-in flexibility that works for us. This is the only way to develop the best combination of our people, our work environment, and our technology that results in an effective and productive workplace for our own organisations.