GreenTech: Find The New Work/Home Balance

Last year, hybrid team management became an available course offered at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and School of Engineering… up-and-coming managers are now beginning to cut their teeth on evolved, flexible management principles for today’s workplace. Called Managing Remote and Hybrid Teams, the course aims to help managers apply new skills to hybrid environments and is specifically designed for people in positions of team management who exist in our now hybrid world.

Course leadership notes the chasm that exists between the work modalities of four years ago versus those of today…. management not equipped with the skills to lead hybrid teams will be left behind. Hybrid work is here to stay, and everyone (and every organization) will need to step lively to keep pace. Now isn’t the time to stick to old paradigms when it comes to this… to do so is to poke a stick in the spokes of your own bicycle.

Break The Commute

There’s something happening all around the world right now that will contribute to our switch to hybrid work and help propagate the model… and that’s the changing face of travel. It’s barreling at us, and we can’t discount it if we’re going to figure out how to build the teams of tomorrow. This month, in a bold move toward climate goals, France announced a decision to ban short haul domestic flights in favor of train travel and more closely scrutinize private jet usage for shorter trips.

We can guarantee you this won’t just happen in France… there are entire subcultures in America dedicated to hunting, calling out, and publicly shamming the frivolous use of corporate and private jets. We note this because, from the top to the bottom, society at large is calling out for more responsible use of our resources, and for working and living arrangements that make sense for human well-being… we are all demanding hybrid work, maybe in different ways, but it’s all the same message.

Labor economists hear it, and they’ve named it a remote work “revolution”, asserting that it will endure as a fixture in the market. Why the word revolution? Because, historically, the “privilege” of constructing one’s own working model has been reserved for the affluent and more educated within society. This time… we have the great equalizer, technology.

This time, working from someplace other than the office is being normalized in every station of society… brought to the masses. It won’t just be folks with fancy jobs that get to configure their working situation to better fit their lives, it’ll be the average person. Hybrid working isn’t fancy or exotic, not anymore, it’s practical. Practicality is exactly what we need to solve today’s complex problems.

Leading The Way: Microsoft And More

Some companies, far from shrinking from the challenge, have leaned way in. Microsoft has gone as far as to adopt a hybrid working model with full transparency and excitement around the endeavor. They are pioneering the way and have devoted substantial resources to bringing adoption to fruition. They’ve made available resources to help foster the transition, including educational materials and other resources to understand what hybrid working is.

Usually, when we think of hybrid, we think just a combination of working from home and working from the office. This “hybrid workplace” is a bit more complex. It’s based on a set of criteria used to gauge risk and allow people to then decide what’s best for them. Firms are realizing that the ability of workers to contribute is best fostered when they are looked after on the most important fronts: their physical, mental, and emotional health.

True to form, Microsoft has created a type of hybrid workplace boilerplate from which others can draw inspiration. The plan is laid out in six stages… but those technicalities aren’t as important as the glue that holds this plan together: care for their people. Hybrid work isn’t just hitting right now because all the factors have come into play at just the right time. Hybrid work is the practical thing to do because if we don’t have healthy, capable workers, we don’t have a business to run.

Maybe we could even say that being forced to rethink our working models can be a blessing if we take a lesson from it. We think that lesson is that people still make the business, and they are not always replaceable. Hybrid working models speak to what we think will be the buzz of 2023, and that’s rehumanizing the workplace. We got used to smooth, fast, easy… and it was awesome, but today’s times call for a different approach.

Microsoft states their ultimate goal is to keep employees safe, and that’s what hybrid work boils down to. We’re seeing companies like Spotify, HubSpot, Atlassian, and 3M permanently adopting hybrid working models. The future is human. We need one another to excel, and the hybrid working model allows us to move more pieces, more precisely, and accomplish shared goals… and that’s good for everybody’s pocketbook. Come back next week, we’ll have more from the green tech space, where all things are human. See you then!