The hybrid office plan seeks to offer everyone flexibility. But as more firms return, it’s clear this new workplace principle is causing its own hiccups.
A recent Wall Street Journal story details the cybersecurity challenges of a team of co-workers, and their devices, constantly moving between home, office and elsewhere. Lugging laptops isn’t new, but IT teams, stretched thin by the demands of switching offices to all-remote overnight, now need to make sure more seamless movements between offices work, all while updating security patches and making sure personal and corporate devices are properly sequestered. It’s a scenario, studies show, hackers are happy to exploit. The World Economic Forum believes cyberattacks jumped 238% globally between February and April 2020.
Others see the scheduling issues inherent in hybrid as a difficult challenge to overcome. An article in HR Dive asked what happens to a carefully mapped out calendar of who comes into the office on which days when key employees don’t show up? Employers may be convinced that after a short trial, hybrid may be dismissed. But employees, who tend to strongly favor the arrangement, expect some kind of experimentation and adjustment period to take place.
Embracing an employee preference for hybrid work is the least leaders can do for a more burnt-out workforce. A recently released survey of more than 1,000 American employees by payroll solutions provider Paychex found that the percentage of employees reporting somewhat low morale has more than doubled since before the pandemic (23% vs. 10%), with a majority saying team leaders aren’t acknowledging the stress. Showcasing leadership during a key, post-pandemic transition will be even harder when the workforce is physically divided most of the time.