STAR Update December 2020 – How to Build a Hybrid Workforce


How to Build a Hybrid Workforce

By now you’ve seen and heard a lot about the hybrid workforce that is destined to be part of the new World of Work for the foreseeable future. As we get closer to a vaccine and the end of the pandemic, it’s unlikely that you will go back entirely to the old way of doing things altogether. So what should you be doing to facilitate the safe transition to a hybrid workforce in your organization? Although the prospect offers many advantages, it also comes with complications and difficulties that you should be preparing for now.

“The first thing to remember is that while some of your people love working remotely and want to continue with it, there are many others who truly miss the social aspects of working in a shared office space alongside their team members,” says Nancy Halverson, SVP Global Operations at MRI. “Shifting to a hybrid structure can help you to accommodate both groups.”

Halverson offers advice on navigating the transition with the least amount of disruption:

Start with your leadership team. Will they work from the office, remotely, or both? “I believe that most organizations will find it most beneficial to have their leaders work in the office at least part of the time,” says Halverson. “Before you announce the decision to move to a hybrid solution, work out the plan for your management team and communicate it to the people who work for them to avoid confusion.”

Reevaluate your team structure. “In many cases, it’s obvious that certain departments and positions have to be on-site, but you’ve probably already figured out ways to handle those safely,” observes Halverson. “For the rest, you need to determine which employees will continue working remotely full-time and which employees will work partly remotely and partly from the office.”

While these decisions are also driven by the nature of the individual role, it is also advisable to factor in personal preferences whenever possible. “Another possibility to consider is that people will change their minds,” says Halverson. “Some members of your team may ask to continue to work remotely and then find that they want to come back into the office part of the time. Determine how strictly you need employees to follow a specific working style, and communicate this in advance. For instance, will your physical space allow for flexibility, or have you downsized recently and do you need employees to commit to a specific schedule?”

Confirm your communication platforms. The pandemic has already forced most companies to beef up digital communication and enhance their collaboration tools. Going to a hybrid workforce means that technology will continue to evolve to meet employee and employer needs. Determine how your communication frameworks need to change to reflect your new team structures and to ensure employees don’t fall out of the loop or burn out from the pressure of being “always on.”

Your IT folks will also need an infrastructure that enables them to manage a remote workforce. This can include increasing cloud storage for more remote storage, enhancing security solutions to manage cyber threats, and implementing remote IT solutions to troubleshoot employee tech issues remotely.

Monitor your allocation of tasks. If your hybrid workforce is going to remain productive long-term, you have to ensure that tasks are spread evenly and fairly across both in-office and remote teams. “Particularly if managers are working from the office, there’s a tendency to assign new projects to people working in the same space,” warns Halverson. “So be conscious of this potential pitfall and be aware of who is doing what at any given time. The boundaries between personal and professional life are fuzzy now and you need to consistently conduct regular employee-manager check-ins, recognize employees for their hard work, and promote paid time off.”

Be wary of favoritism. Not only can a hybrid workforce lead to imbalance workloads, it can also lend itself to favoritism. “As a manager, it’s your responsibility to proactively include your remote team members in the fun times as well,” says Halverson. “Set up a video conference for your team lunches or happy hours to ensure you have the same opportunity to bond with everyone and that remote workers still feel like part of the culture.”

The pandemic has abruptly thrust many companies into this hybrid situation, and while some have seen this time as a growth opportunity, others floundering. Those companies that can adapt to the current circumstances with resiliency and flexibility are most like to outstrip their competition in our new World of Work.

December 2020

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“I believe that most organizations will find it most beneficial to have their leaders work in the office at least part of the time. Before you announce the decision to move to a hybrid solution, work out the plan for your management team and communicate it to the people who work for them to avoid confusion.”

Nancy Halverson
SVP Global Operations


Insights from


Notable International Events

  • Global debt is set to reach $200 trillion, or 265% of the world’s annual economic output, by the end of the year, S&P Global has forecast – although it doesn’t expect a crisis any time soon. This amounts to a 14-point rise as a percentage of world GDP, amplified by both the economic plunge caused by COVID and the extra borrowing that governments, firms and households have had to resort to. Via Reuters.
  • Asia Pacific nations including China, Japan and South Korea signed the world’s largest regional free-trade agreement, encompassing nearly a third of the world’s population and gross domestic product. Supporters of the trade pact, which covers 2.2 billion people with a combined GDP of US$26.2 trillion, said it will bolster pandemic-weakened economies by reducing tariffs, strengthening supply chains with common rules of origin, and codifying new e-commerce rules. Via BNN Bloomberg.
  • Denmark is ending all new oil and gas exploration as part of a plan to phase out fossil fuels by 2050, one of the most drastic moves by a crude-producing nation to curb carbon emissions. While Denmark is a small oil producer, it is the most significant move to ban fossil-fuel extraction. The move highlights a global shift away from fossil fuels as countries and companies seek to reduce carbon emissions with the aim of limiting global warming. Via The Wall Street Journal.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, thousands of people who would usually travel for business have switched to virtual meetings and video calls. That trend could spell big trouble for hotels, airlines, convention centers, and other industries that rely heavily on business travelers. Work travel represented 21 per cent of the 7.5 trillion euros spent on global travel and tourism in 2019, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. Via EuroNews.

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