This is Becoming Inclusive from The Kaleidoscope Group, where we’re thinking differently about diversity, equity, and inclusion. For more empowered people at work. We’re committed to real change and that begins with real conversations. Welcome in.
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In May, business leaders from across the globe convened to discuss a host of issues affecting business and global economies. Among the topics discussed was the future of hybrid work, a very hot topic has we continue to recover from the Covid-19 Pandemic. The consensus reached at Davos was that the hybrid-remote work model is not a temporary solution to a public health crisis, but the reality moving forward. Ravin Jesuthasan, a global transformation leader at the asset-management company Mercer summed it up like this . . . “The genie is out of the bottle. Anyone who tries to put it back in is maybe not being realistic about what’s actually happened.”
That brings us to this episode of Becoming Inclusive with special guest Lindsay Ciardelli, head of business development for the Kaleidoscope Group, joining Kat and Reggie to talk about the hybrid work model and how it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Pros & Cons
There are very obvious pros and cons related to this new way of working. One area of concern for Lindsay was the impact it has on team building and thought leadership, a point also made by Reggie on the loss of spontaneous idea generation that occurs when everyone is in the office. It should be noted that Kat thrives in the hybrid model, as does Lindsay; while Reggie prefers more face time with colleagues. As an example, Reggie spoke about how he would talk to Lindsay on a near daily basis just through happenstance, but now only rarely interacts with her unless it’s for a scheduled meeting. He was firm in his position that it negatively impacts organizational culture.
And he’s not alone in that opinion, as cited in one study that concluded that 50 percent (50%) of leaders expected employees to return to the workplace once the pandemic was over. He also shared that having worked from home for several years now, he often feels like he’s working in a silo—which certainly impacts inclusion or feeling included. However, Kat made the counterpoint that scheduled all hands meeting—annually or semi-annually—suffice for her.
Strong cases were made for both ways of working, and there may also be a generational aspect on which side of the fence we fall on; with older workers comfortable working in traditional (Boomers/GenX), while younger workers (Millennials/GenZ) demand some degree of flexibility in how they work. And with the Great Resignation still impacting the workforce—at least in the U.S.—demands made by younger workers carry a lot of weight.
This was a very straightforward conversation that really got to the heart of the “conflict.” Recently Elon Musk made news by saying that remote employees who refused to return to the office would be terminated, which caused somewhat of controversy. One of the recommendations made by Lindsay, was leaders should explore other ways to team build if they are operating under the remote or hybrid model; including scheduling company events and programs outside the office.
So it seems that the future of remote work is still a bit uncertain. While the hybrid-remote work model is popular with workers—leaders have varying perspectives and opinion. As a work model, it’s here to stay if we look at the current landscape. The only question is to what degree.
Thanks for joining us, and a special thanks to our subscribers. Consider becoming one today. Becoming Inclusive is presented by The Kaleidoscope Group, your full-service Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion partner serving clients worldwide. Learn more and continue the conversation and kgdiversity.com