Hybrid work has taken the world by storm, providing employees with unprecedented flexibility and autonomy. And while hybrid work is primarily about where we choose to work, it’s also about much more – it’s about how we connect, develop the relationships that serve as the foundation for effective teams, and empower collaboration for both those in the office and those working remotely.
At our recent Work Transformation Summit event on July 13, we hosted a panel of Zoom enterprise customers to help us understand how they are approaching these critical aspects of hybrid work. Chris Bedi, CDIO at ServiceNow; David Picot, SVP, Real Estate, BJ’s Wholesale Club; and Douglas Edwards, SVP, Enterprise Associate & Business Solutions at Humana; joined us to share the important lessons they’ve learned about hybrid work and how it will look in the future.
Here are the main takeaways from the session:
Redesign workspaces to accommodate hybrid work and empower connection
As our philosophy about work has evolved, so too have our workspaces. The traditional office of the past, which heavily relies on closed offices, traditional meeting rooms, and cubicles, won’t meet the needs of a modern hybrid workforce. And our panel of thought leaders have been hard at work modifying their spaces to meet the diverse needs of their teams:
David Picot, SVP, Real Estate, BJ’s Wholesale Club – “We went to an open floor plan with virtual technology that is Zoom-enabled. Compared to our old building, which had closed-off offices and high cubicle walls, our office is an open playing field. We have more open seating than we have workstations, and it’s worked out great so far.”
Douglas Edwards, SVP, Enterprise Associate & Business Solutions at Humana – “We’ve put a lot of investment into redesigning our spaces to allow teams to collaborate a bit more closely. We also did a lot of planning to help us in that process. We asked our employees to designate one of five workstyles before they came back into the office to help us fine-tune the experience.”
Chris Bedi, CDIO at ServiceNow – “Not everyone is going to be in the office at once, and to support that hybrid mode of working, we’ve been leveraging our own technology alongside new and innovative technology like Zoom Whiteboard in our meeting spaces.”
This is still a learning period
While many organizations have been using a hybrid work model for some time, there is still so much to learn about finding the best possible work structure for specific teams, including their habits, needs, and preferences.
Here’s what our panelists had to say about navigating this learning period:
Douglas Edwards, SVP, Enterprise Associate & Business Solutions at Humana – “Even with all the planning we did, we’re still learning. We’ve decided not to make hard policies, but to offer guidance and take a test-and-learn approach and pivot based on the needs of our customers and associates. Don’t be rigid in how you think about hybrid work, because as soon as you make a policy, things will change.”
Chris Bedi, CDIO at ServiceNow – “In the next 12 months, we’re really eager to learn the new patterns of our teams around the world in terms of their preferences and the needs of various positions. And once we learn those new patterns, we can take those patterns and use them to form better and more effective strategies to make our workplace even better.”
David Picot, SVP, Real Estate, BJ’s Wholesale Club – “I refer to our new environment as ‘experimental’ because we’re learning and experimenting every day. Even though we hired a ton of experts to help us in the process and we think we have it right, we don’t know for sure. So we need to stay flexible and be ready to react to changes as they occur.”
Inclusivity is key
There’s no doubt that hybrid work has provided employees with additional flexibility and enabled organizations to support teams dispersed across different countries and time zones. But how can organizations create an environment where employees feel included and engaged in both daily collaboration and workplace culture?
David Picot, SVP, Real Estate, BJ’s Wholesale Club – “Because we are a retail company with 30,000 people that work for us, most of our team members are never in the office because they’re in the stores. And it was incredibly important, critical really, that we be able to reach out and touch base with them, so we created a series of town hall meetings. We still have them, and people really enjoy the contact, the collaboration, and the opportunity to present different things.”
Chris Bedi, CDIO at ServiceNow – “I’m a big fan of the casual interactions that happen on-site, like in the cafeteria and at the coffee machine, that help us discover the unknown problems. So I think we need to be committed to finding a way to create those casual and spontaneous interactions, whether people are in-person or remote, to enhance inclusivity and connection.”
Douglas Edwards, SVP, Enterprise Associate & Business Solutions at Humana – “Whether you are working at home, at the office, or somewhere else, that should not hinder anyone’s career progression. We don’t want to get to a place where you have to be in the office for your career to advance. So when it comes to inclusion and equity in workstyles, we can’t play favorites to create an equal environment.”
Flexibility is at the heart of hybrid work
With the ability to work from the office, remotely, or a mix of both, employees have greater flexibility in how they work than ever before. However, organizations will need to further embrace the concept of flexibility to maintain a satisfied and committed workforce:
Chris Bedi, CDIO at ServiceNow – “For us, hybrid work is really about flexibility. We value the ability to collaborate in person, but we also highly respect the employees’ right to stay home if they don’t feel comfortable or aren’t able to come in. And with the ability to sell and serve our customers over Zoom, we can provide that flexibility.”
Douglas Edwards, SVP, Enterprise Associate & Business Solutions at Humana – “I think there’s still a lot of innovation still to come in this space. The companies that strike a balance between offering employee flexibility and opportunities for in-person collaboration will attract more of the talent pool, and you’ll start to see other companies following their lead.”
David Picot, SVP, Real Estate, BJ’s Wholesale Club – “Our new work schedule is two days in the office, Monday and Tuesday, but that will shift over time and we’re allowing team members to make their own decisions about how they want to work and where they want to work.”
Experience the Work Transformation Summit
To hear more from industry leaders and experts about the future of hybrid work and how you can best prepare your teams and organization, watch the recording of our Work Transformation Summit.