The future is hybrid


I strongly believe in remote working. However, today let me take it a level further. For now let’s call it “WorkAnywhere”, as the idea of remote working still implies a paradigm where there is a central point of focus for a business, an office or “head office”.

We don’t need that paradigm anymore, it does not serve our thinking and so our practices. Technology has shrunk the world and enabled many of us to be able to work almost anywhere, anytime and with even more effectiveness than if we had to travel to an office or even place our focus around such a place.

That said, I also believe that it is a “both/and” conversation, that often we miss the huge value of creating and building meaningful relationships by being “offline”, by being face to face with people.

From: “WorkAnywhere”. Going beyond “Remote”“, a post dated 18th May 2019

The quote above is taken from a piece I wrote in May 2019, though feels very current for the world of work we are looking to now. I have highlighted in bold the phrase “both/and“.

Two days ago I wrote about the energy of this “back to school” period, as well as going “back to the office”. Around this, I have been dismayed at the lack of imagination of so many in making the idea of going back to the place of work or office as a binary choice, an “either/or“, you either go “back to work” or you don’t, with some even blithely ignoring how many millions of people have been working the whole time, simply doing it from home rather than a central office location.

My article from May 2019 has, in the social media parlance, “aged well”, so let me now make another prediction. The move “back to work” will not be an either/or, it will not be going back to work all the time in an office, nor will be it be working remotely exclusively.

Instead, the future will be “both/and“, it will be a mix of both. In other words, “the future is hybrid“.

I already have clients who are looking to reconfigure their office space and working practices accordingly, to use the physical offices and spaces they have to be spaces for meaningful face to face connections, not (as they often are) bland individual workstations for work people can easily do working from anywhere at all.

What does your hybrid future look like? If you have not thought about it yet, I recommend you start now.

Also published on Medium.