Companies have been gifted some additional time to review their hybrid working policies and avoid unintended consequences that they may not have considered.

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Martyn Sakol, Managing Partner at OE Cam comments on the latest Coronavirus Update

“With today’s announcement that the “Work from Home (if you can)” restriction remains in place in England for a further 4 weeks, business leaders (with much of their workforce still working remotely) will be frustrated.

“But for many other leaders, the delay won’t come as any surprise. This last year has proven the importance of having an agile mindset and an ability to keep moving forwards when things are ambiguous.

“I think we’ll see two more years of ‘test & learn’ as organisations work out what hybrid will mean for them – so CEOs are going to have to get comfortable with making effective decisions when the landscape is continuously changing, and you don’t have all the information. This kind of ‘cognitive agility’ can be developed in time. Leading through the next two years will require high levels of curiosity, embracing ongoing ambiguity and challenging functional fixedness (only seeing things as they currently appear rather than what they could become). These are all areas some forward-thinking organisations are preparing their leaders for.

“Leaders are only just beginning to realise that ‘hybrid’ working is not simply introducing flexible working practices. It’s a fundamental shift and we’ll see a lot of what we call ‘re-contracting’ between employees and the business over the next 6-9 months. We’ve already seen the backlash as businesses lay out their expectations of how often people should be in the office. If we are to truly create more inclusive workplaces, then it will be important to invest in programmes that re-energise culture and re-engage people in the new ways of working.

“There are so many things we don’t yet know about the Hybrid workplace, which is why we’ve come up with a simulator workshop to help leaders work out what the challenges will be for their business and then problem-solve the solutions together.

“With so much to consider, the best advice for business leaders now is to use this gifted time to work with colleagues, peers and get independent advice to ensure that their hybrid policy is prepared and to avoid the unintended consequences of getting it wrong from the outset.”

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