Hybrid Working - Making It Work

Last month RPfT co-hosted a virtual breakfast for our clients alongside @Helen Buckwell of @Hidden Strengths learning. The topic was Hybrid Working, which is rightly being discussed a lot right now. Below you’ll find some of the key themes and our perspective on how we can make it work best for organisations and individuals. 

For some time the business world has talked about working from home, flexible working and 4 day weeks.  The pandemic meant we were suddenly up close and personal with this reality and after the initial panic, most of us were pleasantly surprised by the fact that remote working was possible.  Over the past 12 months, companies and organisations have invested a great deal of time and money into making it work.

Now that the restrictions are starting to be lifted, we’re faced with a dilemma.  Demanding everyone returns to office working, or a shared workspace, could alienate perfectly productive team members who have discovered a new work/life balance they are loathe to part with.  On the flipside, many employees crave a return to those shared spaces for the social aspect, the ease of communication and collaboration.  Both arguments are valid and choosing one course could have ramifications that impact both the productivity and mental health of those who prefer the other.

It seems obvious that the answer is Hybrid Working, and indeed that is the model that many organisations are evaluating right now. Implemented correctly, hybrid working could be the perfect answer. However, the landscape is complex and must be carefully navigated to achieve success.


To accomplish this successfully it is important to identify the challenges and prepare for them.

  • Balancing the needs of the organisation, the team and your clients, versus each individual’s work style preferences
  • Avoiding the creation of two tiers of employees. A Them versus Us mentality dependent on where they are based could impact engagement, collaboration and morale
  • Arming leaders with the skills to manage the many layers of complexity that comes with hybrid working – both functional and emotional
  • Managing the impact getting it wrong could have on engagement, productivity and mental health

No matter what approach to hybrid working an organisation takes, there will be side effects that will need to be accommodated and managed in the short and long term.

  • We’ve all been through a major upheaval in the last 14 months.  Individuals will adapt  to hybrid working in different ways and timeframes.  Some will already be vulnerable to burnout and fatigue.  Empathetic leadership will be crucial to managing this sensitively.
  • Managing differences in approaches within any one organisation.  The right approach may be different within several arms of an organisation.  The logistics of this will be both complex and potentially contentious.
  • Reimagining practices and policies to encompass hybrid working
  • The more opaque nature of hybrid working and the tensions this could generate between managers and team members. Trust, transparency and accountability will be key to handling this.

How can RPfT help?

Of course, the very nature of hybrid working means that a bespoke model is needed for every company or organisation. At RPfT we are conscious of the role that we can play in supporting you and your teams to develop a hybrid working approach that works for your particular needs and which will promote both productivity and wellbeing. Some of our specialist training areas that we think you may find most useful are;

  • Empathy as a Leadership Skill
  • Leading Teams Remotely
  • Stress Management & Resilience
  • Performance Management
  • Online Presentation Skills
  • Influencing Effectively

We have also collaborated with @HelenBuckwell @HiddenStrengthsLearning on a specific training offering that tackles this area. ‘Flexing your style in a hybrid world’ focuses on helping individuals enhance their impact and ‘Flex their style’ both when working virtually or face to face.

Get in touch with us to find out more.