How to make trust-based work possible in a hybrid work model

As the working force transitions to hybrid work, there’s a dilemma. Is a trust-based work model possible in a hybrid environment?

How to

The elephant in the home office

or how trust work in the home office becomes possible

Remote work was a necessary step that companies had to take to cope with the pandemic situation. Now it has become a requirement of workers who don’t want to return to a traditional 9 to 5 in-office model.

And while remote working has brought many opportunities for teams to become more efficient and productive, it also came with a lot of challenges. One of the challenges managers face is supervising their team. Employees, in turn, fear career disadvantages that can result from too little presence in the office (FOMO fear of missing out).

According to a LinkedIn survey, over 30% of supervisors fear that employees do not do their work as conscientiously in the home office as they do in the office. However, without flexible working options, talent can neither be retained nor attracted. How can this dilemma be resolved?

The first step is to address the “elephant in the home office”.

We had many conversations with company CEOs, HR managers, team leaders and employees to better understand why home office work is still viewed with scepticism and why it seems to be so difficult to develop a good hybrid working model.

What we found is this:

  • Team leaders and employers have expressed concerns that their employees will not work as much as they should when they are out of their direct control.
  • Employees, in turn, fear that their bosses will no longer perceive how much they work and that they may be left behind when it comes to promotions and bonuses.

While it was not difficult to get these honest statements in personal conversations, no one was willing to give them to us in writing or to express them publicly in their professional environment. So when remote or hybrid working is discussed in companies, both sides literally "beat around the bush" and put forward different arguments for their scepticism.

This is understandable. Telling the other person that you don't trust them is not so easy and requires courage, especially in a professional, hierarchical context. But as long as this elephant wanders between the office and the home office, constructive solutions are difficult to develop.

The problem is that virtually all studies point to hybrid work as the future of work and the importance of good hybrid working models for corporate competitiveness. A key role in hybrid work is played by technology that bridges the distance between home and the physical office. While videoconferencing apps like Zoom or Webex connect "on demand", virtual office solutions like ivCAMPUS work with the concept of constant presence.

In virtual offices, interactions are identical to those in a physical office: People can knock on the door, short questions can be answered without having to enter a 1:1 agreement in the digital calendar, and social interactions take place in virtual coffee rooms and other meeting spaces.

Employers or team leaders don't feel like they are losing control, and employees don't feel like their hard work is not being recognised. Therefore, trust, flexibility and team spirit are interlinked on ivCAMPUS and form an ideal basis for what is called trust-based work.

A successful hybrid work model requires an adequate technical platform. ivCAMPUS combines the benefits of physical offices with those of remote collaboration. We digitalized office interactions to allow people to intuitively work together, socialize, and be part of the company culture just as they would in a real office. And all of this in an immersive platform that they can access from anywhere they want.