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The Three-Day-Minimum Hybrid Approach for Return to Work

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August 4, 2022

As life after the pandemic has normalized, leaders are faced with employees wanting to manage their work/life balance, the company wanting to reduce the cost of office space, and the larger society wanting to reduce the impact of commuting on the environment. Organizations have been mulling over whether employees should return to normal office work, work from home or move to a hybrid model. Hybrid was the winner. This model needs to be balanced, however, with rebuilding a sense of belonging among team members. That requires all the members of a team to periodically come together face-to-face, with three days the minimum needed to build and renew relationships. Changing the design of workspaces also helps in renewing these relationships during their face-to-face time together. Rather than small cubicles, team members need informal spaces for small groupings and larger spaces for the whole team. Google’s Project Aristotle found that personalized relationships were the most salient characteristic of its highest-performing teams. If we are thoughtful about what we want to accomplish when we bring people back to the office, we can design work and workplaces based on what we’ve learned about getting work done virtually and what we know about successful teams. 

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