Mike Hourigan, Hybrid Workplace Keynote Speaker Part 4

Arbitrary Flexibility? Now that’s a Mouthful

(Part 4 of a 5 Part Series)

​When I as a hybrid workplace keynote speaker speak with organizations about the “new hybrid workplace,” there is more confusion over the topic than ever before. Often, I ask groups in my hybrid workplace talks what hybrid working means to them? I am met with several answers and a lot of shoulder shrugging.

So, in this, the fourth part of a five-part series on hybrid workplaces, I’d like to touch on the twin topics of “Measurement” and “Flexibility.” I believe the topics will help everyone understand why we are all confused.

Some of us love working from home full-time, and others hate it. When we talk of hybrid workplaces, predictably we have no rails or bumpers or guideposts to determine how we are doing with the status quo. In other words, how do most organizations govern, if you will, how the current arrangement is working out for them? We are in the dark.

Those who are working from home full-time have no true measures of productivity. Do we measure by hours worked, project completion, sales calls or other touchstones? If we all work away from an “office”, are we measuring our successes by the pay checks we collect, the hours we balance between time-in-office versus mid-day coffees, daily Yoga sessions or mimosas with friends (!) or work goals we have reached that we set for ourselves?

If there are no true measures across an organizational platform, why are we surprised that many workers are confused as to what they are doing? While some of us remain resolute in personal goal accomplishments, others spin off into space to the extent that they refuse to appear on-camera or answer email or even to work during core business hours.
A lack of measurement can – and often does lead to an erosion of corporate culture. If we feel responsible to no one, are we helping anyone? Now let’s hold that thought.

Arbitrary Flexibility
On the other hand, some organizations demand indeed, expect, their people to return to offices three days a week or every other week or any arrangement they like. Upper management believes they are being flexible. The real thought of these workplaces is (honestly) often “three days a week or every other week you owe us your presence, and two days a week, you can go back to screwing around.”
It is a contentious position and essentially erodes trust. This imposition by upper management is arbitrary. It benefits no one, and it has never benefitted anyone. Note that above I put “new hybrid workplace” in quotes. The obligation of mandatory office hours goes right back to the pre-pandemic rules. Often those rules helped no one with ridiculous commutes, unnecessary meetings, non-essential tasks and other time wasters.

If the rules are arbitrary often the measurements are arbitrary.
As a keynote speaker and consultant on the topic of Hybrid Workplaces, I offer a different way of viewing things, based on logic.
In-person meetings are essential. We are a team-oriented society. It is time to celebrate our teams. Sorry, but not sorry. To maintain corporate culture, we must come together to celebrate that culture. However, those meetings must be essential within the context of goal setting and measurement of results.

Flexibility should not be arbitrary but determined by those who are meeting. As the economy and the workplace open more fully, the best way to set a goal-setting or measurement meeting is to allow for consensus.
We must measure and we must be honestly flexible. Organizations cannot be afraid of hiring a change management speaker and workers should not be fearful of expectations that come with change.

To contact Mike Hourigan, Hybrid Workplace Keynote Motivational Speaker, for an in-person or virtual presentation, please call. Contact Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.

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    Mike does much more than present one-of-a-kind keynote speeches - he provides fun and fact filled breakout sessions as well as dynamic training programs for numerous organizations like Marriott, Disney, Harley-Davidson and even the U.S. Army.