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Is it hi or bye to hybrid workplace?

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 5/16/2021
an open laptop computer sitting on top of a table: A gavel sits on the table as New York City Criminal Court Judge Paul McDonnell works remotely from his Brooklyn apartment due to the coronavirus outbreak on April 9, 2020. © Spencer Platt A gavel sits on the table as New York City Criminal Court Judge Paul McDonnell works remotely from his Brooklyn apartment due to the coronavirus outbreak on April 9, 2020.

In “The hybrid workplace probably won’t last” (Ideas, May 9), Jon Levy cites an academic’s claim in 2006 that face-to-face interactions are necessary in the workplace. However, the fact is we did not have the Internet tools in 2006 that we have now.

Levy cites the need for trust among employees to accomplish goals, the feeling of belonging fostering productivity, and the dangers of working at home becoming too convenient. Yet if your commute takes 45 minutes each way, then you gain roughly an eight-hour day each week by working from home. Further, Levy makes it seem as if no productivity is lost by office gossip, in-person competition for attention, and personal business being done on company time.

I have found that while you do get to know fellow workers better in person, real relationships still find a way to be fostered remotely. I believe that the most important qualities in business are honesty and trust. When someone says they will do something and then does it, you tend to entrust that person with more responsibility. It doesn’t matter whether its online or in person — keeping your word is valued by everyone.

Finally, Levy does not suggest a solution where people come to work a couple of days a week and work at home the rest of the time. You’d have the on-site contact but also the personal convenience. Seems like a no-brainer. And what’s wrong with employee convenience? Happier workers are somehow not as productive?

Philip Kling

Wayland


Video: Adjust to a Hybrid Workplace Without Compromising Company Culture (Buzz60)

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Jon Levy’s Ideas piece generated more than 250 comments online. Here is an edited sampling:

Way to promote archaic work models that put employees’ needs last. Shmeh. (JSAILS)

Employers pay you to do what’s best for the business. Not the other way around. (RSull)

My company has been successfully using a hybrid model since the summer of 2018. Productivity has improved, workers are happier, and the company is attracting better workers. (78sman3)

If it was a good idea and better for corporations, we would have been doing it long ago. It’s not. (ElJefeGarcia)

All well and good when the team all knows each other from physical interaction pre-COVID. But when employees leave and new ones get hired, and you only see and know them from a Zoom box, nope . . . doesn’t work. (newsyoucanuse)

The company is using your home space gratis, and what about folks who do not have separate rooms or ergonomic chairs? You cannot sit in a dining room chair for eight or more hours a day. (rkiley2)

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