Work Your Way
Jeff Erickson, CFO + COO, Principal, shares insights around the why and how of transitioning to hybrid work.
How did you feel about hybrid work before the pandemic?
I came from an old-school industry where you show up at 8 AM and leave after 5 PM every day, regardless of what your day entailed. I never really understood the mentality, but that expectation was embedded into my work DNA. So naturally, I was reluctant at first. However, as I see the positive impacts a hybrid model has had on our workforce I became a believer. The methodology of our hybrid model is simple, straightforward, and results-based. I think that is the key: keep the model simple, easy to understand, and set the proper expectations and it can be successful.
Why did our leadership team ultimately decide to make the shift to hybrid work?
It came down to doing the right thing for our people. The landscape of work was beginning to shift and there was a desire to enable our people to have increased flexibility and autonomy in their workday.
What impacts have you seen hybrid work have on our workforce + organization?
I have observed the model truly allows employees to work in their best possible environment. We have some people that come to the office every day and enjoy that routine in their life, we have people who really do great work from home and spend a good portion of their time away from the office, and we have a large percentage that takes advantage of both. Our technology offering has been essential to the experience of our employees, it has contributed to a far smoother transition. I think our managers have done an outstanding job of leading through the shift to hybrid, keeping their teams engaged, meeting customer demands, and working to keep the culture of Intereum intact.
Was there anything that surprised you as a result of the new work policy?
It surprised me how quickly our workforce adjusted to a hybrid environment. Once the plan was set and implemented, our teams continued to operate at their customary high levels of execution.
What is important for business owners and C-suite to know about shifting to a hybrid policy?
I think the biggest thing to remember when shifting to a hybrid policy is to keep an open mind. It's important to establish your metrics, track as you go, and dive into the results—really take the time to understand the impacts—which may be a change versus a less involved plan of “observing that someone is always in the office”. Also, be flexible as you may have to adapt your programs as you go. It is a new way to work and everyone is adapting on the fly.
How do companies make the transition easy for their workforce?
I think the key is to keep the program simple and set clear expectations. Encouraging managers to lead by example can be really impactful.
What do you see as the biggest benefits of hybrid work for organizations?
We are still early in the process, but I'm seeing a workforce that is more loyal as a result of the increased flexibility the hybrid environment creates. I see the ability to easily reimagine your office environment in terms of size, look, feel, and function in the future.