Leadership Perspectives

Work Your Way

Candace Nelson, CRO Workplace + Principal, shares insights around the why and how of transitioning to hybrid work.

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Candace Nelson, CRO Workplace + Principal, working in a private office setting.

How did you feel about hybrid work before the pandemic?

I have always had a progressive view on the workday. Out of sight never meant out of mind. Primarily because that’s how I have always liked to work.

Why did our leadership team ultimately decide to make the shift to hybrid work?

We knew that our culture and our people would thrive. We had proven it over time, especially seeing the impact that our free address policy had previously. We had productivity benchmarks in place, we were leading and managing well, and telling a wonderful story as to when and why the office was important!

What impacts have you seen hybrid work have on our workforce + organization?

It gives us the flexibility to engage as a team when needed and have head's down time when needed. I also know that as a working mom hybrid work is a gift. Allowing for less pressure when kids are sick, school/daycare closures, etc.

Was there anything that surprised you as a result of the new work policy?

The office matters! It was clear people enjoyed coming to the office. Now, it has become a place for intentional collaboration and the hub to experience our culture. The other surprise was bringing on new people. That was difficult. You want a new employee to feel surrounded by their new team and manager. We had to take the time to develop an intentional onboarding process that is new and different.

What is important for business owners and C-suite to know about shifting to a hybrid policy?

Your management style needs to change. No more “8-5 at your desk means you’re working". Adopt an empathetic leadership style, establish rules of engagement, establish benchmarks for productivity and it will succeed.

How do companies make the transition easy for their workforce?

Over-communicate! Have a clear HR plan that speaks to the people side, a clear facility plan, and a process in place for the workplace and technology to support the work at home and in the office. An equitable experience is essential.

What do you see as the biggest benefits of hybrid work for organizations?

There are several that stand out. The first is employee prioritization. Greater flexibility and work-life mitigation means happier employees and improved mental health. Your business IS your people. Second, is a dynamic workplace because the office matters. Your collaboration needs are redefined and the result is increased energy and participation. Make your interactions count. Last is increased productivity. You now plan for your day and work the way you need to each day.