Managing the New Tensions of Hybrid Work | MIT Sloan Management Review

Workforce Trends

Last week, I made a post about an article covering various regulatory developments that have implications for organizations’ remote work practices. For example, one point mentioned the European Union’s right to disconnect—a labor law concept that formalizes employees’ rights to disengage from work and refrain from work-related electronic communications during non-work hours. As leaders consider various factors that influence their guidance on remote work, this supplemental article addresses the topic from another set of considerations: looking at remote and hybrid work through the lens of types of tasks performed. The article differentiates four categories of tasks that can optimally be performed remotely versus at a company-designated location. For example, focused creative tasks (e.g., writing code or designing a brochure) require little teamwork and are easily supported by technology—allowing an easy transition to virtual work. However, collaborative creative tasks (e.g., product development, creative problem-solving, and strategic planning) are the most social type of tasks — and are important elements of innovation processes. The authors note that, for managers in their study, it was their experiences with collaborative creative tasks in hybrid environments that exposed the potential negative consequences for culture and innovation. Several other ideas are provided that leaders can refer to as they make informed decisions about remote and hybrid work. For more MIT Sloan Management Review articles, visit their website.