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Successful hybrid work environments require intentionality

Written on Aug 26, 2021

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager 

Some businesses implementing a hybrid working environment for the first time might run into unexpected challenges along the way, but that’s part of the learning process. 

“We have to expect the unexpected when we are experiencing hybrid for the first time,” said Vince Nardone, a partner at Walter | Haverfield. 

Nardone will present at the fall Virtual Accounting Shows “Navigating a Hybrid Work Environment: Post Pandemic Work Strategy,” and said it’s helpful to be patient with employers and employees as the hybrid model is introduced and each side navigates new territory. 

“We're in an environment today when the concept of employee engagement is so prevalent in many industries, including accounting,” Nardone said. “Employers being flexible and willing to consider those opportunities such as hybrid work and how to implement that strategy for the best interest of the employees is a win-win.” 

One of the core benefits of a hybrid work model is employee retention and efficiency, Nardone said. Most employees enjoy having autonomy in where they choose to work and how to be most productive. A potential downside, Nardone said, could be the perception that a hybrid schedule means an employee lacks engagement with the work and the organization internally. 

“We have to combat that perception of lack of engagement,” Nardone said. “Especially with younger, new talent in the office in situations where they have not built the relationships, rapport, or reputations yet with their team and clients.” 

While it’s helpful to learn what other places are doing for their hybrid models, Nardone said what works for one organization might not work for another. A good hybrid strategy is dependent on an organization’s size, the nature of the work involved, personalities and culture. 

Being intentional with the hybrid schedule is key, he said. Consider what the core values of the office are, what engagement looks like both externally and internally, and how to best leverage technology for communication. 

And while the hybrid model is popular now as employers begin to welcome staff back to the office, Nardone said businesses would be mistaken to consider this a passing trend. 

“The hybrid model was already here, pre-COVID,” Nardone said. “This was not something that was just created. It was just accelerated during COVID. And now it's here to stay. It's permanent.”