Embracing Hybrid Work Structure To Drive A Culture of Peak Performance in 2024 – Episode I

Last month, we outlined 10 Strategies Leaders Can Implement To Drive A Culture of Peak Performance in 2024. This February, we shall be focusing on one of these strategies – Embracing Hybrid Work Structure. In this first episode, we will explore (A) The impact of hybrid work structure on driving peak performance by considering both sides of the argument; and in subsequent episodes, we will bring insights on (B) The Pitfalls of Hybrid Working Structure and How To Avoid Them (C) Indictors Your Team In Not Built for Hybrid Working Structure (D) How To Effectively Lead Hybrid Teams. 

Hybrid Work Structure – The Impact on Driving Peak Performance 

To stay ahead in these times, organizations and businesses must continuously adapt and evolve their strategies to align with the rapid pace of technological advancements that present both opportunities and challenges in the quest for achieving peak performance. However, one notable hurdle that seemingly poses a threat and stands in the way, is the changing nature of work. 

It is no secret that leaders have been looking into their crystal balls to predict the next big work trend, while employees on the other hand have nonetheless continued to adjust to newer ways of working, following the rise of the hybrid work structure. Given how quickly and constantly the workplace is changing, leaders need to stay ahead of potential trends, to strategically position and align their teams as new technologies emerge to improve productivity and peak performance. 

No doubt, the digital revolution has made it increasingly possible for employees to work from anywhere with an internet connection, leading to a surge in remote and hybrid work models. 

Notably, while remote work refers to a working arrangement where employees perform their tasks from home or another location outside the office, hybrid work combines remote work with in-office work, allowing employees to split their time between the two settings. So, instead of commuting to a work location provided by their job, this arrangement allows employees more freedom to accomplish the same work tasks elsewhere. Therefore, a hybrid work arrangement may include working on-site, only part of the time. 

This ongoing global shift toward remote and hybrid work models, accelerated by factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, has forced many organizations to adapt to remote work out of necessity. While Hybrid Work Structure sounds cool, the question on the lips of many leaders today is: how effective is the Hybrid Work Structure in driving peak performance, and to what extent really? 

A report published by ET HR World about findings from its 2023 Global Trends Report by NTT Ltd, a leading IT infrastructure and services company and parent company of Dimension Data Employee Experience, revealed how current workplace trends, such as hybrid work and AI, are influencing employee experience (EX) strategies and the correlation between EX and business performance. 

The report found that while 90% of businesses see the enablement of hybrid and remote work as having a positive impact on their bottom line, less than half (48%) strongly agree that employees have access to the technology they need to work well both at home, and in the office. 

Another data from Accenture’s Future of Work Study 2021 shows positive feedback from hybrid workers regarding their hybrid work model. Of 9,326 surveyed workers, 83% stated they prefer a hybrid work model that allows them to work remotely at least 25% of the time.
One of the largest reasons for this preference may be the flexibility that hybrid work offers. Each person can work in the environment that makes them most productive. Factors like lighting, sound, temperature, and seating can have a major impact on each worker’s productivity, and it’s difficult to adapt those elements to each person’s preferences in an office setting. When workers have direct control over their environments, it’s easier for them to focus on the work at hand. 

In another research conducted by Stanford University, study respondents who were employees of CTrip, a travel agency based in China showed how hybrid work led to more productive employees. 

CTrip has 16,000 employees, and the experiment ran for nine months. There were two randomly selected groups: one group worked in the office five days a week, and one group worked within a hybrid remote structure, with four days at home and one day at the office. The in-office group maintained its productivity levels as predicted. However, the hybrid group puzzled the researchers, as their productivity rose by 13% and employee attrition decreased by 50%. 

Given these findings, CTrip gave its employees the option to choose their schedule between working full-time at the office or a hybrid setup. Fifty percent of the employees who took part in the study switched their current schedules, whether from office work to a hybrid schedule or vice versa. After giving their workers autonomy, CTrip recorded that the average productivity across all their employees increased to 22% — 12 points higher than the original study’s finding. 

Now while hybrid working can have several positive points, it can also have some adverse reactions. Hybrid working can create problems due to the physical distance between team members, resulting in miscommunication, isolation, and even reduced productivity in the long run. For instance, if employees who work remotely feel excluded or disadvantaged compared to those who work on-site, this can lead to resentment and disengagement. 

Another point to note is the loss of team spirit and social cohesion – If adverse reactions to hybrid working continue, it can erode the sense of team spirit and social cohesion amongst team members working together in the same physical space, impacting collaboration, innovation, and morale negatively. 

On the part of leaders, they stand the risk of finding it harder to monitor employee performance and ensure everyone is working towards the same goals, which inevitably leads to a lack of accountability and clarity. According to a report from The Hackett Group, remote and hybrid work may also be linked to lower confidence in leadership and mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, and burnout. 

In comparing these statistics, it is wise to infer that the Hybrid Work Structure as a work trend to watch out for in 2024 shouldn’t just be about embracing the “new normal” because it sounds cool or trendy, but that leaders must pay attention to gaining insights into how they can best conform strategically, (if necessary) to drive performance. In the next episode, we shall provide more insights on The Pitfalls of Hybrid Working Structure and How To Avoid Them. 


To further position your leaders for peak performance, you can download a free copy of the latest edition of The Peak Performer Magazine at www.thepeakperformer.africa You can also enroll your Mid-level  Leadership Team for the Made4More Accelerator Program https://abiolachamp.com/made4more-accelerator-program-2024/  and your Senior Leadership Team for the Dr. Abiola Salami International Leadership Bootcamp MOMBASA 2024 https://abiolachamp.com/mombasa2024/  

About Dr. Abiola Salami

Dr. Abiola Salami is the Convener of Dr Abiola Salami International Leadership Bootcamp and The Peak PerformerTM. He is the Principal Performance Strategist at CHAMP – a full scale professional services firm trusted by high performing business leaders for providing Executive Coaching, Workforce Development & Advisory Services to improve performance. You can reach his team on hello@abiolachamp.com and connect with him @abiolachamp on all social media platforms. 


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