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Key Strategies For Creating An Effective Hybrid Work Environment

As COVID-19 fears have largely eased nationwide, companies’ approaches to returning to in-person work have significantly varied. While few have mandated only in-person working, some have allowed for fully remote work, with the majority of companies offering some level of hybrid work environment.

Despite in-person work slowly making a comeback, remote work is here to stay, making it necessary to understand a wide range of attitudes and evolving perspectives around remote work in order to get the most value out of remote work for your company.

As companies begin to bring workers back to the office, is remote work necessary?

The labor market in early 2022 featured record high job openings, forcing employers to cater to employees in order to find and retain workers. As fears of a recession increase, however, employers are likely to take back much of the power in hiring and retaining employees. As such, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s mandate that workers must work fully in-person was largely received as a means to achieve his goal to cut the company’s workforce by up to 10%, fueled by fears about the macroeconomy.

For the most part, however, companies will find that offering some form of remote work is necessary to recruit and retain enough talent to operate, no matter the macroenvironment trends. A majority of fully-remote workers have said they would leave their job if they could not work remotely, and over one-third of hybrid workers have said the same. Moreover, fewer than one-in-ten employees said they would actually prefer to work fully in-person as opposed to fully remote or hybrid.

Balancing the Pros and Cons of Video Cameras

One of the biggest issues with remote work is still creating meaningful interactions and building up the company culture in the absence of in-person, day-to-day interactions. Without physical interactions between employees, remote work has led to weakened relationships between co-workers. Stopping by one’s office and asking them a work related question, often leading to some personal talk and connection, has now turned into a quick, unremarkable e-mail, showing the difficulty of replicating in-person encounters in the world of remote work.

Still, in remote formats, utilizing video calls has been the most popular attempted solution to this, allowing for employees to see and hear one another and attempt to build relationships that way.

But employees constantly being expected to be present on video has its negatives, too. The term ‘Zoom fatigue’ became popular from employees constantly being on-screen. Many employees tend to look at themselves more on screen than at their co-workers, defeating much of the purpose of having video calls. This issue is particularly harmful for women, who tend to be more self-conscience about their appearance than their male co-workers.

Overall, studies have shown that not using video camera has led to more productivity and less stress, showing how detrimental constant video-on requirements can be for employees.

Promotions, Recognition, and Remote Work

One of the most pertinent issues for remote workers is the general belief that they are not recognized by superiors as much as in-office workers. With less visibility in the office and less time to make small talk and create personal bonds, many remote employees believe it is “out of sight, out of mind.” Studies estimate that in-person workers are nearly twice as likely as remote workers to receive a promotion, showing a significant issue for remote employees seeking to advance their career.

This is particularly tricky for hybrid work environments, where employees on the same level can be given advantages just because they work more in-person than remotely.


1) Determine the right remote work strategy for your company. The decision to offer remote work should be strongly dependent on how a company’s employees feel about working remotely, to what extent a company can accommodate working remotely, and the company’s goals and vision.

There may be technological hurdles to allowing or expanding remote work in your company, but if remote work is a goal for your company, investing in the appropriate technology can add significant value. Many companies prior to the pandemic did not have the infrastructure in place to support fully remote work but invested in technology to bridge the gap. As technology continues to evolve, supporting remote employees with the right technology and resources is a must.

It is also important to understand what competitors in the industry are doing, too. If a rival company allows for more remote work than yours, they could have an advantage in the recruiting process allowing them to attract more and better talent.

2) Clearly communicate expectations regarding virtual meetings. While having video on for one-on-one meetings with an employee and their manager may make sense, it could be harmful for multiple employees to be forced to always have their video on in larger meetings. Regardless of the company’s preference for video requirements, these expectations should be communicated in advance to reduce stress. If a meeting will not require video, employees can allocate their time in other areas instead of preparing their physical appearances for the meeting.

3) Ensure that managers regularly check-in with remote employees. An employee’s decision to work from home should not be an obstacle to their career development, but implicit biases with seeing other in-person employees more often usually lead to a favoritism for in-person employees when it comes to promotions. By ensuring that managers regularly check-in with remote employees, remote employees will have an opportunity to discuss a broad range of topics with their manager, from their performance to other life topics, reducing fears of not being recognized and as respected as in-person workers.


Over three-in-four workers expect to either work in a hybrid or remote environment beyond 2022, stressing the need for companies to carefully and deliberately consider how to best use remote work. Many considerations – how frequent employees should work remotely, how to use video calls, and how to approach promotions – are dependent on many variables within a company, such as the type of work being done, the company’s culture and vision, and employees’ preferences. Being aware of and acting thoughtfully on the evolving perspectives and insights on remote work will equip your company to better optimize remote work, using remote work as a valuable, culture-enhancing aspect of your company.