Changing Places

How hybrid working is rewriting the rule book

The world of work has changed forever. So, now what?

The end of the strict social distancing measures in early October 2021 marks the beginning of businesses in Vietnam to slowly bring employees back to the workplace. The Government remains cautious on how to reopen the country. Vigilance and proper control measures are needed in the COVID-normal world.

Therefore, organisations cannot expect their employees to readily come back to the place of work immediately. Employees are ready to embrace a more permanent change, bidding goodbye to five days of commuting and cubicles as they are getting used to the new lifestyle. Now is the time for organisations to define a future world of work that works better. And this world is hybrid.

So, how do businesses take meaningful steps forward to realise the benefits of hybrid ways of working? We have identified and suggested some strategies to optimise work in four key focus areas on how to make hybrid work, work.

Four key areas to make hybrid work, work.

Where we work
Our wellbeing at work
How we make it work
Our experience of work

Many Vietnamese employees crave the flexibility of working remotely while others may still want to continue working onsite. In a recent survey done by ManPowerGroup, 66% of the respondents feel positive about going back to work after the quarantine. At the same time, 42% vote for the idea of 3 to 4 days per week of working from home. Employers, on the other hand, still highly value physical offices.

There is no one-size-fits-all middle ground. Organisations will need to respect and cater to varied preferences by embedding flexibility while supporting and empowering teams. This starts with acknowledging the different views of employers and employees on the changing purpose of an office. 

As the lines between work and home become increasingly blurred, mental wellbeing remains the top concern for organisations post-COVID-19. Stress, along with feelings of loneliness or isolation and burnouts, are among the top mental issues experienced by many Vietnamese during the stay-at-home period. It is not surprising then that 78% of respondents in a survey by ManpowerGroup ranked health and mental wellbeing as the most desirable aspect of their jobs. 

Mental health and wellbeing are driven by a range of critical factors. But it is the people in leadership positions who design and embed workplace culture, who define policies and who empower connectivity.

Working across multiple places and spaces can be complex and difficult to navigate. In order to protect and support employees, organisations need to ensure your processes and systems support the performance or productivity of your workforce who could be working in the office, at home or in a third place. 

To realise the opportunities of hybrid working, businesses must ensure expectations around flexibility aligns with the minimum terms of employment and industrially acceptable conditions about core hours. What is clear - Driving change in this new work future will require organisations to pilot and prototype activities while collecting data on what does and doesn’t work.

One of the roles of leaders is to prioritise the emotional needs and motivations of their people. The emergence of hybrid work will cause a much-needed shift in leadership styles and mentalities. Traditional methods of leading are irrelevant as remote workers desire greater time and place flexibility. 

The hybrid model requires a move from a traditional leadership model relying on structured places, hours and roles for work toward an organic model based on flexibility, a focus on strengths-based work and decentralised decision-making.

To help organisations plan their future of work, we have defined actionable considerations and recommendations across three horizons.

COVID-19 is still active, but the level of disruption in Vietnam is starting to stabilise. While change will still be frequent and significant, there are some short-term actions that organisations can take to optimise workers’ return to workplaces.

We can expect business confidence to grow, public safety concerns to shrink and people to travel more as the majority of the population is vaccinated. With this comes a need to experiment as we redefine and redesign the future of work as borders, businesses and people settle into a new normal.

It may seem far off today but there will come a time where international travel will drive more mobile and accessible talent, bringing with it new growth across the public and private sector. Don’t wait to seize the opportunity to reimagine where, when and how we work.