As employees return to onsite work, transformative opportunities abound. A Hybrid Dynamic-Workforce Productivity (HDWP) Model can enable greater flexibility for businesses and achieve better workforce productivity. C-suite must engage the workforce for new remote work support strategies.

The COVID survival and remote work journey impact how employees view transitioning back to onsite work post-crisis. C-suite, especially the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO), should expect that all staff, including executive peers, face home, personal, work, and emotional challenges. C-suite teams can provide support by communicating how enterprise strategic goals align with employees’ life management needs. These teams should evaluate and revamp support services aimed at employee remote work productivity with work-life balance.

C-suite Takeaways

  • CEOs reshape a Zero-to-Five (ZT5) Remote Workforce Policies for flexibility, work-life balance, and expected productivity.
  • C-suite with CHRO reshapes strategy-inclusion communications for the workforce’s shared goals and purpose.
  • C-suite, managers, and work teams develop shared ownership in work with employee work-life management.
  • CHRO with C-suite must focus on making “big bets” on longer-term human capital cultivation and returns in the workforce ecosystem.
  • CHRO Leadership and business managers collaborate to craft an HDWP planning model and framework for ZT5 remote work.

Hybrid Dynamic-Work Productivity (HDWP) Model Applied

Most organizations are still adjusting and evaluating just what is the latest working norm for their employees. Each company will be different. Moreover, these norms will continue to evolve through 2022 and beyond.

Why?

Above all, CEOs expect a remote hybrid policy tie-in to the HDWP model from the C-suite and CHRO workforce plans for execution. It supports the CEO’s back-to-work reset and today’s work norms.

The HDWP planning model covers these four critical remote work components:

  • Hybrid – supports any global ZT5 onsite workday plans
  • Dynamic – will continually be changing the workforce for the “work of the future”
  • Workforce – supports both business and employee alignment – any work and location for cost savings and improved work-life management
  • Productivity  increases with a “workforce ecosystem” for outcomes with better management changes and rightsized metrics.

How?

The Hybrid component addresses work for anywhere and anytime using the ZT5’s seven-tiers for remote employees. (See chart below) Not all businesses will require all the tiers. Just apply new tiers as placeholders for the evolution of work.

The Dynamic component addresses the rapid changes in work and its workforce. HR requires big bets” on longer-term human capital cultivation and ROI in the workforce ecosystem. HR requires reshaped flexible policies, models, and frameworks as work shifts from people to machines, new work evolves for innovation, and social changes occur.

The Workforce component applies the Hybrid component to each work type for where the team works with planning for future crisis options.

The Productivity component is the ZT5 work guidelines to reshape work controls to maximize quality work outcomes. Successful remote outcome trends are:

  • Define work in quality time-based boxes (i.e., 20 hours) or outputs
  • Reshape core collaboration working hours (e.g., 9 am -2 pm) for emails, calls, texts, and video conferencing
  • No new activities or new work at the end-of-day
  • Downselect only five critical outcome metrics for employees’ focus
  • Avoid automated or detailed personal data collection for privacy regs.

These productivity changes will decrease employee burnout, especially excessive video conferencing, for higher engagement and more productive hours worked each day.

Remote Work Tiers for Employees’ Expectations

According to a PwC US 2021 Workforce Survey, PwC’s global companies’ and employees’ onsite back-to-work expectations surveys were not aligned. There was a shift to employees wanting more remote work. This in-depth research shows more than 50% of workers wish three-plus days of work at home. Other leading research/interview surveys have similar employee uptick remote ranges.

Likewise, PwC’s survey with employee interviews, including other research, had similar results for a composite snapshot employee for a blended sentiment range. Here is a trending blended ZT5 Model employee return-to-office.

Global Large-Mid Size Composite Survey for Employee’s Preference Responses to Remote Work Tiers
Employee Choice TierEmployee PercentagesEmployee Remote Days at Office
18-10%Zero days per week/month
210-12%1-3 days per month
310-13%One day per week
419-22%Two days per week
515-19%Three days per week
610-13%Four days per week
728-30%Five days per week

Note: Two to three-day remote plans are employees’ highest preferences.

Beginning in 2022, C-suite needs to be ready for the new norms in the workforce. Don’t expect all the latest standards and models to be in concrete quickly. Leadership teams need more flexibility, support, and time for direct reports to ensure they have the optimized, flexible work model for productivity.

C-suite teams need to drive the remote workforce playbook with the CHRO. Most business units must review and reshape for a successful back-to-work (BTW) plan. 

Hybrid Work Strategy Policy and Inclusion-Based Workforce

First, CEOs must drive the Remote Hybrid Workforce Policy. It should allow flexibility for each business unit to adapt and change as required. The CHRO works with the C-suite for the execution of hybrid plans.

Second, the C-suite needs to craft and deliver strategic inclusion communications. The goal is to connect the strategy to each employee for their meaningful work. Leadership may need to refresh emotional intelligence skills focusing on empathy. Leaders must learn it; it’s not part of the person.

To clarify, C-suite combines with the remote hybrid policy and strategy-inclusion communications to the business units.

Workforce Ecosystems for Alignment and Balance

The HDWP model using MIT’s workforce ecosystem concept helps leadership rethink the way the enterprise aligns its business units and workforce strategies. It includes the impact of technology, social, and economic forces applied to manage timely workforce changes. It’s inclusive of employee work-life-management, such as caregiving, daycare, family, and schools. As the workforce returns to the office, many employees with onsite work will shift in sentiment and view toward remote work.

Different Remote Workforce Models For Best Fit 

Each industry and sector requires a custom remote employee composite for policymaking. Leadership can expect it to be different but will end up with the same remote tier structures in the future.

“Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter have all said staff would have the option to work from home permanently.”

To clarify, the increased productivity outcomes are the C-suite results with CHRO’s team, managers, and work teams shared ownership in work with life management in alignment.

For example, global complex and heavily regulated businesses leaning to a 4/5-days onsite week, e.g, JPMorgan, want workers back in the offices. On the other hand, HSBC-Hong Kong cut office space by 40% with 1-4-days onsite.

In short, the C-suite should not focus on a reshaped remote work model and plan as a one-and-done. Still, experimenting and reshaping an annually remote workforce will balance work productivity with employee family and life management over the next five years.

Recommendations

  • CEOs should reshape a flexible global ZT5 Remote Workforce Policy for flexibility and expected productivity.
  • C-suite with CHRO must reshape strategy-inclusion communications for the workforce’s shared goals and purpose with remote policy enterprise rollout.
  • Leadership and business units need to collaborate with CHRO’s team to craft an HDWP planning model for the ZT5 workforce plan, reshape the work classification framework, and guidelines for remote work.
  • CHRO teams, managers, and business units should shape remote work tiers using a win-win workforce framework for productivity and employee work-life management.

Into the Future

To sum up, these Back-To-Work and HDWP efforts yield more productivity and less employee stress and burnout. Notably, trending remote work research usually shows slightly higher productivity percentages at home than in the office.

Within two years, C-suite leadership teams should adopt the HDWP model for “work of the future” and workforce ecosystems. It’s less on corporate roles and locations. 

Next Up

CEO 2021 Post-Covid Employee Strategies: C-suite Resets Empathy, Work-life Flexibility and Wellness

References and More Research Advice

Business Management Daily. Davenport, Anniken, “COVID-19 long-haulers will likely be eligible for intermittent FMLA leave”, February 12, 2021.

Harvard Business Review. Kislik, Liz, “What to Do If Your Team Doesn’t Want to Go Back to the Office,” January 18, 2021.

Harvard Business Review and Webinar, Choudhury, Prithwiraj, Professor at Harvard Business School, “Our Work-from-Anywhere Future: Best practices for all-remote organizations.” November-December 2020 and January 27, 2021.

MIT Sloan Management Review. Altman, Elizabeth J., Kiron, David, Jones, Robin, “The Future of Work is Through Workforce Ecosystems,” January 14, 2021.

MIT Sloan Management Review. Gratton, Lynda, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School,  “The Pandemic’s Lessons for Managing Uncertainty,” August 31, 2020.

MIT Sloan Management Review. Gratton, Lynda, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School, “Four Principles to Ensure Hybrid Work Is Productive Work,” November 9, 2020.

MIT Sloan Management Review. Sanchez-Burks, Jeffrey, Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Bradley, Christina, Assistant Professor, Greer, Lindred, Doctoral Candidate, “How Leaders Can Optimize Teams’ Emotional Landscapes,” January 4, 2021.

PwC: US. It’s time to reimage where and how work will get done: US Remote Work Survey, January 12, 2021.

The Analyst Syndicate. Austin, Tom, “Prediction 2021: Bring Your Own Office,” January 11, 2021.

The Analyst Syndicate. Guptill, Bruce, “Hold Off on Major WFH Decisions Through 2021,” December 31, 2020.

Copyright @ 2021, STEVE HAWALD CEO CIO ADVISORY LLC. DISCLAIMER: This article is entirely my opinion without financial payments. The peer review was by French Caldwell. The editor review was by Regina Lapierre.

Member of The Analyst Syndicate.