Flexible Work and Faulty Communications: Addressing the Hybrid Malaise

As a communications advisor to many global leaders, Decker’s work spans a broad range of companies in a variety of industries, all of whom are addressing similar post-pandemic issues. As 2022 gathers steam, there’s a macro theme that we are seeing across clients: While many companies have gotten used to hybrid work, only a select few have gotten good at it.

Remote work made communications clunky. Too many organizations have learned to live with clunkiness. From major events to daily meetings, tiresome and clumsy hybrid communications are undermining engagement and eroding culture. 

Organizations that refuse to settle for suboptimal are actively shaping their businesses to communicate and influence in the new world of work. The strongest of these are investing in two interconnected areas:

  1. Communications preparedness for predictable unpredictability. The Economist coined the phrase “predictable unpredictability” in an article from last December, in which they assert that unpredictability is the new normal for all of us. For large organizations, this means the ability to deliver on short notice in a rapidly changing hybrid environment and still demonstrate inspired execution. Whether new product launches, large-scale events, or fundamental business improvements, the days of taking a mulligan due to unexpected challenges are over. The best companies are preparing their people to thrive in unpredictability and communicate with confidence no matter the circumstances they encounter.
  1. New communications training frameworks. No one wants to say this out loud, but for many leaders empathic people management and aggressive business performance feel a bit mutually exclusive. Intellectually, these two mandates nest well together, yet operationally they can seem to work in opposition. Employees are now more comfortable working independently, which means that leaders and managers need to be more self-aware in how they connect, and get people to collaborate and care. This means doubling down on innovative soft skills training and coaching, as these skills are non-negotiables in navigating an unpredictable environment. An unfortunate legacy of the pandemic is that too many people occupy communications comfort zones that undermine their effectiveness in the hybrid workplace.

That which we are now calling “remote work,” or “flexible work,” or “hybrid work,” will soon be known by yet another name: work. New ways of working demand new modes of communications training and coaching, and this imperative has kept the Decker team buzzing for the past several months. If you’d like to learn more about how the best companies are addressing these challenges, reach out and arrange for a 30-min complimentary Decker briefing for your team.

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