The new world is phygital.
The new work is hybrid.

Offices are the fax of the 90s. Hybrid is the future, the open door to metaverse.

Things have changed – always, and there is no end in sight by any means. In the past, people mainly adapted to the changes, today we are trying hard to actively shape our future for the better – even if there are setbacks such as the Covid19-pandemic.

The 19th century saw people giving up their farms and moving to the cities with their factories. No other chance than to adapt – well, except starving.

During World War II, women had to replace men in the workplaces, from milk”men” over assembly lines to pilots in the Royal Air Force. Did they conquer a male domain? Well no, it was pure necessity, society adapted to the needs of war.

The Digital Age began in the 1990s, when workplaces got equipped with PCs allowing a higher and more effective productivity. Digital communication has given us the basis for faster decision making. We no longer adapted but acted.

And then, in 2020, the shock: Covid19. All the world was forced to change the way of working to keep the economy running. Solution: Working from home (not remote work) thanks to new technologies.

After almost 2 years, by the end of 2021, the success of vaccination and the strict safety measures allows a new normal. But we are not keen on returning to the offices from 9 to 5, five days a week. Three quarters of a surveyed reference group said that they would prefer working more flexibly, maybe 3 days working remotely, 2 day on-site or the like. Not an easy challenge to meet for organizations. It’s not the right place here to discuss the psychological reasons for this behaviour. ActioGlobal is here to deliver solutions, not just to adapt but to shape the new normal, the future. And the key to both is not remote, but hybrid.

When the Covid19 pandemic had just begun, office workers were rushed home carrying laptops and monitors under their arms and, worst case, working at their kitchen tables due to lack of office furniture in their homes. Even when the pandemic moved on, a lot of companies did not develop a remote work concept. Now they are far behind track since work culture has changed again: onsite or remote have merged to hybrid. Sounds easy, people are just in for some days and back to their kitchen tables for the rest of the week. Nice idea but without an appropriate operating system, a clear defined way of working, it will end up in chaos. It’s not a question of location, this is about culture.

For our clients, mainly multinationals operating in 24 different sectors and 32 countries all around the world, ActioGlobal has developed the Agile Hybrid Work Framework: 5 keys to unlock the door to a hybrid work future that will grant the employees a peace of mind and freedom to give their work a meaning, align all the company as well as external professionals to a common purpose and the ways to achieve it by following a commonly felt rhythm. Not to forget the digital tools to make this new culture happen.

Find here some thoughts on the flash highlights of the 5 central points of the new framework on your way down to the end of this article … stay tuned:

1. The Hybrid Principles

First key and first step to the new culture is disrupting the status quo and a major part of this disruption is changing both organizational and individual behaviours – not easy. Out of the comfort zone, no more complacency, but innovation, customer at the center, new ways of working, a Massive Transformation Purpose, new horizons.

Not everyone is a fan of experimenting and taking the risk of failing, but this is the way to get rid of inertia and discover and deliver what is needed to create value for the company, the people as well as for the customers and – above all – to lead the future.

A company has to be a living organism. There is no command-and control, the organism evolves due to the contributions of its parts. No company is an island – the quote is adapted to emphasize that each company is also part of an overall ecosystem. Growing in the market requires the company to assess, adjust, innovate and even anticipate the demands of customers and consumers even before they think of them.

All people in an organization need to adapt to this habit and contribute to the growth and “well-being” of this ecosystem, they must understand that they are a vital part of a greater whole. To reinforce this behaviour, leaders need to build, grow, promote and foster innovative characteristics in their people.

Since these behaviours aren´t no-brainers, a clear communication of expectations held of the organs to form the living organism is required. Might be easy when your people are onsite and all interpersonal relationships flourish fully. Yet, it’s just as easy in a digital environment when all people recognize integrity (words and subsequent actions match), everyone acts like a role model and sets an example of the right behaviour in a hybrid working organism.

Finally, it’s a matter of mindset.

“We are seeing acceleration of the trend to democratize the workplace… During these last few months, digital technology has flattened hierarchies, with everyone connected and getting information at the same time, and so many channels for employee input and involvement in decision-making in real time.”

Diane Gherson

Diane Gherson
Former CHOR of IBM. Currently senior lecturer at Harvard Business School
The HR Executive of the year 2018 was one of the key players at IBM in their massive digital transformation focusing on speed, innovation and experience for the customers. She reinvented HR using agile practices, shaping a new future of work by a digital transformation.

2. OKR - Objectives and Key Results

The living organism – the organization – needs to be synchronized for evolving towards the defined outcomes – “how we´ve always done it (?)”, no way, since you haven’t done it like this before. Hybrid work is new to the majority of the workforce as well as to the leaders. So? OKR!

OKR are like a rough diamond and need to be shaped individually by the organizations. They contradict an implementation, it’s not ready, set, go.

The defined common purpose is achieved by prioritizing the outcomes progressively by common objectives: “Where do we want to be?”. Key Results form the common compass to stay on track towards the objectives. They are measurable and adjustable whenever a deviation from the planned path is appropriate to reach the objective.

KRs give safety to the teams while they are experimenting, discovering, learning and, of course, applying – collaborative, aligned, synchronized, innovative, productive. Finally the main objective is always delivering value to the customer, gaining customer loyalty, making the organization grow and having their people find a meaning in their job. There is a strong link to our New Work Model.

The new generations are striving for a flexible, digital, collaborative and meaningful future of work and life.

OKR are like an exoskeleton, providing safety and supporting the people in making their business and life goals happen. Provided the proper mindset, they help the people discover and deliver. The company and their people are enabled to execute short-term in perfect synchronization using phygital channels. Having people connected with internal and external experts around the globe is indispensable, since it is not first experiment and discover and subsequently apply/deliver: discovery has to be part of the delivery process. Remember: exploration and exploitation. All together.

It´s the OKR that embeds discovery into delivery.

Bottom line: OKR translate the purpose and the strategy into daily business life and by their quarterly iterations they are the instrument to have your company make an impact in the market and on the customers.
are the instrument
to win.

3. The Networks of Agile Autonomous Teams

You are reading correctly: it´s agile autonomous teams. This combination of words is not naturally incompatible at all. Autonomous teams result from successfully working agile self-organized teams.

These teams are the nervous system of the living organism “company”. Like in a human body, the neurons have to be interlinked to transport impulses to where they are needed.

Self-organized teams get their impulses by a transparent communication of the MTP and the required outcomes. It’s on them to build a strategy, develop processes, drive interactions, identify dependencies and ask for help when obstacles cannot be removed by the team´s own devices. It’s them who are the core of an agile organization. No silos, keep the Phygital Flywheel spinning.

To form agile, high-performing self-organized teams, it’s right people, right place, no matter whether they work onsite or offsite. Once again, it’s mindset, principles and behaviour that count. Associates, even leaders, clinging to their position in their silo need to quickly understand that they are unproductive and hinder the highly important short-term execution system as well as delivering value – to the detriment of the organization and the colleagues.

Agile self-organized teams grant the responsibility, flexibility, freedom to experiment and the meaning generations Y and Z are looking for when applying for a job. The organization gets the chance to hire the best – still eager to discover and learn.
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Silvia Rabanal,
COO, Havas Media

“Thanks to ActioGlobal we have discovered that the building and development of self-organizing teams is the core of Agile. It allows us to place the customer at the center and make everyone work towards a common goal. It’s about breaking with the historic linear process and working in a way that makes every project and every objective a moonshot.”

Agile Hybrid Work opens up the possibility to get the advice of internal and external professionals from all around the world – quickly, maybe even in realtime. It provides terrific opportunities for multinationals but also for companies operating worldwide to have all their experts needed to design a strategy, discuss processes, innovate, achieve to deliver what is needed “at the same table”. Using the skills of all experts available – this is creating value.

An elaborate Agile Hybrid Work culture is key to this network. The living organism cannot afford any obstacle in collaboration and fast, adaptable and meaningful co-creation.

4. The Drumbeat

Feel the heartbeat of your organization and follow it´s rhythm. The Drumbeat, as we call it, is to synchronize and unify all the organization to push forward. Incorporating rhythmic rituals is important in an agile hybrid culture. The Drumbeat rituals bring all people involved regularly up to speed: exchange of information and knowledge is guaranteed, shared understanding, the level of confidence and the status of the impact-to-be is reviewed.

Think outside the timebox. The Drumbeat is multi-dimensional. This allows for responding to a changing environment, changing needs of customers and the market, learnings during iterations of experimenting and discovering, adjustment of the Key Results if they proved to be unsuitable to achieve the Objectives by communication and discussing with other teams involved, and measuring the progress towards the objectives based on current data.

The Drumbeat aligns the teams, each member, to the common purpose, the OKR, and the needs and wants of the customers in an ever recurring rhythm. It synchronizes hearts and minds in the organization to be contributors to shaping the future.

Beat the drum, follow the rhythm, synchronize hearts&minds for success.

5. The Digital Tools

Tools, tools, tools … there´s an enormous range available.

Select them meaningfully, they are decisive for successful Agile Hybrid Work. In point 03 we claimed “right people, right place”, regarding tools it´s “right tool, right purpose”. It does not make sense to get lost in a jungle of tools for digital collaboration. Successful and meaningful Agile Hybrid Work is not based on the use of as many “great” tools as possible, rather it´s based on a sensitive and reasonable selection.
The tool is support, assistance, and easing hard and difficult work. But it can never be a replacement for one’s own thinking, collaboration with the team members and personal communication. Take advantage of all the exponential digital tools on offer but only after key points 01 to 04 are established and do not let the tool rule. Build a sound relation between humanity and technology to the advantage of your organization and your people.

Modern technology has a lot to offer for Agile Hybrid Work. There is no end in sight for hybrid collaboration.

Hybrid is the open door to metaverse, it´s the new virtual world that will blend exponential technologies including video-conferencing, gaming, cryptocurrencies, virtual reality, social media and live-streaming. Hybrid is the start of what we at ActioGlobal call the metaverse work. Stay tuned for more in the next months

The new world is phygital.
The new work is hybrid.

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