Elsie - Hi there! My name is Elsie Mort and I am a change management consultant with Valorem Reply. I'm joined by not one but two Alexs today, Alex Rippberger who leads change management at Valorem Reply and Alex Erickson who's a fellow consultant. We're here today to talk about the present state and future of hybrid work which is amazingly still a pressing topic. I just have a few questions for the two of you and then it's kind of open conversation. I'm sure you have a lot of thoughts on this topic. You ready to hop right into it?


Alex Rippberger – Absolutely! 


Elsie -  Alright! Well, I will start with kind of what I was saying earlier. Why are we still talking about this? A lot of organizations were somewhat thrust into remote and then hybrid work by the pandemic which started two years ago and yet this is still a really pressing topic. Why are people still talking about it? Why is it still so timely and Alex Rippberger start with you. 


Alex Rippberger - That's a great question Elsie. I think the real thing about Hybrid work is that people are kind of coming up with the wrong angle, right? I think, if you think like pandemic and why we started all of this, it wasn't a process-oriented approach. It wasn't, how do I do this in the best way possible for my employees and my organization? It was really how I do this in 48 hours, right? There is no road map. There is no plan. I think companies are coming back and starting to say, do we do this right? I mean, what is it about hybrid that's difficult? What is it that we like, what's interesting? What's doing best employee experience? And I think they're having to ask themselves these questions and I think they're turning to experts and saying what do you think we should do? 

Alex Erickson - I think too it's a little bit of like a reactionary thing. Because of the pandemic we had to be reactionary, there was no planning process that we could do. So now we're looking at how do we improve what we now are doing. So, people that are going back in the office or people that are staying remote now, how do we optimize that? 


Elsie - I agree. I think it's a lot to do with optimization because in some ways the adoption of hybrid practices has been a blessing for the world of work. It's moved us forward in a lot of ways. It's offered more opportunities for accessibility. People are weaving work into their lives more, but it is new, and people are still getting acquainted with it. We have a very long track record with working in the office 100% of the time and we've built a lot of customs and processes around it and I think it would be ridiculous if just in two years we had automatically adapted to these new opportunities in front of us. So, it makes sense to me that we're seeing so much work and interest from our clients around this. 

Alex Rippberger – One thing I think about is, were we doing the office experience well? I mean, I think all of us think, hey, I've been in the office my whole life. I went in for 10,15, 20, 30, 40 years and you say of course I was doing it well. And I'm reminded every day I go back in the office and we have a full day, kind of like, all my meetings are here, people I know are here, so I didn't get a lot done on some days when I was in the office and I actually don't think people remember that I used to come in another position, I come at 7:30 AM so I had an hour and a half window where I did all my real work before all the work that I wanted to do the rest of the day, got interrupted every five minutes. So you know, when you say why are you talking about hybrid, I'm like I'm not sure we were ever good at working in the office. And now we have the complications of doing this remotely and doing hybrid. And I think we got to start from the beginning and start saying why are we doing this best in the office, what's best remote and what's best doing it split between the two, right? 


Alex Erickson - I think that brings up a good point that Alex says, when we are having people that want to go hybrid and utilize office time to the maximum. Because at home I have no commute, I have nowhere to go, I'm here in the office all day. If I want to walk away for five seconds to go grab food I'm still back in the office in five seconds. So how do we optimize our office time and I think that's gonna be a really big discovery phase for projects that are wanting to optimize hybrid is what are we doing in the office, why are we making the office open for people, how do we get people to want to be in the office on certain days? Several things I think are going to be really collaborative on projects like that. 


Elsie – Right. It's like you said Alex, I think there's an optimized type of work for each space and just like we ask ourselves what technologies do I use, for what purpose and in what way, with what people? You need to apply the same logic to the spaces that you're working in. 


Alex Erickson - That's very true. I enjoy having our in-person meetings. I think those are enjoyable. I like watching people in person and being able to be collaborative in that space, get up and do the whiteboard, but how do we integrate those people that aren't in the office and making sure that everyone has the same accessibility to the same meetings. 

Valorem Reply specializes in not just finding the right technology for your unique needs and environment, but also integrating the people and process change needed to ensure success and maximum return on digital investments. If you are considering new solutions or processes for your frontline staff and want to learn more about what a change management journey might look like for you, email to schedule a consultation with one of our change management experts.