I'm the founder of FutureWork IQ where I spend my time assisting businesses to design digital workplaces or “offices in the cloud.” These environments enable companies to allow flexible and remote working for their teams. I also teach the digital literacy, fluency, communication and collaboration skills needed to work in these modern technology-rich workplaces.

The reason?

“When too many workers are remote, you run into issues that people that are in the office have face time, they have opportunities, they’re interacting with employees a little bit differently than the employees that are working remotely.” —Sean Woodroffe, Chief People Officer TIAA

That sums it up. You end up with a “two-tier workplace” primarily driven by two communication apps. The “in-office, in-person, tap-on-your-shoulder” communication app and the communication app that remote workers use (Slack, Teams etc.)

Communication that takes place digitally is inclusive and visible to all, communication that takes place in the office is not and only includes those present at the time.

Here is what those attempting hybrid models need to understand:

“In a lot of ways it’s going to be more disruptive than when we went all remote.”— Brian Kropp, VP Research, Gartner.

Truth is, as counter intuitive as it may seem, it is easier to manage an all-remote team than it is to manage a hybrid team.

Only those organizations that do the work to learn what the long established remote work best practices are and assimilate these will be able to successfully achieve physical office escape velocity.