There is a lot of talk about blended or hybrid working right now. Of course, hybrid working has always existed but its popularity has been accelerated by the pandemic and subsequent remote working experiment.
I recognise it depends entirely on the sector or industry you work in. For example, while I thoroughly enjoyed watching Staged on television during lockdown, I know that performers of every variety are desperate to ply their trade in person once again.
It is a complicated issue and one that also depends on whether you are employed or self-employed. If you are the former, this decision may be made for you. If you are the latter, you have an interesting choice to make. However, there are many benefits to working from home including better work–life balance, higher levels of motivation and more time for family and friends.
As a Communications Trainer, I love working with people and ideally face to face. Prior to March last year, all our delivery was done this way. But, like so many others during the past year, I have adapted all our personal development training to online using a variety of video platforms.
Our mantra is that communication is about making an emotional connection and the past year has taught me that I am still able to achieve this. Working virtually does lack the impact of face to face, but it is a good enough substitute and a medium that is here to stay. I have certainly appreciated this way of working, plus it has opened new (international) opportunities that were not part of our remit previously.
Working online is different and it certainly has challenges but most importantly, our clients have enjoyed and benefitted from it in a variety of ways. I too have enjoyed aspects of working from home in ways I hadn’t previously considered such as IT upskilling and saving time on commuting and costs.
So where will I work from moving forward? I have embraced hybrid working as my new normal. I still relish delivering in person and will continue to do so, as soon as it is deemed safe. Certainly, for first meetings with a new potential client, I would still want to meet in person. But for subsequent meetings and/or a client wishes to undertake training remotely, I am more than happy to continue to work this way.