CHRO Florien de Nijs: "Strike the right balance in a flexible work environment"
07 April 2022 - Hybrid working is more popular than ever. This mix of working from home and collaborating with colleagues in the office is very valuable. Exact has also embraced hybrid working, but how do you implement this new way of working in your organisation? What exactly does it offer you? And how can you make your hybrid working week a success? Chief HR Officer Florien de Nijs shares some tips and tricks.
Let's first take a look at the definition of hybrid working. According to Florien, hybrid working enables you to work efficiently. "A hybrid work environment allows you to adapt your work location to the type of work you are doing at the time”, says Florien. “There is a healthy balance between working from home and collaborating with colleagues to stay socially connected and learn from each other. You may be able to focus best early in the morning in a quiet place. For some, this may be their home and for others, the office. A brainstorming session with colleagues works well in person, but in person doesn't always mean inside an office meeting room. You can go outside to have your brainstorming session on a refreshing walk in the early afternoon to avoid that after-lunch drowsiness, for instance."
Hybrid working has more advantages. Not having to travel every day saves time and benefits the environment because it reduces your CO2 emissions. Hybrid working also benefits your work-life balance by giving you more control over how you organise your schedule. "In a hybrid working set-up, it's hugely important to focus on output rather than the process", Florien de Nijs continues. "Of course, we need to achieve our results, but there's more than one way to skin a cat. And I'm convinced that our employees achieve faster and better results if they are happy with their situation."
Not a-one-size-fits-all solution
It is important to realise that hybrid working doesn't mean a uniform approach. Different roles and activities require different approaches. Some activities simply can't be done remotely. Similarly, the people doing the work are all different as well. Some are more productive in the morning, while others are full of energy in the afternoon. Taking a short break outside is great for everyone, though. Florien de Nijs: "So, be aware that hybrid working is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Successful hybrid working starts by offering the right facilities. As an employer, you mustn't be afraid to let go and allow people to make choices of their own. In my experience, that really inspires a lot of confidence."
Five benefits of hybrid working
- Healthier work-life balance
- Fewer commutes and CO2 emissions
- Greater productivity
- More confidence
- Better (working) relationships
Letting go can only be successful if you respect each other and each other's differences. The basic principle here is that the team's interests always supersede the individual's interests. Discuss both the team's interests and your own wishes with each other before you implement hybrid working. For example, make agreements about moments when you see each other physically. This is important because of the social aspect, but it also enables you to keep learning from each other. Also make agreements about the wishes you have regarding working from home. For example, Florien likes to start the day with her children and sometimes starts a little later at home. In the evening she works a little longer: "When my children are in bed, I like to go through my emails and prepare for the next day. But I don't expect any colleagues to respond to my emails in the evening. I often use the 'send later' option when sending an email." Discuss your wishes with each other on a regular basis, as situations may change. Hybrid working is a continuous process.
The office as a social hub
Florien expects offices will become more and more like social hubs, where teams meet, for example, two or three days a week to tackle joint assignments and strengthen the social component. "To us, hybrid working certainly isn't about coming into the office to put your earbuds in and attend Teams meetings in a cubicle somewhere. That's something we need to avoid, because we don't want online working to overshoot its mark. As far as I'm concerned, hybrid working is about connecting with colleagues both physically and online, but also privately with the people around you. All in all, it creates more balance."