Handling the Hybrid Remote Reality Effectively

Almost a year into COVID-19, remote work has become our new reality. We recently held an online event with Israeli R&D leaders in order to better understand how different development organizations are dealing with this new situation.


Hybrid Remote

In the 3rd volume of the tech radar published in early 2019 we marked remote work as a trend, seeing more and more development organizations adopting this methodology. Today, we’re seeing a new reality of hybrid remote. This term, coined by Gitlab, describes a set of work methodologies which combine office work and remote work. This diversity forces us to focus more on results and KPI’s and less on punching the clock.

Onboarding of new employees is still a big challenge, and there is still a state of mind that creativity and brainstorming belong to the on-life versus online world. There is also an open question regarding the sustainability of all of this — what will happen in “the day after” COVID-19.

Product Roadmap vs. Personal Roadmap

In most organizations I’ve spoken with, it appears that working from home has a positive effect on the product roadmap. Productivity and efficiency are rising and sometimes even doubled, compared to pre-COVID-19.

The rapid progress in the product’s roadmap has a number of possible explanations, and we see it affecting different people in different ways. For some employees, working from home raises their sense of independence and initiation. Others might feel that working remotely harms their basic needs and raises their survival instincts. All in all, the worry about health issues has raised the anxiety factor for most of us, and has a negative effect on our feelings about work.

Employee Reality — Resilience & Agency

It is becoming more clear that working remotely is not for everyone. There are employees who thrive in synchronous work and are motivated by social interaction.

The reality is that most of the routine of working from home is trying to imitate the office routine. One good example of that are the stand up meetings and many other Zoom calls throughout the day that can lead to fatigue at the end of the day.

Working from home makes it hard to separate between working hours and our personal lives. Most employees stay connected to the organization systems all day long: Email, Slack, Jira and so on.

At this point, we need to start taking a look at the resilience of our employees, their backbone, which gives them flexibility and the ability to quickly recover on the one hand, and their mental resilience on the other.

The other thing we are looking at is our employee’s Agency, meaning their ability to work towards achieving their goals in the new reality . In other words, the perception that their life circumstances and achievements depend on their desires, decisions and actions.

When we examine these terms together, we can understand that agency empowers resilience. It helps the employee develop their backbone, solidify their identity and purpose, and move forward to independently develop their autonomy.

Promoting Agency

R&D leaders need to be asking themselves how they can promote agency in their teams. In order to do that we’ve developed the personal roadmap tool. The personal roadmap is a process that every employee at Tikal takes part in. The personal roadmap The idea is that while the companies we work for have product roadmaps, at Tikal we have personal roadmaps, which keep us professionally relevant, and encourages us to invest time in learning new things, as a routine. A part of the personal roadmap is also dedicated to the enhancement of soft-skills such as leadership, solving conflicts and so on. The roadmap gives employees a sense of purpose and a stronger feeling of connection to the organization.
In my next article I will elaborate on the roadmap process and provide an example form which you can use in your company or organization.

Handling the Hybrid Remote Reality Effectively was originally published in Everything Full Stack on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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