Written by Melissa Summer, at The Myers-Briggs Company. 4 min read
According to LinkedIn, in 2020 only 1 in 67 jobs was offering hybrid or remote options.
By the end of 2022, 1 in 7 job openings are being offering with hybrid or remote working options.
That’s a big change in how organizations are operating and how (and where) jobs are being performed.
But how have workplace relationships and social connected changed post-pandemic?
The decline of social capital
“Humans are built to mentally, physically and emotionally synchronize with each other through face-to-face interaction,” says Andy Sin, Sr. Consultant at The Myers-Briggs Company. “This [synchronization] doesn’t occur to the same extent when people are working remotely. As practitioners, we need to think about how this affects our trainings and workshops.”
Even as offices reopen, the Pew Research Center found that most teleworkers say they’re working from home by choice now, not because of necessity. There’s also an increase in the number of people who’ve relocated away from their offices in the last two years.
And while not working in the office full-time may be the preference of most employees, most people managers and those in upper-level management don’t see it the same way. While many managers also enjoy working from home, most haven’t been trained on the best way to manage remote employees. Going into the pandemic, most people managers assumed that after the risk of a spreading virus had subsided, everything would go back to the way it was. Which means they could go back to leading the way they’ve always lead, and the way they know how to manage most effectively: in-person, and face-to-face.
The case for face-to-face development
Despite all of the above, you likely already know from your training experience how much more valuable in-person training sessions are compared to remote sessions. And when your training sessions go better, learnings become more sticky, individuals and teams perform better, and ultimately your clients are happier with the result.
However, hybrid or remote training sessions are still more valuable than no development at all. And hybrid and remote training sessions can still be successful – it just takes a little more preparation and consideration of the restrictions, needs and attention spans of participants.
But part of getting people together in the office is to have that community interaction and human synchronization that we all crave at work and that boosts morale and benefits company cultures.
“We’re often faced with the question: how do I motivate people to come back to the office to strengthen working relationships? The answer is that they already have that motivation. Microsoft’s research found that over 70% of workers are motivated to commune if their direct team is present,” says Andy.
Just being in the office with other members of your organization isn’t as helpful to building that team trust as having direct members of the team all in the office at the same time.
“Social networking is key to engagement in the experiences we offer,” Sin reminds us.