Personal Development

Leadership and Management Development

I have been lucky enough to flex my working pattern this summer which allowed me to sweep my family off to spend a month in Spain.

Now, I’m not going to harp on about the wonderful benefits of sitting on the balcony working away with a can of Amstel and a gentle breeze, or, finishing a call and plunging into the pool not more than 10 seconds after it ends because I’m sure that would be tedious to you as a reader.

Hybrid pool

We know it’s a potentially a wonderful way to work and live, but rather than bedazzle you with the benefits being a hybrid worker brings, I wanted to share more about the challenges that are surfacing around hybrid working now that we’ve been doing it for a while.

First, let’s start with some background.

Hybrid and remote working aren’t new. Geographically dispersed teams have been around for forty or so years, we just called them project teams. What does make things different this time is the mass exodus of office workers that took place when the pandemic kicked in, making it one of the largest global movements in our working history.

Although it’s something we all thought would pass, hybrid working is here to stay and is becoming a standard employee need, and if organisations aren’t offering it, they might miss out on attracting needed talent.

Let's take a look at some stats

  1. Google reports a 30,900% increase in the search term ‘hybrid working’ between 2020 and 2022 [1]

  2. 58% said that home will be their usual place of work [2]

  3. 72% of workers would forgo a 10% pay rise in favour of not returning to the office full time [2]

  4. The four-day week pilot begins with 70 companies and 3300 employees [3]

[1] Google search data. [2] ONS - Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) May 2022. [3] 4-day


of workers plan on permanent hybrid working [2]

Hybrid working has been talked about enough for us all to understand the benefits to both employer and employee, and we’ve all enjoyed leaving our slippers on, being in for the Amazon delivery driver and getting ahead of the washing before the kids get home from school, or taking an extended period abroad with the family (ahem).

Although an immediately life enhancing, cost effective and productive way of working when done well, research is starting to pull out some observations on the issues hybrid working can create.

We might not notice these issues in the moment but they’re taking hold and before we know it, what we thought wouldn’t be an issue has taken hold and someone’s kicking back with the good old ‘I told you so’ smug looking face.

Before we get into these surfacing issues, I’d like to credit two noteworthy people who are pioneering the field of research in hybrid and remote working.

Mark Mortensen.

Mortensen teaches the Organisational Behaviour Core Course in the INSEAD MBA programme. He directs the Global Leadership Programme for DNV GL and teaches modules on Team Dynamics and Virtual Teams; Power, Networks, and Influence; and Organisational Change.

Martine Haas.

Ph.D. in Organizational Behaviour from Harvard University, an M.A. in Sociology from Harvard University, an M.A. in International Relations from Yale University, and a B.A. in Human Sciences from Oxford University. 

Research by Mortenson and Haas has research has circled around areas such as being a great hybrid worker, leading hybrid teams and now the surfacing issues employees and organisations face if they don’t address some of the contributing factors.

After exploring various articles and research published by Mortensen and Haas, we’ve summarised some of the key findings below:

Disconnection from colleagues

Although Teams, Zoom, Google and Skype are brilliant tools to keep us connected, they don’t create the type of connection we as human beings truly need. When on a virtual call we only see a 2D version of our colleagues with just a view from their shoulders up. We’re missing vital information and leaving so much to assumption. Human communication happens on many levels and deep down there’s a simple exchange of chemicals that forges a bond. Not being in the physical presence of a colleague limits this and can leave us feeling lonely, disconnected and not fully committed to our relationships at work.

Less collaboration

When working as part of a hybrid team, collaboration on projects can flourish through organised events using Slack, Teams and Zoom but it needs to be planned and everyone needs to be ‘in the room’.

The type of collaboration referred to here is organic. It’s when you notice a colleague struggling and pitch in, or when you’re making a cup of tea in the kitchen and having an impromptu conversation about a challenge you’ve faced. It’s the moments that happen between the formal collaboration and mostly where the insight really lands.

Greater burn-out

Survey after survey claim that remote and hybrid workers are anything up to 20% more productive when executing tasks, objectives and goals. But the reality is that this is being achieved by remote workers longer working hours. You know the story… there in the corner of the room is the laptop you’ve been working from all day and the temptation of just checking that project, or whether that email has been replied to is overwhelming.

It's also more subtle than that. Turning a home into a work environment muddies the waters and it’s becoming increasingly hard to separate the two and switch off, so we end up mentally staying in work mode way past when we should.

Overworking can be a major contributing factor to employee burn-out, but as we study hybrid working there’s more at play. One study by Mckinsey and Company reported a whopping 49% of hybrid workers feeling ‘somewhat’ to ‘very highly’ burned-out, with the two major causes being work-related anxiety and ambiguity. Simply put, out-of-office workers are not being kept in the loop, and their expectations are not being sufficiently managed by leaders.

Less emotional buy-in to the business

Due to the 2D nature of connection described earlier, employees are less emotionally engaged to colleagues and the business in general. Working from home gives employees more autonomy, which is beneficial to productivity. However, remote workers aren’t experiencing the day to day, physical working environment, from post work drinks or cake on a colleague’s birthday, to seeing the business impact of their efforts. Even the smallest visual display can help toward creating a level of connection, preventing remote or hybrid workers from falling into the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ philosophy.


Equity and equality in the workplace have taken centre stage, but favouritism can still occur unintentionally even if we’re hyper aware of not giving one employee more time, resource or opportunities than another.

Much like Silo working, favouritism can happen unconsciously. If you have a group of workers in the office and some of the team working remotely, it’s natural that those in the office will make each other tea, talk more freely about homelife and workplace projects, or pop out for a walk together to stretch their legs. This time spent together builds deeper relationships, and information and opportunities can be shared more easily, leaving remote workers out and a sense of favouritism to those who rub shoulders.

More distrust

It’s well documented that trust and psychological safety are the cornerstones of team and organisational performance. You may be aware of the traditional economic formula:

Strategy x Execution = Results

In his publication ‘The Speed of Trust’ Dr Stephen Covey describes Trust as the missing element that multiplies performance, so Covey argues the real formula ought to be:

(Strategy x Execution) Trust = Results

Clarity, communication, managed expectations and empathy are key enablers to keeping remote and hybrid workers motivated and engaged. Unfortunately, with a management population who haven’t been given the skills and tools to lead a combination of in-office, hybrid and remote teams, distrust can appear through ambiguity, assumptions and teams not making the time or being given the space to build relationships.

Higher employee turnover

Since the pandemic the world has become a little smaller. With the rise of remote working employees realised that their employment arena wasn’t locked by location, and now you can live and work at the opposites end of a country, or even the world. This opened up the opportunity for more flexible working and the potential for a higher income. Coupled with the lack of emotional buy-in mentioned above, employees are able to play the job market to their benefit, causing higher turnover for those organisations who haven’t evolved and improved the benefits to their employees.

Now, we’re not against remote and hybrid working – trust me, I’ve reaped the rewards this summer but to maintain productivity, people's well-being and to retain talent, we need to put strategies in place to minimize the impact we’re starting to see emerge.

Whether you’re running a workplace of in-office staff, remote teams or a hybrid blend, we can help your people come together.

If you would like to have a casual conversation with one of our team about the challenges you face, please get in touch - we're always keen to see how we can help

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James Hampton (He/Him)

James Hampton (He/Him)



Our areas of specialism.


  • Self-awareness

  • Resilience

  • Personal Development

  • Change

  • Decision making

  • Growth mindset

Team development.

  • Hybrid team working

  • Communication

  • Meetings

  • Feedback

  • Collaboration

  • Trust

Leadership development.

  • Leadership styles

  • Psychological safety

  • Leading change

  • Mission, vision, values

  • Culture

  • Mentoring