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The 6 biggest lessons about work from 2021


We’re far from perfecting hybrid

In 2021, we were supposed to kick off hybrid working in full force.

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Employees and employers alike expected to gather in-person again in some form, and hit a new stride. Many companies even put money into redesigning their offices, in many cases eliminating banks of desks, and adding more collaborative spaces and isolation booths to cater to worker requests, now that the purpose of the office has changed.

Except we’re not yet in a steady hybrid pattern. The return-to-office has been patchy; certain businesses have brought workers back part time, but these policies vary widely among countries, industries and employers, and haven’t been consistent due to the continually fluctuating nature of the pandemic.

This poses challenges. First, many employees are still left in limbo without having a sense of how a hybrid set-up will – or won’t ­– work for them. It’s a kind of uncertainty that’s weighed down workers, both emotionally and logistically, for nearly two years. Additionally, without hybrid in action, employers lack data they need to understand what’s both successful and unsuccessful about their approaches.

As much as we continue to speculate about what will and won’t work for hybrid, we’re doing exactly that: speculating. Neither workers nor businesses have the real-life experience we need yet, which means the hybrid set-up we’re touting as the future of the workplace is very much a work-in-progress.

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