Hybrid Heebie Jeebies really? Like all buzzwords, WFH and Hybrid Work are killing me. I never cease to be amazed at how, once an idea is accepted by the mainstream of our society, it become a meaningless cliché in a heartbeat.
Already government ministers are urging people to return to ‘ work’ as if we all goofed off the entire pandemic. Of course, they mean back to the office, where we can be watched, managed, controlled, and coerced.
And yet, on the other side of the fence sit big companies with a beady eye on the bottom line who has realised they can slash their overheads by reducing the physical office footprint if only people can be convinced to KEEP working from home.
Somewhere between the urges to control every working second of our lives and to make yet more profit lies the evil construct that has been dubbed ‘ Hybrid work.’
It’s a bit like the huge IPCC report released at the start of August: nothing short of a transformation of society is required to sort out how and where we work.
The Command-and-Control mindset of the industrial revolution remains deeply imbedded in the corporate psyche. The idea that people can decide where and how to work and then actually do that work well remains heresy it appears. Sure, we can make more profit with less offices, but we don’t KNOW what they do all day!
The irony of course is that, thanks to digital technology and management tools, what can also now go is a massive level of bureaucracy … of middle management.
Now imagine how much THAT would save big business?
But none of these solutions are the correct answer. Just like the report in the IPCC, the issues run deeper, and the solutions need to reach further.
Now is the time for some real creative thinking around work. Now is the time to form questions to massive assumptions of the capitalist market: demand and supply. Now is the time to dismantle the FOMO model of brands, branding and over consumption.
The pandemic came from our food supply. Just like SARS, Swine flu and Mad Cow disease. What we eat, how we obtain it, how we process, package, market and sell it all needs to be re-thought as part of how we address not only where and how we work, but how that means we live.
You can take it for granted that the path of least resistance will be followed, and that Hybrid working will become the way of the future … and that what will happen next is, in search of even greater profits, is the slashing of salaries and benefits because, oh, well you don’t travel as much, you don’t eat away from home as much etc etc … In short, you have to spend less in order to do your work so they will want to pay you less, you can bet on it.
All of which is why right now, we need to start thinking differently. Massive change always starts by a few people acting differently and slowly spreading the word until a tipping point is reached. Just as WFH and hybrid work have passed into everyday parlance, so too can other, bigger changes. But it is up to us.
It’s time to own how we really want to see the world run, and to act accordingly… including how we vote and how we hold our politicians accountable.
Hybrid Heebie Jeebies really? The time to act is now.