By Wilhelm Crous, 26 August 2021

The job market is getting tougher and tougher, with research indicating a post-pandemic continuation of the hybrid workplace and the best talent able to offer their skills on a global scale without even leaving their homes. In light of this, companies are trying new tactics to retain and attract talent, such as Goldman Sach, who recently announced a salary increase of 30% for new hires. However, as per the research conducted locally and internationally, is quite clear that in order to retain and attract great talent in today’s market, a hybrid work option simply must be offered.

Survey results from the Harvard Business Review has attributed the resilience of the hybrid workplace largely to employee preference- with almost 50% of employees preferring to work 2.5 days at home on average1. South Africa has displayed a similar trend- with BCG conducting a study that showed 53% of South Africans prefer work that allows for an occasional work-from-home option and 64% preferring to work entirely remotely.

However, what is more, intriguing is the extent of these preferences. Harvard’s survey revealed that more than 40% of the employees who preferred the hybrid option preferred it to the extent that they would either quit immediately or begin a job search if they are ordered to return to the office full time. It is entirely possible that a similar pattern could emerge in South Africa.
In anticipation of Knowledge Resources’ upcoming conference, Management and Design of the Hybrid Workplace’ (21 – 22 September)– I have compiled some of the research and guidelines surrounding the conceptualization of such a workplace.

Firstly, research conducted by Bersin has indicated several key principles to keep in mind2:

  1. Go big picture (not tactical) first.
    It is important to consider where hybrid work fits into your mission, values, and goals?
  2. Create a measurement system.
    What measurements and benchmarks make sense when assessing progress during the transition?
  3. Operate in a cross-functional team.
    Are you involving representatives from across the organisation in hybrid work decisions and planning?
  4. Co-design with employees.
    Are you including employees in the design and implementation process?
  5. Consider the entire employee experience.
    Are you assessing the impact of hybrid work on every aspect of an employee’s day, from the technology used on the job, to the benefits offered, to how people continue to learn and grow?
  6. Iterate and continuously improve.
    Are you prepared to embrace experimentation – and even some setbacks – during the transition?

Furthermore, decisions should be made around:

  • Who should be brought back together in a weekly cadence of in-person and virtual interactions?
  • What work should be prioritised (in the now scarcer in-person time)?
  • How do leaders manage the transition to a hybrid world with the least resistance?
  • How much flexibility do employees want and need?
  • Who should make the decision about who does and doesn’t get to work remotely?
  • How do you keep a strong culture?
  • How do you sustain productivity?
  • What type of jobs are better suited to be more remotely?
  • What are the optimal performance management models?
  • How do you change your leadership style in the hybrid work environment?

These guidelines and many other insightful strategies will be discussed at our Management and Design of the Hybrid Workplace by local and international speakers at the top of their field. We sincerely hope to see you there!

Barrero, J. M., Bloom, N., & Davis, S. J. (2021, August 24). Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from
Bersin, J. (2021). Your hybrid work checklist, what Tinder can teach HR, and big banks battle for talent. Josh Bersin Academy.