A tricky synthesis: how can public sector management master the hybrid work model?

By on 03/08/2022 | Updated on 03/08/2022
A pair of train tracks merging

To successfully adapt to the new reality of a permanently distributed workforce, managers are tasked with developing sensitive and sustainable practices. During a Global Government Forum webinar, public and private sector management experts in three countries shared what they learned during the pandemic, and how it shaped their approach to nurturing more engaged and resilient employees

What started as a temporary public health measure has since become a permanent feature of modern work, and though full of advantages, remote work also comes with challenges – ‘Zoom fatigue’ being one. As civil services settle into the hybrid work model, managers must negotiate not only the practical hurdles that come with a distributed workforce, but the social ones too.

In the webinar ‘From ‘always on’ to Zoom fatigue: managing staff communications in a hybrid organisation’, three experts – Gertrud Ingestad, director general of human resources and security at the European Commission; Emmanuel Kgomo, chief director in South Africa’s Department of Public Service and Administration; and Simon O’Kane, head of international at Asana, the project management software specialist – came together to discuss how the ‘new normal’ changes the parameters of performance management, staff engagement, training and teambuilding.

The conversation included segments on:

The risk of mental distress, burnout, and imposter syndrome among employees, staff isolation and the possibility of new silos emerging as a result. Click on the video below to watch this discussion.

The potential for organisations to use offices differently in order to create social opportunities and spaces in which staff can more easily collaborate and innovate.

Physical challenges posed by hybrid working arrangements, such as those experienced in South Africa where lack of connectivity affects those working from home.

Key lessons learned in the shift to hybrid work so far, such as the importance of transparency, trust and constant communication to keep staff engaged and motivated.

The need for managers to pick up new skills to ensure effective performance management and foster inclusivity.

The European Commission’s launch of a new HR strategy that requires everyone to work a minimum of two days per week in the office, and one day at home. Under this arrangement, local managers determine how the remaining time can be spent. The strategy also includes the ‘right to disconnect’, whereby staff have no obligation to answer work related emails outside of work hours.

Asana’s annual Anatomy of Work Index, which showed that people want to feel a close connection to their department’s mission, something which the hybrid model frustrates, especially for new starters and younger colleagues. 

To learn all this and more, you can watch the 75-minute webinar via our dedicated event page. The webinar – hosted by Global Government Forum with the support of knowledge partner Asana – was held on 12 July 2022.

About Jack Aldane

Jack is a British journalist, cartoonist and podcaster. He graduated from Heythrop College London in 2009 with a BA in philosophy, before living and working in China for three years as a freelance reporter. After training in financial journalism at City University from 2013 to 2014, Jack worked at Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters before moving into editing magazines on global trade and development finance. Shortly after editing opinion writing for UnHerd, he joined the independent think tank ResPublica, where he led a media campaign to change the health and safety requirements around asbestos in UK public buildings. As host and producer of The Booking Club podcast – a conversation series featuring prominent authors and commentators at their favourite restaurants – Jack continues to engage today’s most distinguished thinkers on the biggest problems pertaining to ideology and power in the 21st century. He joined Global Government Forum as its Senior Staff Writer and Community Co-ordinator in 2021.

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