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Forging a Hybrid Workplace Career

A hybrid workplace career through the eyes of Dilbert. Credit Scott Adams

Starting a Hybrid Workplace Career 

Hybrid workplace career – a concept that evokes excitement in some and dread in others! The circumstances around the pandemic led to a sea change in the definition of a workplace and working conditions. 

Millions of individuals began their careers, or joined new organizations, during the height of the pandemic and remote working. For some, remote working provides opportunities to explore other interesting activities such as content creation and learning new skills, or physical fitness. For others, remote working has been more challenging. The line between home and work is less defined leading in some cases to work burnout or lost opportunities for spontaneous mentoring or collaborating. 

Post-pandemic we are experiencing a movement firmly towards hybrid environments where employee flexibility and business needs converge. So, how does the millennial generation forge a career path that offers them similar value and benefits as those experienced by Gen X or Gen Y?

Recognizing our strengths and weaknesses

Research shows that the people and environment equation is a key factor in our ability to both perform and thrive in a work setting. What does this mean? It means quite simply that there is no one-size fits all solution that will bring the best out of all employees. 

Individuals who need structure, are resistant to change, or perhaps struggle with the hierarchical structure of in-person meetings need to learn new ways of managing themselves. This is particularly important within their least preferred workplace types (whether in-person, remote, or hybrid). Conversely, leaders need to be savvier in recognizing what their team members need. Then identify areas that can be adapted to get the best out of each individual. 

We are all capable of understanding our unique personalities, more specifically our natural talents and our blind spots, to seize control of our career paths. Self-awareness is an important ingredient to know our starting point! 

So, which skills are the most helpful to successfully manoeuver any workplace environment?

The trifecta mindset

Three specific skills allow us to thrive in any workplace setting:

  1. Openness to new things
  2. A thirst for learning
  3. Communication

Openness is about taking on opportunities that push us to exceed our previous capability boundaries. It is about asking ourselves questions about what we assume, what we believe, and things we hold as “irrefutable fact”. In our new world of work, it means being open to exploring new ways of working. Perhaps re-evaluating our behaviours in these new contexts, and pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone. 

A thirst for learning is about adopting a curious mindset. A desire to learn, push our potential to higher levels, and take control of our own career and development plans. In the context of the work environment, it could mean self-paced or self-directed learning. Or perhaps finding new ways to self-reliantly problem solve. 

Communication includes a wide range of techniques and considerations. One communication skill that is particularly helpful in our context is empathy. Empathy is the ability to recognize emotions in other people and to understand their perspective on a situation. With it, we can influence a person’s mood, or frame of mind, or simply support them through something. In our context, empathy helps us navigate office politics, get the best out of others (online or in person), and resolve conflict.

Final thoughts on a hybrid workplace career

We can all thrive and grow in any work environment and at any juncture of our careers. We simply need to be willing to leverage our natural strengths and build on our weaknesses. By adopting an optimal mindset of being open, curious, and empathetic we lay the foundation to optimize our performance to suit any of the three workplace types. 

Your turn

Sign in to the Community Member Area or comment below to share your advice with others on how you take control of your career in any of the three workplace types.  

Give it a try!

Cartoon credit: Scott Adams, Dilbert

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