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“Hybrid is a cop out.”

I have this opinion that something that is purposely and squarely in the middle is often a compromise, and therefore is compromised.

A compromise isn’t always a good thing.

I feel that way about hybrid cars, for example; it’s completely pointless to drive around with a petrol engine AND an electric motor and battery, because that just makes your vehicle much heavier which obviously affects how much energy (i.e. fuel or charge) is required to get the vehicle going.

Not to mention that you need materials to build an internal combustion engine AND electric motor and battery, so don’t lecture me about how eco-friendly your hybrid is. It weighs over 2 tonnes and carries 2 propulsion system, so it’s not. I’m still not convinced of electric vehicles’ eco-warrior credentials (in certain contexts), so yeah, it follows that I’m skeptical about hybrid cars. End of.

Let’s get to the point of just how pointless hybrid working is.

The buzzword at the moment (unless you count AI and all its fawning disciples) is ‘hybrid working‘.

And hybrid working is an absolutely terrible idea, because it doesn’t combine the best of working in the office with the best of working remotely.

It combines the worst aspects of these two.

If this were only my opinion, I’d shut up and say no more. But when it’s heavyweight veterans and proponents of remote working (and who have founded and run vastly successful businesses entirely remotely), then, I can’t bite my tongue.

All that hybrid working arrangements does is let micromanaging nincompoop managers extend their fiefdoms, while forcing employees to endure soul-crushing, time-wasteful, boring commuting a few times a week instead of every day, only so they can turn up to an office that’s half empty and do video calls from there.

Hybrid working is a cowardly cop out that benefits no one.

Believe me, even as huge a believer as I am in remote working; if it’s not for you, just don’t go for it – stay completely ‘in office’, and it will serve you better than a half-baked, half-cocked ‘solution’ like hybrid working.

Or perhaps hybrid is the wrong word to use here, and flexible might be more appropriate.

Flexible as in you can work from home, or a co-working space, or your favourite coffee shop, or the beach, or the office, as often or as infrequently as you want, with no boundaries and no rules. For everyone in the organisation.

Anything short of that is a compromised cop out that even the micromanaging nincompoop managers don’t stand to benefit at all from.

Fight me in the comments.

Mark Debono

Author Mark Debono

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Rhi says:

    I was getting a bit irate but then got to the end and I totally agree. Flexible is the key. I have people in my team who want the option to work in an office sometimes. And that’s allowed. People are allowed to prefer the office, or want the choice. So I agree, then the term is more “flexible”. Being forced in X days per week is, as you say, a shitty compromise where no one actually wins. But it’s nice to have various options for those people who want it so that each day they can make the choice based on what THEY need to work the best.

  • Daniel says:

    “only so they can turn up to an office that’s half empty and do video calls from there”

    I think this is one of the main problems with hybrid – the only benefit I see to it is that (in my experience – within a large corporate) engagement is much higher face-to-face, which leads to better / faster problem solving. I have had many situations where an issue could not be solved through numerous calls but then was solved in a 30 minute f2f discussion. I think it’s a strong benefit to have, humans are social animals and physical contact is important.

    I would rather have only 1 day a week (2 weeks?) where all the office came in to leverage this stronger engagement, then people being forced to randomly come into the office 2-3 days a week as that would lead to the situation you’ve described above, but on some frequency it should happen..

    • Mark Debono says:

      people being forced to randomly come into the office 2-3 days a week

      That’s exactly my point Dan, that hybrid as described is precisely that, with no further thought or planning. Much better to have it planned out so that you use the advantages of being there face to face, as you said.

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