Heard at HR Tech Virtual: ‘Just accept that hybrid work is good’

More than 300 attendees joined the live question-and-answer session at HR Tech Virtual with opening keynoter Josh Bersin on Tuesday to hear his real-time responses to questions on employee listening, people analytics and more.

He wrapped up the short session with a response to a common question: What’s the future of work in regard to remote and hybrid workplaces?

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The response was simple: “We’re not going to go back to the way life was before the pandemic,” he said. “The world never goes backward. It always goes forwards.”

Related: Bersin’s 10 newer truths of the HR tech market

Still, he says, yes, employees will return to offices, attend in-person meetings, gather in conference rooms and sit at desks. But because employees and employers now are comfortable with remote work and the technology makes it easy, employees expect to make their own decisions about when they’re taking the time to come into the office.

“They don’t want to come into the office just to be there and get on the same video call they could have at home, and they just wasted two hours commuting,” he said.

That means HR policies simply need to be more flexible, and HR tech can help by providing workspace management systems that tell employees what office or desk they should use, what conference rooms are available and other details. ServiceNow and other vendors are providing these systems now.

If a CEO wants everyone in the office, Bersin doesn’t recommend it: “Good luck with that: You’re going to lose a lot of people. But you could get away with it if that’s the way you want to run your company.”

However, the risk simply isn’t necessary, he says. Employees working at home are extremely productive, and young people want to be in the office for social interactions and know they need to be there to learn the business and get promoted.

“That’s the reality,” he says. “Just accept that hybrid work is good and it’s the future and we need to just manage around it.”

To hear the full keynote and Q&A, registered attendees can click here. Registration for the free, online event runs through Friday, and attendees can view sessions for 30 days afterward. Register here.

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Elizabeth Clarke
Elizabeth Clarke is executive editor of Human Resource Executive. She earned a journalism degree from the University of Florida and then spent more than 25 years as a reporter and editor in South Florida before joining HRE. Elizabeth lives with her family in Palm Beach County. She can be reached at eclarke@lrp.com.