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Date posted: 19th May 2021

19th May 2021

Hybrid Working – What does this mean for internal communication?

Hybrid Working – What does this mean for internal communication?

Hybrid work is a combination of working patterns that will look completely different in every individual organisation. This makes the role of internal communication more important than ever to give employees clarity over what the future will look like and ease anxiety that they will inevitably be feeling.

The following article by Rachel Miller aims to guide communicators to get organised and understand what other organisations are doing.

From the Article:

Let’s look at the various scenarios our workforce could find themselves in now or in the near future:

  • Working from home 100% of the time
  • Working from home 50% of the time
  • Working from home another percentage of the time
  • Working in the office 100% of the time
  • Frontline workers (so possibly not working from home at all)
  • On sick leave
  • Shift worker
  • Flexible hours and location
  • On maternity leave
  • Furloughed or recently unfurloughed.

You’ll have your own list I’m sure and perhaps even more scenarios to add. It’s rarely just two combinations and at the moment we’re seeing multiple possibilities for colleagues.

Due to the nature of your business, the place of work for your colleagues may have remained unchanged over the past year e.g. if you’re in transport, essential workers, retail or healthcare.

So hybrid working means a combination of working patterns.

The notion of communicating with “all” employees as an audience is rarely accurate. But today, that list alone demonstrates why we need to get really intentional with our channels and truly understand the situations our employees are working in.

Action to take: look at your channels matrix. Is it fit for purpose? Do you need to make any changes to it to reflect the various employee groups, like those listed above?

Tip: If you don’t have a channels matrix, my Introduction to Internal Communication Channels Online Masterclass will guide you through creating your own.

New research via McKinsey & Company

McKinsey has just published some research looking at what employees are saying about the future of remote working. You can read their findings online.

The study is called Reimagine Work: Employee Survey and was conducted from December 2020 – January 2021. The sample size was 5043 full-time employees who work in corporate or government settings.

The results below show the split between on site, hybrid and remote working.

A total of 52% of workers ‘would prefer a more flexible working model’ post-pandemic.


According to their study, even high-level communication about post-COVID-19 working arrangements boosts employee well-being and productivity.

They state: “Organisations that convey more detailed, remote-relevant policies and approaches see greater increases. Employees who feel included in more detailed communication are nearly five times more likely to report increased productivity. Because communicating about the future can drive performance outcomes today, leaders should consider increasing the frequency of their employee updates—both to share what’s already decided and to communicate what is still uncertain.”

If you’re feeling behind, don’t worry, the McKinsey & Company research also found most organisations haven’t communicated their post-pandemic plans yet:

The research also found high levels of anxiety amongst employees who are waiting to discover what’s happening.

My advice? You need to start communicating what the future plans are. This article will help you.

You can read the article in full online: What do we need to know about hybrid working?.

Make sure to explore Inspiring Workplaces for other content and insights about Communication.