Does it make sense to continue managing people based on presence in hybrid work environments?

Productivity is the end, working time is the means.

Productivity is the quotient between the results and the time used to obtain them. In this way, the less time it takes to obtain the desired result, the more productive the system is. So it was about doing more with less.

In managing this difficult equation, many companies place more emphasis on the time factor than on the results factor. In these agile times it is a mistake that can have negative consequences.

Pathologies related to the traditional work time management model.

Continuing to manage human relations in the company based on the traditional concept of “working time” can cause some pathologies that do not exactly benefit productivity. Let’s see two:

  • Reduce empowerment. If the prevailing culture in my company puts the emphasis on working time, leaders will use their energy to control this factor, rather than the one that corresponds to the result of the work. Many organizations allocate more resources to the day control system than to the performance management system.
  • Aligns the organization at the bottom of the performance. It is like the teacher who every day sets the bar for the level of the subject that he imparts to the lagging student. The rest of the class ends up getting bored. When this happens, people who ‘are there but are not there’ live together. Real work zombies, the problem is that their body is present and their mind is absentee. And those that remain end up procrastinating.

New ways of working and especially teleworking or hybrid work represent a paradigm shift that companies cannot ignore.


Four decisions you can put into practice to organize your work time in a new work environment.

In this new context, it is very important that companies make some decisions regarding the working time of their employees.

  • Define a predictable work model. According to the most recent studies, the preferred model to address this new post-COVID stage is the hybrid work model. But we must bear in mind that in this model there is a progressive disappearance of the boundaries between the time spent on work and the time spent on other tasks. And that can affect productivity. The solution is to design a telework governance model. It is about making known who can access the model and who cannot (obviously, a maintenance manager is not the same as a systems programmer, although both can be engineers), which days they can telework and which days they cannot, how they are managed the calls for meetings, how the onboarding of new workers works, how health and safety is guaranteed in the new job, etc.
  • Establish the ‘Pact of Time’. In a traditional work environment all work is synchronous. This means that all people work at the same time in the same space. If the leader wants to call a meeting, he just has to leave his office and call his entire team to the meeting. In a hybrid environment things don’t work like that. At the same time you can have members of your team working in the office and at home. But as teleworking provides flexibility, it may be that at that moment the person is accompanying their children to the doctor or is doing the shopping. Flexibility is good, but it must be regulated. Thus, time bands must be established for synchronous work (all working) and others for asynchronous work (in which you can choose when you are going to use them).
  • Manage the digital disconnect. Who more or who has suffered less work stress in their life. Many times we forget that stress, by itself, is not bad. In fact, if we did not have stress we would not last long in this world, because it is what makes us be alert and perceive dangers. The problem is when that stress remains elevated for a long time. Then comes burn-out and with it plummeting productivity. This is something that is explained very well with the Yerkes and Dodson law. According to this, the performance will be optimal if the activation level is moderately high; On the other hand, if it is too high or too low it will negatively affect the result of the task. To avoid this phenomenon, more and more companies are betting on establishing active digital disconnection policies.
  • Train leaders. Many times it is forgotten that all change needs to be managed. It does not occur in automatic mode. It is very important that the company allocate resources to change the mindset of its workers, especially that of managers and managers.


Obviously many other measures can be activated in relation to working time. But please, let’s forget about reducing them to the famous time control. Let’s put the focus on performance.