Hybrid work is here to stay in South Africa

 ·26 May 2024

South African employees and employers can expect the hybrid work trend to continue in South Africa.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns lead to the single most significant change in the world of work.

Four years after the first lockdown, trends such as ‘work from home’ and ‘The Great Resignation’ have given rise to other movements, such as hybrid working structures and quiet quitting.

“In general, in the last year or so, companies who saw large proportions of their staff become chronically disengaged at work or ‘quietly quit’ by doing the bare minimum have taken great lengths to address these issues,” said Jody Eiser from digital consulting firm Strider Digital.

“But in fixing one problem, another has come back into focus, and that is micro-managing.”

To help ensure that employees are fully functioning, managers in businesses worldwide have tackled the challenge with constant check-ins, extra status meetings, and even new reporting structures, adding an additional layer of admin.

“Even if not completely intentional, managers in many industries took on the position as helicopter boss, but instead of increasing productivity, hovering managers often do the complete opposite and hurt productivity because they create a force of very unhappy workers,” said Eiser.

“As a result, employees are increasingly looking to their managers for what is now called ‘quiet managing’. This sees managers reverting to a more hand-off management style, allowing staff to work freely and to have less time-consuming meetings – and this is said to remain for the rest of 2024 and beyond.”

Like the quiet quitting and now quiet managing trends, the act of remote work has led to dramatic shifts over the last few years.

Things started with a full work-from-home structure and then slowly shifted to one or two days in the office, with many companies now shifting to three or four days in the office.

A full week of remote working is not something seen in the business world today, but neither is spending a full week at the office, with differing hybrid models leading the change.

“There’s no hard and fast rule for hybrid working structures today; businesses are choosing to create their own systems based on their needs and the needs of their workforce,” said Eiser.

“Some businesses expect employees to only go into the office on days that have important team meetings, others have instituted in-office days or provide a choice of home and in-office days.”

“But across the board, most businesses are offering at least one work-from-home day a week – and this is set to stay for the foreseeable future.”

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