Keith Spiro Communicast: Mike Kind HybridWorkHub and the pivot to workplace flexibility

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In April 2021, StanData announced technology for the Work From Home crowd that would benefit both their wellness as well as productivity. Remote workers in the USA as a category had peaked a year earlier at 50 million but the potential benefits to companies and employees remain an area of exploration for many. Stories abound of CEO’s demanding return of workers to offices and employees leaving jobs because they won’t retreat from the newly-found flexibility in the workplace. Less is spoken about employees who ask to come back into offices.

In the midst of this tug-o-war, Mike Kind and his team at StanData made the pivot from hardware, to software, to people. Says Mike, “people like us have varying concerns and reactions (to the changing work environment) and I am learning from them.”

StanData set out to provide better workstations for employees. With the pandemic, they realized the greater need for more customization based on the individual work circumstances. Today, they are providing a forum for Human Resource personnel and others to share experiences and data as they bring useful knowledge of this new category of work together under the banner of Hybrid Work Hub.  A place where trust is built. Members share information and best practices and put them out there for all to see. They are using short surveys and sharing back information that allows others to see what is being explored and what is working.

This education process reminds me of the early days of Hubspot where the whole idea of Inbound marketing needed to be explained, clarified and nurtured for it to grow to become today’s leading standard of how people want to be approached with product and services.

Mike is in the employee job satisfaction field but the immediate impact, if executed correctly, is huge savings in real estate expenses at a time that many individuals and organizations are trying to figure out just who needs to be in an office and who can work remotely.

Some key questions from our conversation updating their latest work three months after launch:

What is HybridWorkHub.com?

It is a free resource to educate and connect professionals on the new evolving world of hybrid work. It was underwritten by a grant from StanData the technology company centered around “wellness while you work.”  On a macro level, it is a website that allows for dialogue and knowledge collaboration with the goal of sharing best practices and ideas for better human performance and health.

Why should we care?

Today’s work environment is seeing a near doubling of job changers from a pre-pandemic average of 2% of the workforce at the same time help wanted signs appear almost everywhere.

How would you describe the Nature of Work for our hybrid world?

Two types of work:

  1. Collaborative work – is not just knowledge being shared but impacts people, products and equipment. There is collaboration that is not suitable for a hybrid work environment. Think – supermarket cashiers and stockperson; machinists -working at a manufacturing facility and neurosurgeons who must be at a hospital to perform their job function.  Not every job can be remote -these examples 100% at facility.
  2. Focused Work – is that of an individual or a group of individuals who can work in asynchronous fashion as they contribute to a project. Alone, in a workspace or remote

For job definitions that can universally be defined as hybrid potential work, we will soon be at the point where companies will have to offer it, like health benefits, in order to attract the best candidates.

Who has been joining Hybrid Work Hub and why?

The not-so-surprising surprise is that corporate real estate professionals are the most active. They are the people on the front line where “companies have found opportunity to effect major cost savings in creating hybrid work hubs as people ask the question, “Do I really need to be in the office?” And if I do have to go in, it need not be every day.

While most will agree that face-to-face is best, the numbers during the height of the pandemic have proven that travel expense bills have been drastically reduced. The dollar savings has attracted attention and that is why we are seeing facilities folks jumping onboard.

What are the most interesting findings to date?

Impact is very individualized. Each person has unique circumstances but Gen Z and Baby Boomers are adapting best. Their years of business socialization and prior indoctrination into work cultures were well established prior to the pandemic. These folks have less need to be in the office when focused work can be done remotely.

Companies are looking at what roles exist in their organization. They are comparing the number of people needing focused area workstations with the number who must work collaboratively. The collaborative workers need a more relaxed open environment where roundtables and casual seating allow thoughts and ideas to flow more freely.

I suggested that we are looking at the coexistence of machine and human with an ability to individualize need fulfillment and Mike agrees. The future is here and it parallels his personal career. He and his company StanData are a little ahead of the curve. Hybridworkhub helps any team understand more about their organizational needs and possibilities.

This is a chance to figure out who is going to be hybrid before they determine how to make them more productive. HybridWorkHub is creating a conversation and a forum for trust.

Says Mike, “You have to create value – get the right people engaged. Not consultants but the actual front line people gathering more shared information”. The purpose of the group has quickly become sharing information and best practices within the group and across companies.

The team at StanData has begun to build a value proposition by sharing out information that they’ve gained. Then getting feedback from participants/members – sharing here’s what I think and in return getting what other people are doing in this area. The category of Hybrid work wins fans and gains strength when applied in the most advantageous situations and then everybody wins.