To hybrid working and beyond: a CEO’s reflections

Derek Robertson.jpg
Derek Robertson , CEO (Chartered FCIPD, MCMI, MInstLM, NLP Practitioner and Coach) 

Author of, The Great Cape Escapade (A fable about effective meetings)

4 min read



It’s not as catchy as Buzz Lightyear’s catchphrase but there is a buzz around lessons learned from the pandemic around organisational practice and performance.

Lead bodies like CIPD and CMI are rightly reporting their research from members’ experiences.  I’ve chosen CIPD’s recent ‘Flexible working: Lessons learned from the pandemic’ as a frame for some reflections on ‘hybrid working’.

My mission is to point the way to CIPD’s reports with my reflections as a small business CEO.

What is hybrid working?

Many sources show an employee preference for a balance of working from home and ‘the office’.  That’s hybrid working.

Hybrid working reflections

Develop the skills and culture needed for open conversations about wellbeing

Unsurprisingly, CIPD look to case studies such as Fujitsu to emphasise an organisational focus to wellbeing with support from the top and dedicated resources.  The aim is to reduce discomfort and embarrassment.

The two major recommendations are:

  1. Upskill managers to discuss wellbeing confidently
  2. Create an organisational focus on wellbeing


This is exactly why we took a gamified approach when creating our Resilience Game back in 2017.

Encourage boundary-setting and routines to improve wellbeing and prevent overwork

We pinched ourselves periodically to avoid the overwork trap.  Sometimes it’s motivation to start work and others it’s motivation to stop.

Our practical actions to avoid overwork were:

  • Use our calendars to make appointments with ourselves to progress tasks
  • Focus more on expected outcomes than time spent.
  • Breaks in long virtual meetings
  • Asked regularly for scores out of ten for how we were feeling

Pay special attention to creativity, brainstorming and problem-solving tasks

This was an unintended benefit for us.  With the lockdown focus on exercise and fresh air we became more creative and easier problem solvers.  Ideas and solutions really do come to you when you are relaxed in the great outdoors.

Build in time, including face-to-face time, for team cohesion and organisational belonging

Still work in progress for us.  Our default remains isolated our rabbit hutches doing our own thing.  But we are aware and improving by making it a conscious practice.

Your takeaway

Some changes foisted on us by the global pandemic are here to stay.  It’s up to us to seize the day, recognise what works for us, what we can learn from robust research sources like CIPD and bin what isn’t.  That way we will navigate successfully through the recovery times that lie ahead.

Your next action

Check out the following sources and downloads:

  1. Flexible working: lessons from the pandemic HR Guide
  2. Flexible working: lessons from the pandemic Line manager guide
  3. The digital Resilience Game to help teams talk with one another
  4. Download our 'Where and when to do your tasks helper'