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Hybrid working for Belgian governments

We were asked to integrate hybrid collaboration tools at the Flemish Government. This involved several meeting rooms to ensure a stable connectivity with homeworkers and externals.

Belgian governments still want their employees to work hybrid; they have found that the combination of working from home and the office offers significant advantages. However, hybrid working is much more than doing at home what you did at the office before, our governments are well aware of that. This project was not only about smooth and intuitive hardware but also about the adoption and implementation of collaboration tools within the Flemish Government.

How to establish mutual cooperation as a government

Being able to do your job well in a hybrid context and collaborate with colleagues you don't see in the office every day remains quite a challenge. So hybrid working is not just about how you organize your workday and workweek.

5 days from 9-5 in the office

You could say that hybrid working in the broad sense is about how you as a government have organized mutual cooperation, where working in the office 5 days from 9-5 is no longer the norm.

Hybrid work is also about the people's behavior

Hybrid working means exploring new ways of working together. So you're talking about more than ICT and the (home) workplace. Besides the 'bricks' and 'bytes', it is also about 'behavior'. An organization that wants to work hybrid must develop into a hybrid organization. This automatically causes all kinds of unspoken expectations and ways of working to surface.

Lots of questions during the adoption fase

After all, how do you stay connected when you are working everywhere and nowhere? As a manager, how do you have a conversation with your team members about their results? How often do you meet in the office as a team and what do you do with colleagues who prefer to go their own way? You will have to work with all these underlying issues. By the way, this is an inspiring process because you are rebuilding your organization together.

Face to face collaboration

Most of what used to be face to face collaboration is no longer obvious due to hybrid working. A new context often requires new norms: what do we think is okay and what is not? And how do we deal with it if someone deviates from it? Think together: what process agreements will help us as a team to work together in a pleasant way?

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Over time, you will probably have to re-examine these agreements from time to time. After all, it requires something different than before: different competencies and a different style of leadership. If this is not done, home working and hybrid working will be organized "away": "culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Conclusion

The Flemish government made great strides in working (together) remotely during the corona pandemic. They did this by focusing on flexibility, agility and digital workplace facilities. Meanwhile we are a few years further on and we look back on a successful implementation of place- and time-independent working: hybrid working works! Thank you for your trust!

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