Business 68% of companies make this critical mistake in their...

68% of companies make this critical mistake in their approach to hybrid work


Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.

Picture this. You assemble a piece of furniture from a box, but the manual is missing. You have all the tools, all the parts, but you don’t know where to start. This is what a hybrid working model feels like without proper documentation. It’s like being in a spaceship with no navigation system.

Recent research conducted by McKinsey has shown that as many as 68% of companies do not have a structured “playbook” to guide their hybrid work model. I was surprised to see this as I always work with clients that I help develop a hybrid working model based on a clear and transparent playbook that they can use going forward, which later formed the basis of my bestseller on hybrid work.

With the Covid-19 pandemic causing an unprecedented shift to remote and hybrid work environments, it is paramount for companies to smooth out their approach. The old adage, “If you fail to plan, you intend to fail,” is more true now than ever.

Parse the survey

The McKinsey survey assessed how well companies were implementing 12 identified key practices for an effective and sustainable hybrid work model. Interestingly, a major pitfall for most companies has been creating a balance between on-site and remote working – a “true hybrid” model, if you will.

In a way, it’s like trying to play a symphony with a missing music sheet. The performers have their instruments, they’re enthusiastic, they’re talented, but without the conductor’s guidance, they can’t synchronize their efforts. It’s a clear miss of performance improvements and efficient use of real estate, akin to leaving money on the table at a poker game.

Related: Why employers force a return to the office leads to increased worker power and unionization

The value of documentation in a hybrid model

Think of your hybrid working model documentation as your secret recipe, your blueprint, or even your company’s unique fingerprint. It outlines the working method of your organization: who does what, where and when. More importantly, it creates a unified view of how work gets done, enabling smooth communication and transparency at all levels.

According to the McKinsey survey, failure to implement a well-documented process has tripped even the most progressive companies. It’s like trying to build a skyscraper with no foundation. The result? A shaky structure that can crumble at the slightest vibration.

A step towards a more effective hybrid model

Documentation is the linchpin that binds the entire system. It allows for a more informed approach to designing effective workplaces, resulting in better capital allocation and ultimately higher productivity. Documentation promotes flexibility and dynamism, making it easy for companies to adapt to changing work patterns and trends. It’s like having a high-quality GPS system that redirects you whenever a new path appears.

The most compelling evidence of the impact of good documentation can be seen in the progress made by remote-first organizations and start-ups post-pandemic. Documentation has enabled these entities to efficiently navigate the complex labyrinth of the hybrid model, creating structures that support efficient workflows and strong communication channels.

The influence of cognitive biases on the documentation of hybrid working models

As we grapple with the reality of the hybrid working model and the necessary documentation to support its effective implementation, it is critical to recognize how cognitive biases can influence this process. In particular, we will examine the impact of status quo bias and anchoring bias, and how they may affect our understanding and handling of hybrid working model documentation.

Status quo bias is a cognitive bias that favors the current state of affairs. It stems from our aversion to change and the discomfort associated with unfamiliar scenarios. In the context of the hybrid working model, status quo bias can be a significant obstacle.

According to the McKinsey survey, many companies are struggling to create an effective hybrid model. This difficulty is exacerbated by status quo bias, where both employees and management can resist change, cling to traditional work methods, and document work processes.

For example, the idea of ​​documenting specific processes or protocols for remote work may be rejected, favoring existing, office-oriented methods. The bias can lead to bad decisions, such as keeping ineffective processes simply because they are known, causing inefficiency and communication breakdowns.

Overcoming status quo bias requires a conscious effort from the entire organization. Encouraging open discussions about the changes, providing training on new protocols and processes, and emphasizing the benefits of the new system can help neutralize this bias.

Anchoring bias refers to our tendency to rely heavily on the first piece of information (the “anchor”) we receive when making decisions. In the context of a hybrid working model, this can manifest itself in different ways.

An example of such a scenario could be during the initial drafting of the hybrid working model documentation. If the initial draft is created with an overemphasis on remote or office work, it can serve as an “anchor” and influence all subsequent changes. This could potentially lead to an unbalanced hybrid model, one that does not take full advantage of the benefits of both work environments.

Likewise, organizations can anchor themselves in pre-pandemic norms and expect employees to adapt their home environments to traditional office setups. Such an entrenchment could lead to the overlook of innovative solutions that take advantage of the unique benefits of remote working, such as flexible scheduling or individualized workspaces.

Countering anchoring bias involves encouraging diverse inputs during decision-making processes and challenging assumptions based on initial information. By creating multiple drafts of the documentation and collecting extensive feedback, you can avoid becoming entrenched in an unbalanced or sub-optimal hybrid model.

Recognizing and mitigating the effects of status quo and entrenching biases can dramatically improve the process of creating a hybrid working model documentation. It provides a more balanced, efficient and forward-thinking approach that maximizes the benefits of office and remote working. As we navigate the evolving landscape of work, being aware of these cognitive biases is an essential step toward creating a successful hybrid work model.

Related: Debunking the Five Myths of Hybrid Work

Practical steps towards an effective documentation strategy

An effective documentation strategy starts with identifying and understanding the different elements of your organization’s working model. It’s like designing a complex jigsaw puzzle: each piece has its unique place and purpose.

First, organizations need to pinpoint the critical ‘moments that matter’ in the work process. This can range from identifying key stages of project development to determining which activities are better done in person. A clear, well-documented outline of these moments provides a step-by-step plan that guides employees in making smart choices about their work.

Next comes the implementation of advanced workplace technologies. Tools such as video conferencing, digital whiteboards and even augmented and virtual reality technologies need to be seamlessly integrated into the system. The goal here is to create a virtual workspace that rivals or even exceeds its physical counterpart.

Finally, it is vital for organizations to realize that their documentation is not a “set-and-forget” playbook. It is a living, evolving guide that should be periodically updated to reflect changes in work processes and new technological developments. It is like maintaining a garden, which requires constant care and adaptation to the changing seasons.


If there’s one thing we can take away from the McKinsey survey, it’s this: the future of work is hybrid, and its success depends largely on our ability to develop a well-documented approach to this model. The road to a thriving hybrid working model resembles a symphony performance. It requires well-orchestrated efforts from all players, each playing their part at the right time and place. As we navigate this new terrain, let’s make sure we’re armed with a well-documented plan—our conductor’s score, if you will—that will help us hit the right notes.

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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