This resource contains the full seminar recording, alongside some shorter clips highlighting some of the key and interesting talking points made by the speakers: Zak Mensah (Co-CEO, Birmingham Museums Trust) and guests Lisa Westcott Wilkins (Co-founder and Managing Director, DigVentures) and Mark Bishop (Director of Customer & Cause, the National Trust for Scotland). It also features a number of useful resources, reports and toolkits to help you with hybrid within your own heritage organisation.
We can’t go back to how things were before the pandemic. We, and our staff, have experienced the flexibility that hybrid working can bring to our work/life balance. The old way of doing things is not necessarily the best way of doing things, for our organisations and for us as individuals. Hybrid working gives us an opportunity to build more inclusive organisations, ones that allow for greater flexibility for our staff and our organisations.
The pandemic has caused a significant disruption to the way we work. But the change we’ve seen to date has been brewing for some time, long before Covid-19. The pandemic accelerated that change, it forced us into experimenting with hybrid working and to question what ‘the office’ really is and how our organisational rhythms dictate the way we work. There have always been different ideas, in the heritage sector, about what the office is. From collections stores to a wood in a nature reserve, and these assumptions about what an office is, and the function it provides, has carried over into our new hybrid ways of working. Technology allowed us to re-create the old ways of working – but is this how we want to work moving forwards?
Many of the challenges and the issues we’ve faced around how we work in a hybrid way hasn’t necessarily been caused by technological limitations, they have mostly been caused by the existing problems in the ways we’ve always worked – from poor communication to inflexible working rhythms. So the question is not, ‘how can technology help us to recreate the ways we work?’. Instead, it should be, ‘how can we improve the way we work using technology?’.
Collaboration can be achieved asynchronously – we don’t have to collaborate in the same place, or even at the same time. We can bring people into our organisation, be they employees or collaborators, without having to have them present in the physical space. We knew it before, but the pandemic has cemented the fact that people work best in different ways and at different times and hybrid working gives us the opportunity to tailor the way we work to suit our teams. We should be focusing on moving forward with how we work, thinking about new ways of doing things – rather than going back to working in the same ways that we always were.
It is still important to remember that not every role can be a hybrid role, as not all jobs lend themselves to that kind of flexibility. How can we ensure that those who can’t have flexibility in their roles still feel valued and still feel included in the organisational culture?
Hybrid working can help us to build organisations that revolve around a culture of connection. Hybrid working is more than just working from home and even for those with roles that don’t allow for that kind of flexibility, hybrid working can enable us to build this shared culture through simultaneous reach and collaboration. We can all work together, at the same time or in our own time, across sites, roles and responsibilities, using digital tools, platforms and technologies.
As we experiment further with hybrid working, it’s important to embrace the change that experimentation might bring. We can’t set our plans in stone. We need to talk openly to the workforce and explain that it’s a new journey for everyone, so there will certainly be teething problems. But if we keep our working patterns and rhythms under regular review, we can work to create a culture that involves everyone.
The forced experiments of remote working in 2020 and the hybrid reality of the last two years have led us to a place where we are all fundamentally questioning and rethinking how we work. Those questions will not be answered over night, but it’s important that we experiment with how we work, that we challenge our practice. Hybrid working gives us the opportunity for greater flexibility, for more collaboration beyond our walls and to bring in people who might not have been able to work with us before. However, hybrid working practice is far from perfect and there are plenty of challenges to overcome. Below are some further resources which will hopefully help you with your hybrid working practices.
Reports and research
- Our survey into the impact of hybrid on working practices in the cultural sector
- Chartered Management Institute’s survey on working from home, flexible and hybrid working
- Centre for Cultural Value report, ‘Culture in Crisis: impacts of Covid-19 on the UK cultural sector and where we go from here’
- NCVOs report on flexible working, ‘Time to Flex: Embracing flexible working‘
- Microsoft’s report, ‘The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready?’
- CIPD’s early report on hybrid working (September 2020), ‘Embedding new ways of working post-pandemic’
- YouGov survey and results on home working post-pandemic
- Google Workspace and Economist Impact global survey on hybrid working.
- Art of Gathering – book by Priya Parker
- The guide for hosting hybrid gatherings, by Priya Parker
- Podcast interview with Brene Brown and Priya Parker on how we return to the workplace and why it matters
- Miro’s Hybrid Working Template Pack
- Rebuilding Heritage’s resource on ‘Managing Hybrid Teams’
- CIPD’s guide to hybrid working
- Open access resources from the University of Washington’s HR team on ‘Creating a successful hybrid environment’.
Digital leadership – Hybrid heritage resource (2022) by Culture24 supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0
Please attribute as: "Digital leadership — Hybrid heritage (2022) by Culture24 supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0