Hybrid Workplace: The Fuss and Buzz Explained

Remote work has always been a luxury option available for certain professions and industries. Being in an industry that has allowed this mode of work since the early days, it easily makes us forget what a unique privilege that is. Taking things for granted is what we humans tend to do, nothing new.

Each one of us knows how great it feels to simply choose to stay at home whenever we want and take a deep dive into focused work in our pajamas, with all home commodities at arm’s length. OR go to the mountains or seaside alone or with colleagues and work from there.

Interesting fact: Even though unlimited remote work was an option since the early days in Mistral, no one used it more than once or twice a week (a most common scenario). Of course, some used the option more than others, but overall – all roads lead back to the office (or as we call it – our second home). That’s where all the pranks happened, where we celebrated things together, had the best learning sessions, met new colleagues, and all that magic.

Our Security Specialist Elvis in Mostar office

However, when the pandemic conquered the world, remote-friendly forcefully became remote-first out of the blue, and even the remote-work-friendlies needed adjustment time. We are creatures of habit after all, and this radical shift not only robbed us of choice, but it brought other adjustments along with it. Not all bad tho! 

Here is how mandatory, remote-first work during 2020 affected everyone’s perception of remote work and how it shook things up:

1. Everyone confused lockdowns and quarantine work with remote work, and those who never worked remotely for longer periods of time before, though it was horribly stressful and couldn’t wait to get back to “normal”. The truth is, remote work and what happened in 2020 are not the same thing. Working from home feels freeing and empowering. Working while quarantined is a luxurious prison. Strong emotions like fear and uncertainty played a big role in that experience.

2. As time passed by, and most companies went through operating fully remote for a long period, things started to change, and as recovery began and we are all slowly making peace with the new normal – some things are here to stay, while others got a new shape.

From the company side; all procedures, collaboration, team rituals, ways of engagement, and generally way of work leveled up in the virtual arena. Remote onboarding and knowledge transfers gained a new dimension. More and more employees from different cities and countries started to apply for positions and join the community – which is magnificent. The teams that were split between our other offices became closer and the culture even more inclusive and supporting (although a little quieter, to be honest). 

From the employee standpoint; many 2021 industry surveys (as well as our own) revealed that a large percentage of people became super comfortable and productive while working fully remotely (as mentioned, we are creatures of habit and highly adaptable hence we readily embraced the new way of work). Many expressed a wish to plan to either stay that way (all the way) in the future or occasionally come by the office and/or join in for an event or team building.

Our UX/UI designer Admir and Darko at home

However, this outcome of surveys varied depending on the seniority of our teammates, and the length of their tenure.  Those who’ve been with us less would prefer more physical contact with colleagues, and the case is the same for more junior members who wish to shadow more senior colleagues in real office space. PS let’s also not forget our dear colleagues with small kids who love the peace and quiet of the office!

Bearing the wishes and the needs of our community, we have opted for the hybrid workplace set up for good. New normal, – hello!

Hybrid Workplace – What Does it Really Mean?

This popular term is how we now describe the work modes that are completely acceptable and normal in IT companies. We’re not only remote-friendly anymore, but a hybrid.

The hybrid workplace is an umbrella term for 3 work modes that are entirely embraced and endorsed by the companies now, more than ever:

1. Working fully remote (from wherever you are or want to be) without ever having to come by to either of the company offices
2. Working from one of the company offices (a most popular choice for many of our colleagues that lack focus at home)
3. Custom combination of the 2 above (working 1 day at the office and 4 at home or vice versa, working half day from the office, half from your home, working from Zimbabwe, etc.). Whatever suits you best.

Nobody has to even say which mode they prefer as they can be switched and mixed at any point by any employee.

Our developers Irma and Ramiza meet in a hybrid setup

To sum it up:

Whenever you see a “hybrid workplace” label on any company website, job ad, post, or similar, it simply means that that company encourages fluid work and is very flexible in terms of your work location. We’re basically saying: YOU are the master of your location at any given moment. No expectations, no questions asked, as long as your team knows you’re alright 🙂

Important tip

With distributed teams, it becomes harder to build social capital – the kind of connection with a colleague that makes it easier to overcome challenges together. A focus on building the right team culture is the single most important thing in Mistral as our entire philosophy lies on 3 values we live by People First, Culture of Trust, and Passion for Growth. None of it is possible without a great team of like-minded individuals, and without individual efforts.

If you’re on a “full remote preferred” team, don’t be a stranger. Especially if you’re freshly onboarded or a team lead. Casual human interactions unrelated to work mean the world when it comes to building team bonds and trust. Don’t always wait around for someone else to ping you, initiate conversations. We promise you it’s very rewarding. Learning and knowing your team’s habits, coding styles, best practices, and general tribal knowledge makes you more productive, happy, and successful. Own your social professional life and don’t lose the community feel. It is by far one of the greatest drivers and motivators.

Continuing to Build, Grow and Learn

There’s no doubt the previous year will leave a lasting impact on the technology industry. There’s a lot to look forward to, and we’re excited to see how we all continue to build, grow, and learn together.If you’re in need of a change and are looking for new opportunities, but are holding back due to the uncertainty you think remote onboarding carries – stop holding back. Remote onboarding can be a very efficient, warm and amazing experience. See for yourself here.