Jobs and the Future of Work

Busting global myths on hybrid work: here's how flexibility can help companies and employees thrive

Flexibility through remote and hybrid working can be key to success.

Flexibility through remote and hybrid working can be key to success. Image: Unsplash/Christina@wocintechchat.com

Jennifer Saavedra
Chief Human Resources Officer, Executive Vice President Human Resources, Dell Technologies
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  • The surge in uptake remote working has prompted a range of responses from "we will no longer have offices" to "everybody come back".
  • Concerns about hybrid work include impact on productivity, the erosion of company culture and lack of career development.
  • But at Dell Technologies, flexibility and a focus on achievement, balance and inclusion have been key to a successful business.

Global headlines tell us the world’s biggest brands are taking a wide range of approaches to remote work – with some saying “we will no longer have offices” to others saying “everybody come back”. Every company has to do what works for them. At Dell Technologies, leading with flexibility works for us and we believe in providing more options, not less.

And as organizations grapple with questions around whether they need to work in a corporate office to achieve their goals, articles spout many potential areas of concern: culture might erode, new team members might feel disconnected, team members in the office might get greater opportunity and working at home isn’t productive, to name a few.

At Dell Technologies, we’ve offered flexibility and the ability to work remotely for more than 12 years. We entered the pandemic with a strong understanding of how to do remote and hybrid work well. At the core, we believe work is an outcome, not a time or place.

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We don’t believe one approach works for all roles, teams or individuals, so there’s no room for broad mandates. Today, our Connected Workplace hybrid work model shows that we’re succeeding with a positive and healthy organizational culture.

We promise our team members they will be part of a great company invested in them through our ‘People Philosophy’. We partner in their achievement, balance and sense of connection, and build a diverse, inclusive team. Add all that up, and it equals a high-performing, accountable and flexible culture.

Flexibility key to hybrid work model

We get the power of flexibility and continue to remain agile, listen, learn and adjust. Our team members tell us that their experience with Dell Technologies in this increasingly hybrid world busts some of the common hybrid work myths perpetuated in the media.

“Culture can’t sustain” is a common myth about hybrid work models. In our recent team member engagement survey, we found this is not true.

‘Company culture and values’ and ‘work flexibility’ were named as our team members' top differentiators for Dell Technologies compared to other companies (and this has been true for many years).

In fact, 94% of our people say that: “At Dell Technologies, our behaviours are consistent with our culture code.” At the core, we are united in our belief that customers and innovation are the foundation of our success and we are committed to winning together and achieving results with integrity.

These results were consistent among our team members, regardless of their work style, and are as true for people hired within the last two years in a fully-remote environment as it is for long-tenured team members.

These findings reinforce we do not all need to be in a physical building together for our culture to shine. Regardless of the distance between us, we are all united by our shared values, strong culture and common purpose.

Busting myths on hybrid work: culture and team members can thrive
Busting myths on hybrid work: culture and team members can thrive Image: Dell

Another common myth about hybrid working is that people, especially newly hired and early career team members, will feel disconnected. Again, we do not find this to be the experience at Dell Technologies.

Team members hired since March 2020, in the early days of the pandemic, are just as likely as others to feel included, have strong team relationships, hybrid work and do not seem to be at a greater attrition risk. Across the company, we found that more than 90% of team members believe Dell Technologies has an inclusive culture for all and feel they belong here.

We attribute this to our purposeful actions aimed at driving inclusion and connection. Resources like our mentoring programmes, employee resource groups and ongoing worldwide events like our Global Fitness Challenge help to bring everyone together, fostering connection.

We’ve also created a global interactive event series called The Great Reconnect to engage team members and showcase the many resources, programmes and benefits that bring our People Philosophy to life.

Equal opportunities for learning and careers

A third common myth is that team members in the office will have greater advantages and both learning and career opportunities.

At Dell, 90% of our team members say everyone has development opportunities to learn new skills and that we have a culture that enables learning. This feedback remains consistent across remote, hybrid and fully-in office team members.

We have also found there are no meaningful differences in promotion rates, performance, engagement or rewards between those remote, hybrid or office based. When we asked this year if team members had concerns about advantages for those fully in the office, they said they are not very concerned about potential differences in advancement, mentoring, rewards or recognition.

Our high-performing culture and wide array of on-demand virtual learning solutions has enabled us to help individuals achieve their career goals – no matter where they work. We have curated content through Dell University and a variety of vendors focused on helping team members develop skills for the future, change agility, aspiring leadership and more.

Throughout the pandemic, we continued innovating, delivering products and launching new offers for our customers, all under extraordinarily challenging circumstances.

Flexibility is key to the future of work

In short, providing flexibility through hybrid work models and focusing on achievement, balance, connection, and inclusion works for us. But at Dell Technologies, we have a hunger for excellence, saying: “We’re pleased but never satisfied.” We are proud, remain humble,hybrid work and eager to continuously improve.

I am incredibly optimistic about the future of work and confident we will realize great value, creativity and inspiration. Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on preserving and strengthening our very special culture and strong track record of performance we’ve built over the past 38 years.

We are committed to helping everyone be their best and do their best, regardless of where they work, and we urge others to do the same. After all, amid the ever-increasing need for top talent, hybrid work models will enable employers to recruit and hire from anywhere in the world – to the benefit of organizations and staff alike.

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