The future of work is hybrid collaboration. When done right, it has substantial unexplored benefits and opportunities for business leaders who want to build organizations that are fit for humans and the future.

Our work at involves enabling organizations to utilize hybrid collaboration opportunities fully. Therefore, we have built a framework to provide a holistic approach.

Working successfully with hybrid collaboration, we have identified three dimensions that should be addressed: people, processes, and structure. This includes some essential prerequisites for good hybrid collaboration; however, as people are different, so are organizations. Therefore, the right way for one company might not be the same for others.

Overall, the framework can be used for looking at the hybrid collaboration culture at your company – in its current state and the one you are aspiring for.

Our definition of hybrid collaboration

“Some people work mostly in person at the same location, whereas others in the same company are remote. Or most people work some days in the central office and some days from home or another remote location. In essence, hybrid collaboration is collaborating across physical and virtual boundaries.”

Hybrid collaboration – the new normal?

We see that hybrid collaboration is growing exponentially in organizations as more and more people work remotely while others are back at the office.

Upon close examination, it becomes evident that hybrid collaboration is more than the location you work from. Instead, it affects an array of elements in the way we run our business, ranging from the formal regulations of a home office, the lack of coffee machine talks when we do not meet at the office, work processes and competencies that foster collaboration on virtual platforms and leadership at a distance.

The concept

…of hybrid collaboration tends to have many names such as “future way of working,” “hybrid work,” “hybrid collaboration,” and “new ways of working.” Regardless of which name tag you put on it, hybrid collaboration is essentially collaborating across physical and virtual boundaries.

We believe that hybrid collaboration is here to stay or even increase due to several factors:

  • Increased globalization of the companies we work at or the supply chains and ecosystems the business is part of, and our increased focus on a more sustainable world drive us towards being more virtual.
  • Increased efficiency and reduced costs due to less time and money spent traveling.
  • The market for technologies supporting a more sustainable, hybrid work life is increasing tremendously.
  • In the war for talent, the hybrid collaboration will expand the possibilities of getting the best people on board with less focus on where they live physically.

Several recent studies support the tendency towards a more hybrid work life. Havard Business Review finds that 70-80% of organizations already consider themselves hybrid. In a recent survey from Microsoft involving more than 30,000 people from 31 different countries, 70% of workers want the flexible, remote work options to continue. But the new hybrid world also demands something from the organization, as 65% are craving more in-person time with their teams. We must bridge this dilemma with how we create our organizations and culture around hybrid collaboration.

In this article, we will unpack our framework to improve hybrid collaboration by focusing on the three overall dimensions of the framework: people, processes, and structure.

Before you continue reading, take a moment to reflect on:

  • How would you, in general, rate hybrid collaboration in your organization?
  • What are the main challenges of hybrid collaboration?
  • “How do we stay connected when we do not see each other randomly by the coffee machine?”
  • “How do we as leaders lead from a distance?”
  • “How do we keep ourselves and our colleagues engaged and motivated for work?”
  • “How do we know if people are feeling okay?”
  • “How do we design our workplace to cater to this new way of collaborating?”
  • “What should the formal agreements be concerning working from home vs. the office?”
  • “When and where do we expect people to work?”
  • “How do we ensure we have the right processes and technological setup for virtual collaboration?”

Structures enabling hybrid work

The structure dimension contains the infrastructural elements needed to make hybrid work possible and successful. This has to do with questions like: “Do we have the necessary technical setup for hybrid collaboration?”, “Does the workspace cater to hybrid collaboration?” and “Do we provide employment terms that deal with hybrid work?”

The elements are employment terms, the workplace, and technology.

Employment terms cover the legal perspectives of making hybrid collaboration possible. Which terms need to be changed in the employment contracts? Which remuneration aspect needs to be revised (fees, bonus terms, driving costs, etc.)? Is there a need to change the insurance policies of the individual and the company to cater to working more from home? And then comes policies on the home office environment, which also varies depending on the agreement between the employee and the employer. How many days is the individual working from home vs. from the office? Are the working hours from home on specific days flexible and fluid?

All these questions and considerations determine to which degree the employer is responsible for providing the right home office equipment, such as ergonomic chairs, adjustable desks, etc. Moreover, the questions might have different answers in different countries, which means that each company will have to go through it in detail and might also need to communicate and handle significant differences in the workforce of the same department in a global organization.

The physical workplace covers where people work at the office and remote offices, as both can support hybrid collaboration. Imagine employees working some days at the office, going in and out of physical and virtual meetings. Meeting rooms are still as they were back when we primarily met face to face. We do not want to take up a meeting room for our 1:1 virtual touchpoints with colleagues from other geographical sites. Still, the canteen or open office spaces do not fit the purpose of this type of meeting either because of poor sound quality or because we disturb each other. So what do we do?

The physical workplace needs to be (re)designed to support the new working methods based on an analysis of the organization’s needs. These could be “phone booths” for virtual meetings, fewer but better workstations, smaller rooms, and different areas supporting the new ways of working.

Technology is key to supporting hybrid collaboration. Most organizations have solid technology supporting virtual meetings but need to improve the technical setup to meet the need for hybrid collaboration.

Hybrid collaboration adds to the technological complexity which must be in place to leverage the potential of this way of working fully. The technical equipment, e.g., computers, cameras, microphones, and sound setup, must function well at the office and from remote workstations. Bad sound quality is disturbing in the long run. Enabling Wi-Fi and remote access to your desk and files requires proper bandwidth, VPN, and robust security solutions. Software to support synchronous and asynchronous work must also be in place to support efficient hybrid work. And finally comes, the question of whether the individual must ensure a minimum standard for their home office to allow for working from home without slowing down the collaboration with others.

Depending on the setup, this might also be a question we deal with under the employment terms.

Processes that cater to hybrid collaboration

As we add the virtual dimension to our work life, we add opportunities and complexities to how we work and govern our organizations. This might call for adapted or new workflows and governance, awareness of our communication and touchpoints, and an eye for learning and development. Where should we adapt our workflows or governance to make hybrid work possible and even more rewarding? How do we ensure a sufficient level of communication and quality? What capabilities are needed to change behavior and for everyone in the organization to be able to adapt to these new ways of working?

Workflows and governance

We need to adapt our workflow in the organization to the new ways of working. The new opportunities and requirements for hybrid collaboration might be relevant to include in a project model. It could be looking into questions such as:

  • Do we need to revise how we make decisions?
  • Is our project model aligned with how we work with projects?
  • Are the effective workflows in our administrative part of the business adjusted to hybrid work?
  • How do we settle the question of worktime and workplace?

Communication and touchpoints

Physical and technological distance challenges many traditional ways of communicating and having touchpoints. Therefore, focusing on communication and touchpoints is crucial in hybrid collaboration.


Touchpoints, meetings, and workshops are critical elements in our ongoing communication. To perform with high engagement and impact, we need to be able to host engaging and productive meetings in a virtual or hybrid format where we create exciting and meaningful interactions. Many organizations have experienced challenges with keeping people engaged in virtual sessions, and it seems even more difficult if you need a high degree of creativity in your session. A new key question when organizing meetings and workshops could be: Does this require physical presence, or will it work if we go virtual?


Company-wide communication must aim at sharing critical information across the entire organization to maintain engagement, a shared direction, and a sense of belonging to something bigger. This could also be to highlight elements of governance to set a direction. When the workplace gets dispatched, communication becomes an even more robust way of nurturing the culture we want to live in.

Learning and development

Hybrid collaboration requires some basic virtual skills to work for all – all employees need to know the essential functions in Teams, Zoom, or your preferred communication program to engage. On top of this, Teams has many more features to use. Several virtual collaboration tools are developed to support various kinds of work in a virtual world with visualization, planning, and documentation, e.g., Miro, SessionLab, etc.

In short, the better the employees know how to use collaboration tools, the smoother it can run – but it might take some training to get everybody there.

Another element is how an organization ensures continuous learning and development in general in a hybrid setup where we might get less inspiration or help to grow from the colleagues sitting next to us. Hence, knowledge sharing and onboarding will be important areas to plan for in this dimension.

People – making hybrid collaboration more human
Hybrid collaboration involves significant changes to the way many people work – and work together.

Working virtually and out of the home office can be flexible and is attractive to many. But, at the same time, remote work involves a range of barriers to collaboration, ranging from physical, technological, and emotional distance that we need to deal with. Finally, studies show that we miss face-to-face relations with colleagues and leaders, and many employees cannot wait to return to the office (at least some days a week).

As with all significant transformations, we must pay careful attention to the people involved in the change needed to do hybrid collaboration, both in the transition phase and in the long run.

The people dimension highlights the individual’s engagement, how they can stay connected and engaged, the team as a place of belonging with a high degree of trust, and the leadership required to lead at a distance.

Individual engagement (at work)

Hybrid work has been a godsend for some employees for whom work has become more flexible and easier to combine with family logistics or has created space for introvert preferences and profound work. On the other hand, remote collaboration and the many hours alone at the home office can be mentally exhausting. In addition, the lack of face-to-face interactions with colleagues might cause less engagement at work.

Therefore, it is imperative to help the individual design their work in a way that fosters energy and engagement by focusing on equipping individuals to manage their engagement.


Leadership at a distance is an integrated part of the hybrid collaboration, as we are not together at the office every day. Therefore, mastering this discipline is key to success.

Successful leadership at a distance involves staying connected to employees, creating motivation, keeping an overview of performance, and setting the direction of a team. It requires something different than if we meet daily.


For most people, it is essential to have a sense of belonging to someone, a workplace you are proud of, a team that supports you, or a group of colleagues that you share a professional passion with. This is why teaming is the third element of the people dimension.

A strong team can perform together and maintain a high level of engagement. They typically have a high degree of trust, a clear purpose and goal, commitment, and hold each other accountable. Some things can be handled in virtual or hybrid meetings or through an informal Slack, Yammer, or WhatsApp channel. At other times, we need to meet; to succeed, we must know when to do what.

Finally, an area of awareness is the informal touchpoints that, to some extent, have disappeared. They no longer happen by accident, as the shared coffee machine as a natural trigger of random meetings is gone. Yet, these spontaneous meetings help us stay connected, share relevant knowledge, and are aware of each other’s well-being, and we know that many people miss them.

This calls for alternative ways to connect informally. We have seen many examples, from informal weekly team check-ins, a note with names to call while driving, and Excel sheets that randomly choose a name or a walk and talk with a colleague on the phone – all ideas for how to stay connected and energized.

In conclusion

We hope that this article has provided you with a better understanding of which dimensions you and your organization should focus on if you want to start fully utilizing the benefits of hybrid collaboration.

If you are curious about how we work with the different dimensions, or if you want to run a more thorough assessment of your organization, please do not hesitate to reach us at