8 Questions to ask about coming back to (hybrid) work

Overheard on a recent Zoom call: “The last year has been the longest decade of my life.” And as we prepare for the thawing of COVID policies, we can’t expect things to ever be the same.
Thursday, June 24, 2021

Organizations and employees, while ensuring the arduous experience of never-ending video calls, have found some clear benefits to working remotely. Everyone agrees it’s very unlikely most of us will be going back to the office 9–5, Monday through Friday.

Workforces have become more agile in the new working environment we have developed. And employer’s are making greater commitments to supporting a positive work-life balance. But what are the policies and practices that should be considered in crafting a program for the new, post-COVID, work environment?

We suggest it’s not as simple as just alternating days to return to a desk. We’ve all discovered new tools, approaches, and ways of working that can be more productive and rewarding.

Applying the principles of Work Forward is a good place to begin. And to really dig in, you can work through the creative approach that Territory created with MURAL’s chief evangelist, Jim Kalbach, to plan for a hybrid work. Here is a link to the activity tool in MURAL you can use to help your organization and team plan for the new hybrid way of working. If you’d prefer a PDF, you can find it here.

And in the meantime, as a crib notes alternative, below is a set of 8 questions to be considered.


  1. What’s already in place?
    Conduct an initial assessment of where your organization stands in relation to hybrid collaboration. 
  2. What are our goals?
    Identify your goals (business, management, etc.) for hybrid collaboration. What do you hope to accomplish as an organization? Consider why your employees would want to incorporate hybrid collaboration. 
  3. Where do we start?
    Ideate key questions for each of the following 5 categories: 1) Workspace (place), 2) Products (e.g., collaboration tools), 3) Policy/Planning, 4) Processes/Practices, 5) People. Map to emergent themes. 
  4. Who do we focus on?
    Identify as many unique roles as you have in your group or organization and map into these 4 location categories:

    1. All Remote
    2. On Site – Once per month
    3. On Site – Once per week
    4. On Site – Full-time


  5. What tools do we have?
    Evaluate and discuss what space and tools will be required to successfully collaborate in a hybrid environment. Think about the requirements of safety, efficiency, comfort, culture, etc. 
  6. Where do we focus?
    Based upon the business processes you identified above, either: A) select one and identify all of the meeting types associated with completing the process. Or, B) Identify as many meeting types that you perform as possible across your organization. 
  7. What is it going to take?
    Using the principles and policies you’ve developed, clearly define each key principle or policy. 
  8. How will we know we are successful?
    Reflect on the challenges and themes you’ve identified in the previous questions. Identify a pain point and think about what idea, solution, principle or rule might solve for it. Determine the “job-to-be-done” that will be affected by the solution. 

Parker Lee

Parker Lee is the managing partner of Territory, a design consultancy, who has developed and led teams in transformation, design thinking, and business development for decades. Co-author of The Art of Opportunity, he has created and facilitated dozens of design and visual thinking engagements.

Share this post:

Explore more

Stay in the loop.