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One Reason Your Team Still Isn't Happy with Hybrid Work

March 07, 2024

  • Kolbe A™ Index
  • Teams

Hybrid work has become less a trend and more a reality. But the workers who asked for it still aren’t content, and here’s at least one clear explanation. 

We’re far enough into the trend of hybrid working that it can hardly be called a trend anymore.  

According to Gallup, over half of remote-capable jobs in the US have adopted the hybrid model (with another 27% becoming exclusively remote). That’s a huge shift in the average American workspace, seemingly for the benefit of American workers. 


According to the New York Times, many workers are “less connected and less happy than they have ever been.” 

So, what gives?  


Of course, there are many nuanced theories that come into play with any major cultural shift. But we’re still in the early stages of the hybrid workplace, and that means we’re a long way from fully understanding the implications. What we know right now, however, is this: 

If you don’t put the right people in the right roles that fit their needs, it simply doesn’t matter if they’re working from home or at the office. 

To understand what we mean here, it helps to understand that there are 3 parts of the mind: 

Cognitive (thinking) – This part of your mind defines your “intelligence.” It grows as you learn and is ever-changing.  

Affective (feeling) – A person’s affective mind includes their personality, emotions, and preferences.  

Conative (doing) – Your conative mind contains the instincts and innate attributes that define your natural method of operation (MO). 

In most instances, a move to hybrid work mainly takes the affective part of your mind into consideration. Most workers state they prefer it, and going back to the old ways is a potentially difficult path for companies to take at this point. 

You may have to learn some new skills in terms of the technology used to support the hybrid process, but in most of these situations there’s not a huge difference in impact on the cognitive part of the mind, particularly as company protocols evolve and adapt to a modern environment. 

But the part of the mind that is far too often overlooked, the conative part, can play a very big role in worker satisfaction. 


We all have different natural ways of solving problems and taking action. Again, this is different than our personal preferences or acquired skills. So no matter how smart and motivated an employee is, they will struggle or burn out over time if forced to work against the way they instinctively do things. 

If you don’t understand how your team members share and gather information, how they organize, how they deal with risk and uncertainty or how they handle space and tangibles, there’s a good chance you have a team filled with people who are stressed out and less productive than they could be if free to be themselves. No matter how much a hybrid work model may seem like a solution to all of their problems, it just won’t change their reality if they are constantly working against their way of doing things. 

It’s like forcing a right-handed person to write with their left hand more often than not. Sure, they will get better at writing with the wrong hand over time; but they won’t be as effective or content. With a hybrid work model that isn’t strengths-based, you’re still making your team write with the wrong hand — they’re just doing it at home instead! 


Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to address this issue: 

  1. Take the Kolbe A™ Index. It’s the only assessment that measures your instinctive strengths, and it comes with an 18-page report that will break down how to maximize your strengths. Then, help those with whom you work to discover the ways they naturally take action as well.
  2. Set up your at-home workspace to accommodate your natural strengths. Your workspace can complement those needs and enable you to thrive, or it can be distracting and slow you down. Even if you can’t create the perfect home office, you can make adjustments to help you find the freedom to be yourself. If you need to work with more space and tangibles, use a standing desk and give yourself an outdoor option from which to work. If an organizational system is key to how you take action, have your workspace at home reflect that need!
  3. Incorporate your needs into your at-home routine (as well as at work). Some people instinctively work better when collaborating with others than alone. If that’s you (they’re called Facilitators), work to ensure you’ve kept communication lines open through the various avenues available. Schedule time to work with key people in person when you’re both at the office. If you’re someone who needs details and to ask questions, don’t abandon those needs simply because you’re not physically present at the office.  

Take a proactive approach to understanding the natural ways you take action and work those into your schedule. Consider the needs of others and make sure those are being met both at home and at the office as well. 

Remember, your instinctual needs don’t change because of where you happen to be working. With the right information, you can set everyone up for success both at home and in the office. 

The hybrid model was set up to deliver the best of both worlds. But to fully capitalize on it and to create sustainable employee engagement, you need to cater to all parts of the mind. Discover your teams’ strengths and lean into them, and you’ll find everyone is more engaged, more productive and less stressed, both at home and at the office! 

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  • Kolbe A™ Index
  • Teams


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