20 | Pitfalls of hybrid work – Karoliina Jarenko

In the 20th episode of Better Monday podcast, Milla and her guest Karoliina Jarenko dive deeper into the meaning of hybrid work and its common dilemmas. Karoliina calls herself “The Handy Mandy of future work-life” as she has a very diverse background in consulting and organisational development. From this perspective, she shares her best tips on how to avoid desocialization and embrace humanity in the new era of hybrid workplaces.

Karoliina Jarenko

According to Karoliina, the future of work is human

“I guess the big transformation is that the value of human work will be more and more based on humanity and creativity: thinking of each other, being there, taking care, and influencing each other. The value of human work will be based on human stuff and less and less on human machines doing routine work. In other words, human work will be created through the interplay of heart, mind and brain. We need to obey our inspiration more, and thats a huge shift in everyday work-life practices.”

Our work time management systems need a reboot

Unfortunately, our mindsets are still stuck in the era of factory work: even though most of us do knowledge work, we have fixed working hours, working shifts and the goal to keep the “production line” of value running evenly. We think that we humans are supposed to produce in a stable, predictable manner, even though our brains don’t operate in that way. We have bursts of inspiration and energetic phases throughout the day and week, which is why we are not able to work effectively from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.  

Perhaps hybrid work is the answer for embracing our humanity?

With hybrid work, we get the best of both worlds: we get to spend time at home, follow our personal energy cycles, and concentrate on our work. Then we also get to meet other people and spend time with them. “I wish companies would use this transformation as an opportunity to give their employees the permission to practice self-leadership in a more courageous manner”, Karoliina concludes. 

To Karoliina’s mind, the most common pitfall of hybrid work is the lack of connection and communality: 

“Even though we had 18 months of practice, I don’t think we became that good in enhancing relationships, psychological safety and the emotional atmosphere through online means. This is something we want to fix when we get to meet each other and work in a physical environment.”

Karoliina’s tips for making the most out of hybrid work

  1. Slack or Teams (or any other virtual meeting application) should be your primary office.
  2. Have all meetings remote-first whenever there is even one person attending remotely.
  3. Talk about hybrid work and how is it going: is information flowing? How is everybody doing?

More info about Karoliina Jarenko and the episode

Highlights of the episode:

  • 3:40 What makes a Better Monday for Karoliina (and Milla!)?
  • 7:35 Who is Karoliina Jarenko?
  • 10:45 What does the future of work look like?
  • 20:00 Why is hybrid work said to be the new normal?
  • 29:40 Pitfalls of hybrid work
  • 38:10 How to support employees’ work-life balance and happiness at work?
  • 43:30 How does Karoliina take care of herself and her work-life balance?
  • 47:45 One thing that makes a company a better employer than others?

Karoliina’s LinkedIn

Karoliina’s web page

Lynda Gratton’s study