Part of the Hybrid Work Success series: Rethinking a hierarchy of needs in the context of work — how a global pandemic changed the way we work, forever.

In a moment of reflection amidst all the pandemic induced change, I find myself asking how we move away from the adrenaline induced reactive motions to more strategic and enlightened thinking.  Perhaps the most radical of changes is the profound shift in work. The workforce, the workplace, the workspaces and the yes, even our own personal relationship with work. Understanding just how profound and lasting some of these changes are, I picture it in a re-defined hierarchy of needs.


Do you have the technology and tools to stay connected, securely?

Whether you were already a pro at using video conferencing and collaboration tools (Webex, Zoom, Slack, MSFT Teams, etc.) or you were scrambling to find free accounts and had to learn how to use the mute button – even our children are pros now. Somewhere along the way I also became IT support at home and the Comcast support line is on speed-dial.

Establishing a foundation of tech and tools that allow you to not only stay connected, but to productively work from anywhere, is critical. It was one thing to consider working remotely for a temporary amount of time, but fast forward months, then over the year mark? You need a real foundation of technology and tools to create, build and maintain a team. To hire, train and collaborate with people sitting across multiple time zones. To ensure that your data, applications and connections are in fact secure, and that you are safe from the barrage of malware and the latest phishing tactics. Whether you are running a speed test, checking the Wi-Fi coverage at home, or adding to your home office set up, we need to ensure that you have a foundation of tech and must-have tools to help you work anywhere, from home and even safely back in the office.

A strong core: How is your well-being?

From burnout to languishing to micro-dosing retreats and staycations

I’m not sure anyone anywhere in the world could have predicted the magnitude of the global pandemic back in March of 2020. But here we are, coming up on two years and words like ‘burnout’, ‘well-being’, ‘mental health’ and ‘languishing’ have taken on whole new meaning. One constant throughout all of this, change. The need to be flexible, open-minded and compassionate through the waves of news, datapoints and politics that continue to rain down on us.

If you didn’t think a support system was important pre-pandemic, surely you have come to think otherwise as we come out of it. Beyond your family and friends, many of us have gratefully called upon co-workers, neighbors, community members and even perfect strangers for the powerful reminders that humanity and hope are still alive and well. We have all been on our own journeys to understand how the pandemic has given our work-life equation a serious shake up.


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What is your relationship with…work?

Perhaps one of the most lasting changes of the pandemic is the dynamic between the employee and the employers. There is a radical change afoot in the way in which talent approaches their demands of the workplace – from the flexibility and empathy of their managers to the safety and security of the buildings and shared spaces that are required of an office environment.

The numbers are admittedly discouraging, and the headlines don’t need any added drama to catch your attention. We all have the right to ask and question ‘why’, ‘when’ and ‘what if’ to every new policy, standard and mandate that comes down from our organizations and managers. ‘Why are vaccinations mandatory?’, ‘when must I go into the office?’, ‘what if I’m not comfortable traveling for work?’. While many of us wonder if our pandemic-evolved values line up with our  company’s, there is an entire new generation of workers entering the workforce with no reference point to the concept of ‘on-the-job training’ or understand the concept of a hallway conversation or ‘watercooler’ talk. How will we rewrite the rules and policies to bring people safely back together? How will resumes read during this period of time when we are all figuring it out and rewriting the rules and policies? What will be lost, how much has been gained?


Enjoying the journey

For me, it has always been important to enjoy the journey. Take the time to pause and take stock of the history in the making all around you and what your role and impact might be in it. What I value most in the constantly changing, pandemic-imposed ‘stop of the music’ are: flexibility, being supported at home and at work, knowing that we might in some small way be part of a larger community to help find a way for “hybrid work” to work better for all.

More from the Hybrid Work Success series:

Hybrid work: Revolution or evolution


Must-Have Tools for Hybrid (Remote) Work



Denise Lee

Vice President

Engineering Sustainability Office