Dive deep into the future of work as Rob Sadow, CEO of Scoop and mastermind behind the Flex Index, unveils fresh research on Fortune 500 hybrid work trends.
In our inaugural episode, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Rob Sadow to discuss hybrid work trends and insights. Rob Sadow is the CEO and co-founder of Scoop, a software company dedicated to helping hybrid teams navigate the complexities of remote and in-person work. He also created the Flex Index, a groundbreaking tool that tracks trends in return-to-office strategies across various regions, industries, and company sizes.
Rob Sadow emphasizes that the ongoing debate surrounding work location flexibility reflects the importance and relevance of the evolving hybrid work model. While some individuals strongly favor fully remote work, others emphasize the significance of returning to the office on a full-time basis. However, Rob Sadow believes the majority of people fall somewhere in between, seeking a balance between in-person and remote work.
Rob Sadow explained that large companies have already embraced hybrid work by offering their teams the freedom to customize their work arrangements. Research from the Flex Index has shown a positive correlation between the level of work flexibility and headcount growth within companies. Rob Sadow explained that the result is companies that prioritize flexibility are driving economic return and, in turn, inspiring others to adopt flexible work practices to remain competitive.
Rob Sadow acknowledged that evaluating productivity in different work environments is a complex issue, and the remote vs. in-office productivity debate continues to divide opinions. He sees productivity variation stemming from individual factors such as personality, role, and seniority, rather than solely from the work environment.
However, he pointed out that productivity discussions often serve as excuses rather than exploring concrete solutions. Achieving consensus on productivity measurements would be beneficial in settling the debate and guiding companies toward effective practices.
“The joke is, I wish I had an answer on productivity, because I feel like that really gets thrown around all over the place.” - Rob Sadow, CEO and co-founder of Scoop
In a hybrid work environment, Rob Sadow said that managers must adapt to the challenges induced by remote and in-person collaboration. Coordinating and aligning hybrid teams, building virtual relationships, and managing outcomes instead of physical presence become essential skills for managers.
“Hybrid work is harder than full-time in-office work. It requires better managers.” - Rob Sadow, CEO and co-founder of Scoop
Rob Sadow emphasized that the traditional reliance on drive-by conversations and water cooler interactions must make way for intentional involvement of remote team members in decision-making and communication. He pointed out documentation becoming a crucial tool for capturing decisions and providing context, given the varying flow of information and discussions in hybrid work settings. Managers may also require additional support and training to navigate their augmented role in the hybrid work era.
Rob Sadow acknowledged that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can play a significant role in enhancing productivity and efficiency in hybrid work environments. AI-powered tools can record conversations, summarize them into actionable items, and distribute them to team members, which he believes lead to improved efficiency.
“The ability to record conversation, distill conversation, turn that into action items, and spread that out to a team - that's going to become really important in hybrid environments. AI is really well situated to do those types of things.” - Rob Sadow, CEO and co-founder of Scoop
Additionally, AI-powered reminders ensure important tasks and deadlines are not overlooked. As technology advances, Rob Sadow sees AI continuing to evolve and provide valuable support to managers and team members in navigating the nuances of hybrid work models.
Rob Sadow attributed understanding the preferences and needs of individual employees to creating effective hybrid work arrangements. Based on research from the Flex Index, he shared that smaller companies tend to offer more location flexibility and allow employees to choose how often they work in the office. On the other hand, larger companies often implement structured hybrid models that set specific expectations for in-office attendance.
Rob Sadow explained that it is important to avoid oversubscribed and unproductive days resulting from company-wide mandates. He believes larger companies should allow teams to customize their hybrid work arrangements based on discussion and alignment within the team instead. Flexibility should remain a priority as employees' needs and preferences evolve over time.
Rob Sadow believes that the debate around returning to the office is becoming less relevant, as data from the Flex Index suggests that flexibility will continue to shape the future of work. He saw a trend showing that companies founded after 2011 are more likely to offer work location flexibility, indicating a lasting trend. Rather than focusing solely on work location, he asks companies, leaders, and teams to adapt their strategies and practices to maximize the value derived from hybrid work arrangements.
“The important frontier now is less about the where of work and much more about the how - the training, practices, and iterations needed to get full value from flexible work.” - Rob Sadow, CEO and co-founder of Scoop
Rob Sadow proposed tech solutions to help companies navigate hybrid work environments. Some of these include using Scoop's Flex Index and AI-powered tools to provide valuable guidance and support. Rob Sadow put an emphasis on prioritizing customization, flexibility, and effective management practices. By doing that, HR executives, Chief Technology Officers (CTOs), and Chief People Officers (CPOs) can unlock the true potential of hybrid work and drive productivity and well-being in their organizations.
Jenny is a top Go-To-Market (GTM) leader in the Greater Boston area, where she has a track record of building powerful brands and categories, generating demand (for both sales- and product-led orgs), and creating energizing mission-driven cultures of belonging in the B2B tech space.
Rob Sadow is the CEO and co-founder of Scoop, a software company that helps teams better coordinate hybrid work. He also created the Flex Index, a repository of company policies on location flexibility.