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Coming to grips with the hybrid household

The pandemic forced people to adapt to working from home amid family members and confused pets who were not used to having to share their space

Last week I wrote about the rise of the hybrid human from the perspective of working, this week let’s chat about the realities of waking up one morning to discover one of these strange beings living under your roof.

As I have alluded to many times in the past, humans adapt to change at different rates but we all, more or less, fall into one of three groups – early adaptors, fence-sitters and resisters.

Prior to the spring of 2020, work life and home life were two very different things. And if we wanted a happy home life, we didn’t bring work home very often, if ever.

What the pandemic did, was accelerate trends in human behaviour that were already starting to emerge in some professions and force them in to wide-scale adoption, albeit at an uneven rate.

This resulted in a turbulent makeshift transition in many respects, as people struggled to try to adapt to change and get work done on the fly from dwellings that were not properly laid out for this purpose. Worse, they had to do it amid family members and confused pets who were not used to having to share their space or surrender their precious internet access because they were eating into the household bandwidth during peak Zoom meeting hours.

But that was two years ago.

By now you would think that we would have it all figured out … but do we?

Raise your hand if, in your household, you are still trying to work out who is working from home next week and whose turn it is to carpool the kids?

How you are supposed to eat a family meal together when everyone is operating on a different schedule, and no one can even agree whether it should be home-cooked or takeout?

Another issue that has likely cropped up for some: is it better to fly home or just explore the city you are currently in during the 48-hour gap between the end of your current assignment and the start of your next consulting gig?

Will you have to FaceTime with your kids on the commute to the airport before they all go to sleep?

As always, real-world dilemmas require real-world solutions but I am starting to wonder whether we are yet clear on what we are all in the process of becoming.

Perhaps part of the challenge here is that we still cannot agree what the attributes of the hybrid human – or even hybrid work – actually are, and we’re still clinging to the notion that only some people are affected by all of this.

Perhaps what we are all missing about this transition is that it is not just the employed adult members of the family who are caught up in this change.

Perhaps, in a couple more years, what we will realise is that we are becoming a society of hybrid-human workers, hybrid-human kids, hybrid-human parents, hybrid-human grannies etc.

In other words, perhaps we would find adapting to change easier now if we realised that no one is exempt; that everyone, of every age, at every level of society is in the midst of a transformational journey unlike any before which will permanently alter and vastly accelerate the course of human development.

Robin Trimingham is the managing director of The Olderhood Group Ltd and a business consultant, journalist, podcaster and thought leader in the fields of life transition and change management. Connect with Robin at https://bit.ly/3nSMlvc or robin@olderhood.com

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Published June 21, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated June 20, 2022 at 12:41 pm)

Coming to grips with the hybrid household

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