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Navigating the New Normal: Public Servants and the Impact of Hybrid Work

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Hybrid work options have completely changed how so many public servants operate on a day-to-day basis. When I started my career in the public service over a decade ago, I couldn’t have imagined the concept of working from my kitchen table, instead of my cubicle in downtown Edmonton. Hybrid work options have so many benefits for public servants – more efficient time management, better work-life balance – and many of us have found that we can do our jobs just as easily from our homes as our offices.

However, the dependence on technology that is required when you are working remotely comes with its own challenges. Sending an instant message or chatting over videocalls rarely offers the same opportunities for connections as when we meet with our colleagues in person. I started a new position early in the pandemic and missed out on the chance to meet with my co-workers in person, which made it incredibly difficult to connect with them on a personal level, which is so critical to producing quality work as a team.

Getting out of your comfort zone to initiate face-to-face interactions can be intimidating, especially when we typically default to connecting online, but those in-person interactions are so valuable to expanding your networks and advancing your career. Inviting a colleague to go for coffee or offering an in-person meeting is a great way to deepen relationships that can result in benefits for your career growth and your feeling of connection to your workplace. It may be more time-consuming and can be emotionally taxing, so find a way to ease back into these in-person interactions in a way that is comfortable and feels natural to your workstyle. Having a change in scenery and a reason to leave your computer can be something to look forward to and forces you to take a break from staring at your computer screen. The public sector can be overwhelming to navigate, but finding strategies to develop meaningful relationships with your colleagues can play a huge role in advancing your career and connecting you with the right resources.

Challenge yourself to jump back into in-person events by attending IPAC’s upcoming event with her Honourable Salma Lakhani, Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor, on November 14, 2023 – we hope to see you there!

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