HR Leader logo
Stay connected.   Subscribe  to our newsletter

The evolving landscape of flexible work

By Gleb Tsipursky | |8 minute read

In a rapidly changing work environment, how are forward-looking companies adapting to the newly flexible workplace? This article blends insights from leaders across several organisations to provide a comprehensive view of the future of work: Prakash Arunkundrum, chief operating officer of Logitech; Heather Strbiak, chief human resources officer at Optiv; Michelle Lindgren, vice-president of workplace strategy and innovation at a large bank; and Sandi MacDonald, former global VP of human resources for Magna Exteriors.

Empowerment and trust: A common theme

Prakash Arunkundrum’s insights into Logitech’s approach to hybrid work highlight flexible “gravity days” and a non-mandatory approach to office attendance, which not only supports operational efficiency but also fosters a culture of innovation and creativity. By providing employees the flexibility to choose their work environment – be it at home, in the office, or a blend of both – Logitech aims to harness the best of both worlds. This approach was co-created between company leaders and employees and is underpinned by the belief that employee wellbeing and freedom are crucial drivers of organisational success.


Michelle Lindgren at Wells Fargo echoes this sentiment, emphasising the empowerment and trust that come with flexible work arrangements. She recognises that when employees are given the choice to work in environments that suit their personal and professional needs, they feel more valued and trusted. This sense of empowerment leads to a more engaged workforce, which, in turn, enhances productivity and innovation. Lindgren also points out the importance of clear communication and definition of what flexibility means within the organisation, ensuring that employees understand their options and the expectations associated with them.

Similarly, Sandi MacDonald from Magna International and Heather Strbiak of Optiv have shared how giving employees autonomy in their work environments leads to significant benefits. MacDonald discusses the expansion of the talent pool as a result of flexible work practices. This approach not only attracts a diverse range of skills and experiences but also supports initiatives in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Strbiak’s experience at Optiv further reinforces this, as its remote work model has led to a more satisfied workforce, with the flexibility offered being a key factor in retaining and attracting talent.

Navigating flexible work: Challenges and solutions

Lindgren’s emphasis at Wells Fargo on defining “flexible work” clearly is crucial. It’s not just about allowing employees to work remotely or in a hybrid model; it’s about understanding the nuances of what flexibility means for different roles within the organisation. This includes specifying which roles are eligible for remote work, the expected office days for hybrid workers, and how flexibility impacts work hours and productivity expectations.

Similarly, Arunkundrum at Logitech points out the importance of a clear framework for their hybrid work model. Logitech’s approach of not mandating office attendance but creating “gravity days” for collaboration and social interaction requires a well-thought-out policy that informs employees about when and how they can utilise these options.

Effective communication and comprehensive policy setting are vital to implementing these flexible work models successfully. Both Lindgren and Arunkundrum emphasise the need for detailed internal communication strategies that can address employee queries, provide clarity on the new work norms, and set expectations right from the start. This involves regular updates, accessible guides or manuals, and open channels for feedback and questions.

MacDonald from Magna International raises the challenge of flexible work in traditionally less flexible roles, like manufacturing operations. Her perspective brings to light the need for industry-specific solutions that can cater to the diverse needs of different job functions within the same organisation.

Strbiak’s experience at Optiv highlights the challenges in managing a dispersed workforce. Maintaining company culture, ensuring consistent communication, and fostering team collaboration become more complex in a remote or hybrid set-up. Strbiak underlines the importance of investing in digital tools and platforms that facilitate seamless communication and collaboration across different locations and time zones.

Addressing specific challenges

So, how do you address these challenges? In a brief interlude, here’s what I learnt from helping over two dozen companies figure out their own flexible work models.

One significant challenge is ensuring that the company culture permeates through the virtual workspace. Regular virtual team-building activities, online workshops, and digital “water cooler” spaces can help maintain a sense of community and belonging among remote employees.

Adapting performance management systems to suit flexible work arrangements is another challenge. Companies need to evolve from measuring performance based on visibility to focusing on output and results. This shift requires retraining managers and redefining performance metrics.

Ensuring that all employees, irrespective of their work location, have equal opportunities for growth and visibility is critical. This includes fair access to projects, learning and development programs, and promotions.

The blurring of work/life boundaries in remote settings can lead to burnout and mental health issues. Organisations need to recognise these challenges and provide support through wellness programs, flexible schedules, and mental health days.

The future of flexible work

Going back to the four interview subjects, how do they see the future of flexible work? Lindgren’s aspiration for Wells Fargo encompasses a scenario where employees enjoy the liberty to choose their work location – be it their home, a summer house, or a traditional office setting. This freedom is pivotal in recognising that work is an activity, not a place. This philosophy is increasingly becoming the norm, as companies recognise the diverse needs and preferences of their workforce. It’s not just about offering remote work but about offering a choice and trusting employees to decide where they perform best.

MacDonald’s observations at Magna International highlight a generational shift in workplace expectations. Younger generations entering the workforce are seeking not just jobs but also lifestyles. They value work/life balance, flexibility in working hours, and the ability to work from locations that suit their personal and professional lives. This shift necessitates a rethinking of traditional work models, moving towards a more fluid, less location-bound approach.

Optiv and Logitech are at the forefront of this shift, implementing hybrid models that are responsive to employee needs while maintaining operational efficiency. Optiv’s remote work model, for instance, acknowledges the benefits of remote working in attracting a diverse talent pool and fostering employee satisfaction. Logitech’s “gravity days” concept, where the office acts as a magnet on specific days for collaboration and social interaction, is another innovative approach that blends the benefits of both remote and in-office work.

A key enabler of this future is technology, as Arunkundrum points out. Digital tools for communication, collaboration, and productivity are essential in a flexible work environment. Companies are investing in technologies that make remote work seamless and secure, ensuring employees can collaborate effectively regardless of location.


The insights from Logitech, Wells Fargo, Optiv, and Magna International paint a vivid picture of the future workplace. It’s a landscape characterised by empowerment, trust, clear communication, and a focus on employee wellbeing. As businesses continue to navigate the complexities of hybrid and remote work models, these lessons offer valuable guidance for creating a work environment that is both productive and fulfilling for the modern workforce.

Gleb Tsipursky is the chief executive at Disaster Avoidance Experts.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.