Reentering the (New, Hybrid) Workforce

Sep 7, 2023

I was going for a lunchtime walk in the park with a good friend of mine last week when she mentioned she had just started job hunting.

About two years ago, she quit her full-time, in-office marketing job and decided to try her hand at freelancing. She loved the flexibility and work-from-home setup that freelancing was providing, she said, but she missed having colleagues and—perhaps most crucially—she found going it alone to be stressful and unpredictable.

“The ideal arrangement,” she said, “would be a permanent-hybrid position. Like a permalancer, with hours that I dictate myself.”

Certainly sounded ideal, I thought. Then I remembered that another friend of mine mentioned this past spring that she was itching to get back into the workforce after many years away. But she didn’t know where to start, since the last time she’d been employed was long before the Covid pandemic. I remember she told me: “I’d love to keep some autonomy in my days and have the opportunity to work from both home and the office. But what kinds of jobs are out there that would provide this kind of flexibility?”

Well, thanks to advancements in technology and updated workplace attitudes, exactly these kinds of flexible workplaces are the way of the future. The one silver lining of Covid is that it permanently changed our views on work—how and where it’s done, and by whom. Many companies are either offering the kind of positions my friends are hoping to find, or they’re open to creating them. Gartner predicts that the number of global workers working hybrid will increase this year—to 39% by the end of the year, up from 37% from 2022. In the U.S., more workers will be hybrid than not, with 51% predicted to be hybrid by year end.

In light of this, I thought back to my friends. How does this new, flexible, hybrid workplace handle re-entrants into the workforce? My guess is that the transition will be more seamless, with more understanding of the balance between work and life, and the need for flexibility.

What do you think? What will it be like to reenter this workforce? Have you recently done it, or do you know someone who did?


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