This post summarizes a longer article on hybrid work by Grant Shirk, originally published here.

When we only consider the short-term implications of a flexible, anywhere work environment, it’s easy to pigeonhole hybrid work as simply the natural transition of pandemic-forced remote work back to an office-centric model. The reality is far more complex, and far more valuable. 

While we’ve talked about the emergence of the hybrid workforce many times here on the Meraki blog, I believe that we’re just at the beginning of a new wave of disruptive thinking, organizational models, and market innovation. 

“This is what disruption looks like. It happens slowly at first, then very quickly. It seems impossible to imagine a different way to do things, then [suddenly] we’re doing things in a different way. Stay tuned for a whole new way to work.” 

– Steven Sinofsky, “Creating the Future of Work”

In a recent article, Steven Sinofsky argued, “the post-pandemic world will provide the impetus and tools to rethink the Corporation, and more broadly innovation.” He argues that while centralization was the primary strategic tool organizations used to scale in a post-World War II world, the advent of remote and hybrid workplaces is about to upend a half-century of business-model stagnation.

We see this disruption taking hold across our customer base, from the smallest start-up to the most innovative members of the Fortune 500. The lessons they have learned from remote work are informing more cohesive, effective, and innovative hybrid workplaces. Leaders seizing this opportunity are actively rethinking how their teams operate—and they’re quickly distancing themselves from the competition. 

The core enabler of this disruption is the network. Secure, flexible, and cloud-managed networks provide the platform IT teams need to not only do new things in new ways, but build exceptional experiences for employees and customers alike.

When we invest in a hybrid workforce, we’re investing in the disruptive innovators that will drive business forward. The ideas we can’t conceive of yet. The creative thinkers hiding in our teams, waiting for a catalyst to spur their emergence.

As you look ahead to the next few months, are you approaching this as a return to a new normal, or is your team stepping forward into a completely new era of corporate operations, and innovation? Your network might be more powerful than you think.