Common Key Mistakes in Hybrid Work and How to Avoid Them

Erica Dhawan
4 min readSep 6, 2022

I’ll never forget a meeting I once had with, Michelle, a senior executive at a large company. It took five emails, two follow-ups, and one confirmation call with her assistant to find a time that fit her calendar. I showed up at the appointed time. Nearly ten minutes later, Michelle walked into the room, greeted me, and immediately said, “You picked the worst time for this meeting. I have a big presentation I have to give later today.” I offered to reschedule, but instead Michelle asked her colleague to come in and take her place in the meeting while she stayed there prepping for her next meeting on her phone.

The whole situation was bizarre. I felt more disrespected by Michelle sitting in the room on her phone than I would have if she had just excused herself and allowed her colleague to take the meeting. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Jim, the great employee I had once almost lost. That feeling of being undervalued and disrespected stays with you. Why would I ever recommend Michelle to anyone in my own network? Who knows how many great opportunities she’s lost over the years as a result of treating others so poorly?

Moreover, in the hybrid world, it sometimes seems like we have too many options and an equal number of opportunities for potential disaster. When should we email, and when is it better to text? When is a phone call expected? How long should we wait before replying to a message? What’s the right time frame for digital thank-yous or apologies?

Too soon and we risk seeming slipshod or insincere; too late and we risk coming across as unfeeling. Do digital thank-yous and apologies carry as much weight and import as those delivered in person or by phone? Today, it’s no longer safe to assume that someone “gets what we mean.” That also includes whether they feel we are valuing them visibly or not.

With that being said, I want to tell you the four common behaviors that dilute feelings of being valued — and eventually negatively impact our work — in a hybrid workplace.

  1. Being in a rush. We’re all busy! That doesn’t give you a license to send messages without proofreading, speed through a video call so you can get to the next one, or fail to check in with your team about progress, concerns, or even just their day. Slowing…
Erica Dhawan

Keynote Speaker on 21st Century Teamwork and Innovation. Author, GET BIG THINGS DONE and DIGITAL BODY LANGUAGE (ORDER HERE: