hybrid working tools, including a keyboard, tablet, and stylus

Case Study: Enabling Hybrid Work at a National Grocery Chain

How might we prepare leaders and employees at a national grocery chain, a traditionally in-person working environment, to adapt and navigate in a new hybrid work environment?

hybrid working tools, including a keyboard, tablet, and stylus
At A Glance:

National Grocery Chain

10 weeks

Culture of Innovation

Cross-Functional Senior Leadership

HR + People Team

“Wow…what a great [virtual session]! I really wanted to just take a minute to let you know that I enjoyed working with all of you. It sure was very different in how we have done meetings in the past. I have to say that I have learned a lot from the virtual meeting. I was a little skeptical at first, however watching the flow of things and how everything came together was great.”

Organizational Leader

The Challenge:

An essential business during a global pandemic, our grocery supermarket chain client was highly capable of solving complex challenges…when working in-person. With a culture steeped in personal relationships and in-person collaboration, adapting to hybrid work seemed daunting. They engaged us to help navigate their flexible work strategy and better prepare their leaders and employees for this new working environment.

The Solution:


During the first four weeks, we conducted a rigorous audit of the current state to understand how the organization had been adapting to hybrid change, the key challenges they faced, and the concerns they had going forward. Our research included 14 one-on-one interviews with a cross-section of managers, directors, and executives; a review of all-employee surveys; and a deep dive on hybrid trends across industries, organizations, and employee populations. We then synthesized and shared our research insights with the executive team in a series of strategy co-creation sessions that helped model different scenarios and decision making around policies and working models.


During our four-week design phase, we curated and customized 15 tools and frameworks into a Hybrid Work Toolkit, which was based on the specific leadership needs: Teaming, Gathering, Creating, and Connecting. Building on ideas for new cultural norms from a company-wide “hackathon” that we had hosted for the team previously, the toolkit was designed as a living document that will continue to evolve along with the needs of the organization.


In the final two weeks of the project, we facilitated a 5-hour virtual leadership summit to align on hybrid culture priorities, reclaim the narrative around flexible work, and introduce and onboard leaders to the change journey. The event helped demonstrate that work can still feel personal and productive, even when remote. Along with the toolkit, the event helped build leaders’ confidence and competency as they began transitioning to hybrid work.

The Results

  • 250 top leaders trained on managing in hybrid environments
  • 15 tools for hybrid work were scaled across the organization
  • A customized Hybrid Work Toolkit supported leaders as they adapted to remote and hybrid work
  • 400 employees participated in a “hybrid work hackathon”
  • Defined the organization’s optimal “flexible work” environment
  • Bolstered ELT and leadership confidence by helping them redefine their leadership style in this new environment
Hybrid Toolkit Examples
Our Hybrid Work Toolkit included instructions and examples for 15 tools and frameworks to support leaders in a hybrid work environment.
Spark your interest?
The Design Gym
[email protected]

The Design Gym is a strategy and innovation consultancy helping leaders to grow their business by fully unlocking the power of their most important advantage: their people. We work at the intersection of business strategy, experience design, and change management to engage the people that matter most to your work: your customers, your leaders, and your employees. See something that resonates with a project or challenge you're working on? Shoot us a note at [email protected].

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