the “phygital” merges telework and face-to-face

VSome people don’t like to choose. So as not to be torn any more, Jean-Pascal has decided to love everything and its opposite at the same time: he keeps his food in the “oven”, spends his holidays in “Bretarmandia” when he goes near Mont-Saint-Michel, listen acoustic metal, also appreciates symphony orchestras a capella and strongly believes in the future development of powder water. One fine morning, torn by the song Should I Stay or Should I Go of The Clash in the shower, he decides not to choose between finding his colleagues and teleworking: through this founding act, he has just entered the matrix of “phygital”.

The portmanteau has the air of a journey between two worlds that everything opposes: “physical” versus “digital”, material versus intangible, office versus teleworking …

It comes from marketing and was filed in 2013 by the Australian agency Momentum. A phygital store is a more profitable physical point of sale because it integrates digital methods. A touch screen to help you find your way around a sprawling shopping center, an order terminal in a fast-food restaurant, a QR code on certain products to find out if they contain sulphites or nitrites, a “click and collect” order … This round trip, unimaginable ten years ago, has become commonplace.

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In management also phygital defends the idea that opposites can be harmonized and allow employees to be more efficient. If the beginnings were strewn with false notes, many companies had to cobble together, in 2020, a managerial model composed of a dose of face-to-face and another of distance, a lot of Zoom, a few meeting rooms and ‘a hint of WhatsApp.

Sandra, “chief phygital officer”

So, would phygital only be a compromise, a “lesser evil” preferable to the worst, as the philosopher Machiavelli (1469-1527) liked to seek? If we see the glass half full, it is on the contrary a question of extracting the “best of both worlds” by creating consistency. According to professor of management Isabelle Barth, phygital allows“Offer the employee an increased quality of life at work”.

Its strength would be adaptation and its ability to personalize the work according to the skills and affinities of each person. Is there any work at my place? I am going to the office. Oh, but are there already too many people in the office today? No problem, I’ll go to a coworking space! The choice of working mode can also be made according to the employee’s activity: for example, a salesperson does not necessarily need the presence of his colleagues to be efficient.

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