How the Hybrid Workplace Affects Collaborative Practices

About the Project

The Partnership and Community Collaboration Academy is working with Victoria Henk, a Master’s degree candidate, on a capstone research project in Spring 2023.

Victoria is enrolled in the USC Masters of Science in Applied Psychology. This professional program draws on theory and practice from organizational and consumer psychology. Graduate students apply psychological principles to inform key business practices, such as workforce management, marketing, business analytics, organizational development and culture.

As part of the degree requirements, graduate students complete an internship and capstone research project with an external partner. The capstone project provides an opportunity for students to design and conduct research that is responsive to business needs and informs decisions on internal and external communication.

Following a successful internship in 2022, the Academy is pleased to continue working with Victoria on this research project towards the completion of her degree.

Research Focus

The Covid-19 pandemic prompted fundamental changes in federal workplace practices starting in Spring 2020. In addition to a sudden shift from primarily onsite to primarily online/telework workspaces, the government rapidly adopted collaborative technologies such as MS Teams and Zoom, to support internal teamwork and external partnerships. 

Starting in 2021, many federal employees who had been teleworking began returning to onsite offices and spaces, but guidance and requirements have varied among departments, agencies, regions and job responsibilities. Instead of a “return to normal”, federal employees are navigating another new space—the hybrid workplace. Expectations continue to evolve regarding what collaboration, teamwork and public engagement look like in practice when some people are onsite, and others are online.

There is a small but growing body of research on pandemic impacts on internal teamwork and hybrid workplace practices for the general public and certain sectors. The Academy is curious to take this research to the next step and explore how the shift to telework and the hybrid workplace is affecting federal agencies’ ability to collaborate effectively with partners and the public. While casual conversations have provided anecdotal information, qualitative data will identify emerging trends, gaps, and best practices.

This research project aims to provide insight into how the hybrid workplace and culture are affecting collaboration among federal agencies working in resource management. Some of the project’s key research questions include:

  1. How is the shift to a hybrid workplace affecting collaboration practices and results of federal agencies working with external partners?
  2. What special skills, competencies, practices and tools are essential for successful collaboration with external partners when working in a hybrid workplace?
  3. Looking ahead, what are the key trends or issues facing federal agencies as they strive to successfully partner in this “new normal” hybrid workplace? Is it here to stay?

Research findings will be shared with study participants and the Academy’s community of practice later this year.

Study Participation

  • Participation in this study is completely voluntary.
  • Responses to open-ended survey questions will be submitted through a secure online form.
  • Survey responses are confidential.
  • Completing the survey questions will take 20 – 30 minutes, and there is no need to prepare.
  • Survey participants are asked to please submit their responses by February 17th.


For more information, please contact Leigh Goldberg, Victoria’s Advisor and the Academy’s Senior Program Manager, at .


Victoria Henk

USC Masters Candidate, Applied Psychology
Meet Victoria on LinkedIn

Leigh Goldberg

Senior Program Manager
Partnership and Community Collaboration Academy

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