Editor’s note: Bruce Hutchison is the senior customer insight and marketing executive at State Farm. This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on QRCA.org, the network for industry professionals, under the title “Hybrid and Remote Working: Creating a Level Playing Field.”

Growing up in a Navy family had us moving every two to three years during my early school days. As a result, I had a lot of experience being the new kid in class. My typical questions were along these lines: Is anyone else new here? Are there groups that always talk and play together? Who does the teacher already know? Why are so many things different from my last school?

Many are referring to today’s working environment as the big reset. Just like the new kid finding their way in a new school, employees today have similar challenges as their companies struggle to build a meaningful culture. Often the working environment can have a complex mix of hybrid, remote and full-time in-office schedules.

So, is there such a thing as a level playing field for learning, productivity and career advancement? Can companies build a workplace of inclusion and take it to a higher level of belonging? Sometimes it feels like a new wave of change, or a troubling national event, is splashing ashore time after time with only the briefest respite. Quite frankly, this can be exhausting, but we know there are answers. Our challenge will be to utilize a variety of skills, including research, to find them.

Country singer Martina McBride captured it well when she sang, “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden. Along with the sunshine, there's gotta be a little rain sometime.” 

We’re in a time of historic economic, social and geopolitical change. For those of us with leadership mindsets/responsibilities, this should define a time of promising opportunity to try new things, being open to all feedback, to edit, ad...