Although hybrid work was already a trend in the corporate world, the disruptive COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly created a permanent spot for it in our society. Now 44% of employees prefer hybrid work, while 51% of employers support it. 63% of high-revenue earning companies already use this model. But while it has perks, a hybrid working model isn’t all perfect. For example, it comes with communication barrier challenges and the risk of employee burnout. Here are hybrid work tips human resource professionals can use to prevent and alleviate such challenges.
What Is Hybrid Work?
As the name implies, hybrid work refers to a flexible work model where some employees work from home while others report to a regular office every day (or on specific days.) In other words, hybrid work blends standard in-office working and remote work models allowing teams freedom to choose whether they want to work from the office part or full-time. It also allows for certain employees to implement their work duties from home part or full-time. Some perks of a hybrid work model include:
- Increased productivity: Employees who work remotely feel trusted by their employers and, as a result, are often more productive.
- Improved employee satisfaction: A hybrid work environment allows employees the opportunity to set their work and life how they like it, which leads to fulfillment and better mental health.
- Reduced costs of operation: With fewer employees coming into the worksite, companies can reduce operational costs and the need for a large office space.
Seven Hybrid Work Tips To Help Everyone Feel Appreciated
There has been a growing concern that employees who work remotely might miss out on the opportunities and benefits their office-working counterparts enjoy. Here are some handy hybrid work tips HR professionals and leadership teams can use to ensure the success of this model:
1. Understand The Demographics Of Your Workplace
Before you roll out new policies and plans related to hybrid work, analyze and understand the demographics of your office. Identify the exact number of employees on your team who’ll work remotely every day, those who’ll work in the office part-time, and those who prefer to work in-office most of the time. Doing this will:
- Ease the resource allocation process between physical and remote-working teams.
- Make it easy to come up with efficient hybrid work management policies.
- Help team leaders organize how different departments and functions work.
- Allow the management to determine the WFH technologies and tools required for maximum remote team productivity.
Some office departments might find a hybrid work model difficult. It’s vital to coach these team leaders and get them up to speed on the best practices for hybrid team management. As more companies adopt this policy, your organization may miss out on top talent because your company cannot keep up. Understanding demographics beforehand helps organization leaders understand how their teams feel and how they can improve their leadership skills to lead their teams effectively.
How To Run A Hybrid Work Teams Survey
You’ll probably want to run a quick survey to understand where your employees stand on the hybrid work teams issue.
Surveys will give you a lot of information about where your team stands and where their concerns are. If you feel like your survey could lead to some issues, you could create an anonymous survey. For the most part, if you have an open/honest culture, a typical survey should work fine for the questions you’ll be asking.
Questions To Ask On Your Hybrid Work Teams Survey:
Are you at a loss for what to ask during your hybrid work teams survey? Here are some example questions.
- What is your preferred method of working?
- In-Office, Hybrid, Remote
- What department are you located in?
- If you worked using your preferred method, what would be your primary concerns about working that way?
- On a scale of 1-10, how prepared do you feel management is about meeting your work needs?
- To go back to the office, I need to feel confident about…
- What resources/benefits are you missing if you work remotely?
- How can your fellow employees help you feel more at ease at work?
Ask employees a mixture of open and close-ended questions. Get employees talking so that you can get a better understanding of how they feel about returning to the office.
2. Don’t Play Favorites
Since it’s typically the hub for all workplace-related information and processes, team leaders in hybrid work environments may unknowingly develop proximity bias. Leaders might over-prioritizing in-office employees when allocating company resources and benefits or giving out promotions. In some instances, leaders in a hybrid work environment may be too lenient with in-office employees while failing to recognize the value and expertise of remote teams.
Playing favorites breaks trust and causes a rift among employees. It may also negatively impact the productivity of employees who prefer to work from home since their output isn’t adequately credited. To avoid such scenarios, HR professionals should start viewing remote work as the new norm and find ways to keep every employee involved and up-to-speed with daily company operations.
3. Set Proper Expectations
The next hybrid work tip we’ll cover is setting proper expectations for all your teams.
Remote working may not be new, but it’s a relatively new concept to some employees. As a result, some employees may have difficulty attaining a work-life balance, with some either over-working or abusing their newly-found freedom from the office.
You should also set expectations for in-house employees, so they know what their responsibilities will be. For example, will in-house staff have a dedicated desk, or will it be first come, first serve? What time does the office open and close for in-house staff members? How will in-house employees work with remote employees to ensure they can have proper meetings?
Setting expectations from the beginning helps each staff member understand requirements. For example, provide guidelines on working hours and breaks, project collaboration, after-work emails, and even clarify which meetings need in-house attendance. You may have to do this for each department to create a more nuanced experience for team members.
4. Offer The Right Equipment
Once considered a perk exclusive to top employees, remote and hybrid work models are now a necessity. Unfortunately, not every employee has equipment for the change, and for some, it can be challenging to starve off distractions when not working in a traditional office.
To help such employees with the transition and maximize their productivity, equip them with the resources they need. For instance, if they lack a home office, provide a quality office desk and an ergonomic chair to give them a head start on creating a dedicated WFH space. In addition, equip work from home teams with faster computers or laptops, headsets for seamless virtual meetings, better software, and all the necessary collaborative tools to work efficiently.
Overall, you are trying to ensure that remote teams have the resources they need to be as productive as in-house employees.
5. Focus On Stellar Communication
The secret to successful hybrid working is proper communication. It brings physical and remote working teams up to speed with new policies, available resources, and work schedules. Consequently, communication streamlines project collaboration and management.
Depending on your organization, you might choose to set up daily check-ins or weekly meetings. Either way, it’s essential to have time together to catch up on project progress, set goals, or discuss and solve the challenges faced by individuals and teams in your company.
For example, at WorkBright:
- Each department has a weekly team meeting where the department members discuss weekly priorities and share what’s happening that week.
- We all meet up once a week as an organization to discuss what’s happening with our product, go over numbers, and take in customer feedback.
- Managers are responsible for hosting weekly 1:1 meetings with their direct reports. These meetings are typically at least 30 minutes long.
As your organization grows, your capacity to handle meetings might change.
If you have a hybrid team, consider creating weekly virtual meetings during which staff members can share their accomplishments and challenges for the week. In addition, offer employees multiple direct and indirect avenues of communication so they can easily reach you whenever the need arises.
Remember, working remotely can be isolating; plus, we’re still in the middle of the pandemic. So, while emphasizing efficient team communication, have occasional one-on-one conversations with staff members to gain insight into their challenges and concerns and remind them you care. Be open with your employees so they feel confident to approach you whenever they need help.
Occasionally team members need to get together. Consider organizing team meetings and fun outdoor events where in-office and remote working teams can meet and interact.
6. Use Technology To Your Advantage
Technology is the lifeline for any hybrid enterprise. The right technologies enhance connectivity between in-office and remote teams, allowing seamless collaboration and overall better performance. For HR professionals and other leaders, proper technology makes it easier to track and manage team progress and solve challenges.
Invest in quality cloud-based collaborative software such as Google Drive and ensure everyone has equal access. Such platforms not only allow teams to collaborate on projects efficiently but also save time, allowing your in-house and remote-working teams to accomplish more with each working day.
Offer team access to asynchronous communication channels such as Slack and Loom, which offer instant messaging functionality for simpler, fun, and less formal chats with other team members.
Your teams also need video conferencing tools such as Zoom and Google Hangouts to prevent or reduce isolation. Unlike texts and emails, such tools offer a more personal touch and are the easiest way to discuss sensitive topics.
Performance Management Software
Invest in quality performance management solutions to track employee performance and identify how to improve. Keeping up with performance reviews and evaluations is crucial for your organization’s continued growth as it becomes more dispersed.
Employee Onboarding Software
The employee onboarding process is nothing short of stressful. It means dealing with loads of paperwork, which can be challenging when your team is all over the country. Implementing employee onboarding software eases the process tenfold.
New hires typically receive and complete the relevant paperwork before their first day, so HR professionals and management teams can have more time to spend on valuable tasks and processes. And as a hybrid organization, onboarding software provides a location-independent platform to hire employees from different regions.
7. Make Sure Your HR Policies Match Your Guidelines
If your current HR policies do not match the new hybrid working guidelines, it’ll confuse many, including you. When is the last time you updated your company’s handbook? Unclear expectations hurt productivity.
When setting new guidelines for your in-house and remote working teams, ensure you revisit and update your HR policies, so they are in sync with the new approaches and your company’s goals.
While you’re at it, promote a growth mindset among your teams by encouraging them to offer feedback on policies they think need improving.
Hybrid Work Tips Can Help You Create A Great Place To Work
Thanks to advanced technology, and the unprecedented times we’re living in, it’s safe to say hybrid working is the future of modern workforces. The model is location-independent, lowers operational costs, and dramatically improves productivity and overall company performance.
Of course, HR professionals and their organizations only enjoy these perks through proper implementation. With the hybrid work tips above, you can create a great place to work for both in-house and remote working teams.