Creating a Productive & Agile Hybrid Workspace
A hybrid work environment - one where employees work both remotely and in the office - is rapidly becoming the norm in North America, yet many companies are still struggling to develop a coherent approach to this workplace transition.
72% of businesses lack a clear hybrid work strategy, according to a recent study, with many raising concerns over lack of oversight and erosion of company culture.
Hybrid work may come with its challenges, but these are far from insurmountable. Just because your employees are off-site doesn’t mean they can’t maintain their productivity and contribute to your company culture.
Easy hacks for hybrid working
Offer the right tools to bridge the gap between remote and office workers
With some workers at home, and others in the office, it can be difficult to ensure effective collaboration between the two. This puts the onus on managers to schedule regular meetings and check-ins that are accessible to both groups. Meetings should always have a virtual component so off-site employees can tune in. All of the big UCaaS players offer features and functionality that make seamless communication easy no matter where employees are located.
Be aware that some team members are choosing to go hybrid precisely because they’re uncomfortable with the social aspects of the office. These workers should know that they can turn off their video or even mute their microphones if needed.
Over-zealous managers may be tempted to schedule a whole calendar full of meetings in an attempt to bridge the gap between in-person and remote workers. Avoid this kind of overcompensation as it will actually reduce productivity, leading to meeting fatigue and employee disengagement.
Schedule ‘Do Not Disturb’ Periods
Any task that requires concentration requires peace and quiet. But that time is hard to get in a busy office environment where there’s always something pulling at your attention and can also be hard at home with chat channels buzzing.
Loss of focus is a productivity-killer, so keep your employees on track with scheduled ‘Do Not Disturb’ periods. These could be an hour a week or more regularly - you may need an introductory trial and error period to determine the best fit for your team.
Putting it into practice, advise your employees to adjust the settings on their messaging platforms, phones, and any other communication platforms they use so that they’re unavailable. That means no pinging alert noises, no pop-up notifications, and no calls.
Have safe, supportive conversations
Hybrid working is often seen as the best of both worlds - employees have the freedom to work from home when they want but go into the office as needed. This flexibility may help them achieve a better work life balance but don’t assume that hybrid employees don’t suffer from burnout or stress.
Team members can feel just as much pressure at home. They may feel they have to prove themselves by going the extra mile, they may find it difficult to detach from their domestic responsibilities - whatever the issue, they need extra support from their managers.
One thing management can do is to provide counseling services and, where available, training in work/life separation. People who work remotely can find themselves as the unwitting recipients of various household tasks, such as child care, dealing with household maintenance, and generally just being seen as available because they are working from home. They may need help establishing boundaries around their scheduled work time, and that help is personal and is best delivered in the form of mental health services such as individual and family counseling. If unsuccessful, these people may thrive better in an in-office environment.
Integrating wellness into a company’s culture may start from the top, but it’s implemented at the managerial level. Team leaders can start by creating an atmosphere where employees can share their concerns in safe conversations. Schedule regular 1:1s or mark off blocks in your calendar as ‘office hours’ when employees know they can reach you via private message, email, or virtual video conferences.
Be prepared to pivot
Managers often become tied to a certain way of working but flexibility needs to be a core part of your company culture in the hybrid environment.
Track the success of all your newly-implemented measures and procedures to see if they’re working as intended. If you’re forcing your team members into too many meetings, scale back. If employees aren’t sticking to the DND periods, find out why.
Company culture begins with a consistent and cohesive message but that doesn’t mean it can’t evolve. Gather feedback from your employees on a regular basis to see what’s working for them. As workplaces adjust to the new climate, they may hop from one mode to the other - working from home, in the office, then back again until they find their optimal schedule. Their needs will change as they transition, it’s up to managers to anticipate those needs and plan accordingly.
Employee Productivity Monitoring solution Prodoscore helps managers keep track of their teams with exceptional visibility into their daily activity. The innovative system collects data on how your employees are using company tools, allowing team leaders to quickly identify productivity gaps and see who needs extra support.
It’s tailor made for hybrid and remote teams, guaranteeing complete transparency regardless of who’s working where. To learn more about the many benefits offered by Prodoscore, get in touch with us today to arrange a free demonstration.