5 Common Hybrid Work Challenges & How to Overcome Them
Flexible working is more popular than ever. Just under 75% of organizations now offer their employees hybrid work arrangements, where staff have the freedom to set their own schedules and work from home part of the week.
The benefits of hybrid working are well-established. Giving staff more flexibility leads to improvements in productivity, morale, and staff retention. But those benefits can only be realized with careful planning and effective time management.
Common Challenges to Hybrid Work
If it’s not carefully managed, hybrid work can easily turn into boundaryless work - and that’s a problem. Employees need boundaries, or your super-conscientious workers will keep toiling away past the point of burnout.
Managers have to be mindful of each employee’s responsibilities. If they’re being tasked with more work than they can do in their shift or workday, perhaps they’re being overburdened while another team member is idle. Also, consider deadlines - do they feel under pressure because you haven’t given them enough time to complete a task? Balancing the workload will help teams better manage hybrid schedules, and mitigate the risk of overworked and overwhelmed team members.
2. Poor Planning
One of the biggest pitfalls of a hybrid office is the back and forth. Time spent commuting to the office is a necessary evil, but managers should be careful that it doesn’t disrupt workflows.
Give your employees plenty of warning if you need them in the office for a meeting or an appointment, and clear direction on general in-office requirements. This will help them plan their week in advance so they know when to schedule for uninterrupted ‘deep work’ and when they can tackle a project with the team.
On any work day, there are times when you need to drill down and become hyper-focused, and times when you can ease off to check emails, send messages, etc. Encourage your team to be mindful of how they’re spending their day - noting when they’re more productive and when their focus wanes. This will help them plan their commute around these times.
For example, if they’re coming into the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they may want to shuffle less high-priority tasks to those days if they find it difficult to fully concentrate in the office environment.
3. Lack of Communication and/or Guidelines
Hybrid working doesn’t mean coming into the office when you feel like it. Your employees need to understand that they’re expected to follow your organization’s policies around flexible working arrangements. Make sure they know what’s expected, and act quickly if staff aren’t respecting the rules.
Checking in with employees on a regular basis and using productivity intelligence tools to keep track of how productively they’re working can go a long way in enforcing workplace expectations, as can laying out clear ground rules from day one.
4. Inadequate Tech Tools
You can’t keep at-home employees in the loop without technology. Hybrid workers need to be able to securely connect to their office and their teams from anywhere, and any device. That’s why it’s so important for businesses to invest in a suite of integrated tools that facilitate and streamline real-time communication and collaboration.
Employers should ensure that all employees have access to these tools and receive proper training for any specialized apps or newly added solutions. For managers who may be worried about adoption rates for newly deployed technologies, a productivity intelligence tool like Prodoscore can be used to see what applications are being used most, which aren’t being used to their fullest extent, and whether certain employees may require additional training on new solutions.
Research shows that having a workplace buddy can help your staff become more engaged and productive, but building those crucial workplace relationships can be tough if you’re not consistently in the office.
Make sure that hybrid employees don’t slip through the cracks by including them in team meetings, off-site get-togethers, and departmental activities. Part of your role as manager should be to keep lines of communication open and help everyone feel heard and included.
EPM and hybrid working
Splitting time between home and the office can get complicated, but proactive managers can ease the transition, working with team members every step of the way to create a flexible work environment that promotes productivity and maintains a healthy work-life balance.
Employee Productivity Monitoring solution Prodoscore is a unique productivity intelligence tool that offers managers an unprecedented view into how their employees spend their time working. With Prodoscore’s wealth of contextualized productivity data, you’ll be able to understand when hybrid staff are at their most productive, which apps and tools they prefer to use, when they’re at risk of burnout or disengagement, and what motivates them to work productively.