In the last year, many companies had to take their workplaces virtual. In that time, we’ve all had to redefine our concept of “business as usual” and shift to a new hybrid work model.
Of the many permanent changes since the beginning of the pandemic, adopting the hybrid work model has been one of the most widespread. That hybrid strategy — enabling employees to work from different areas — will factor heavily into HR planning for 2021 and beyond, according to a recent statement by consulting firm Gartner.
Indeed, a recent survey of Fortune 500 CEOs revealed that over a quarter of them believe that many of their “newly virtual” employees will remain that way permanently.
HR leaders will be presented with multiple challenges during this time and will need to find solutions to ensure their people remain happy and productive. Here are a few things for HR departments to consider when incorporating hybrid work into your long-term plans.
Creating a Thriving Hybrid Work Model Environment
Managing a team that’s spread across several different physical locations creates challenges — chief of these maintaining a cohesive, supportive work environment.
When most of your workforce isn’t present in the office, inclusion becomes more important than ever. Just because you can’t see someone, it surely doesn’t mean they aren’t an equal part of the team. That’s why it’s essential to keep communication channels open — so employees can voice their concerns and provide feedback.
No matter where they are based, all employees should participate in team activities to not feel left out. Consistency is key. If you’ve been in the habit of having regular team meetings, make sure they continue — using technology such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. This type of regular contact can be instrumental in keeping motivation levels high.
It’s also important to be open and transparent. Trying to maintain a professional work demeanor in situations where family surrounds you — or perhaps, facing quarantine alone — can be taxing for anyone. Be honest about it. Everyone has too much on their plate right now. So sharing any tips or insight into how you’re dealing with your stressors can go a long way toward strengthening relationships with your team.
We’re all human. Which means we all have a built-in need for social connectivity. When working remotely, it’s essential to make sure that you and your colleagues don’t feel isolated.
Make it clear to colleagues that you’re available should they have any concerns or need to talk. While some associates will have partners and/or children to interact with, those who live alone might require additional attention. Try to keep in touch with each other through video calls, which can increase that sense of human presence in people’s homes.
Platforms such as Trello, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom are great for enabling continuous and easy-to-access communication. And remember, not all conversations have to be work-related. Sometimes a little mid-day fun can go a long way.
WELLNESS & SELFCARE
Your people are your greatest asset. So ensuring their well-being is vital to your business.
The current crisis will have no doubt impacted members of your team — and while they may not be immediately evident, these impacts can manifest themselves over time. It’s essential to remain mindful and caring for people who might be struggling or have had a hard time.
Everybody’s remote working experience is unique to them, and everybody has faced different challenges while in lockdown. Many are concerned about their finances and the health of their family. Some are concerned about the prospect of returning to the workplace. These and other factors can have a considerable effect on the mental health and well-being of your employees.
Consider the frequency with which you’re staying in touch with people. This can become easy to overlook when you’re not seeing them in person regularly. You can’t just assume that because someone is getting on with their work that everything’s fine. You need to take a holistic approach.
A HYBRID FUTURE
If the past several months have taught us anything, it’s that adaptation is crucial to the ongoing success of a business. Successfully implementing a long-term hybrid work model for your business takes attention and preparation. Still, the benefits are worth it — providing increased productivity and a better life/work balance for your team.