To say that the last year has brought several changes to daily life would be an understatement. But while some of these changes will revert to pre-pandemic “norms” once COVID is over, there’s at least one shift that looks like it’s here to stay: the hybrid work model.
While some companies created fully remote teams over the past year, many others have gradually embraced the concept of a hybrid workplace — with both an in-person, on-site team and another team working remotely. The reasons are varied; some employees crave direct interaction with colleagues, while others prefer a fully remote working arrangement. But there’s no denying the efficacy of an optimized remote model, with reports citing up to 40% improved productivity, 40% less absenteeism, and up to 15% less turnover. The inclusion of remote work makes good sense for business, which is why hybrid working could be the way of the future.
Of course, there are specific challenges that come with having multiple teams trying to collaborate while working separately. If your business is looking to implement a hybrid approach, there are a few critical aspects of the experience you’ll want to pay attention to. Keep reading to learn more:
Setting Clear Expectations For Hybrid Work
In one way, creating a hybrid workforce is no different than establishing any other new company-wide policy; properly outlining expectations is key. It should be clear what’s expected of employees both in the physical office space and when working remotely. That means group meetings with both sets of employees present, so they can see the company remains a united front despite the change in working habits.
During these meetings, it’s essential to set guidelines. One of the primary worries for those working on-site is that the remote teams will be working less due to distractions at home. This has the potential to make your office workers feel undervalued. You must demonstrate that expectations — for both performance and results — are the same across both groups. This will help create a shared feeling of trust and accountability among your employees.
A sense of community is key to productivity. Employees should continue to be collaborative and communicative — and this is especially true when working from separate locations. This sense of collaboration will become increasingly important as the hybrid model becomes more permanent; as Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, points out, he expects up to 40% of his company’s workforce to continue working from home even after the pandemic. This is why it’s important to give your employees the means to share their work in real-time, even from separate locations.
Tools like Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, Trello, and other cloud sharing software allow employees to give productive, real-time feedback. By creating a “virtual” office space, they help keep the work organized and streamlined. This remote collaboration is vital to maintaining a positive and close-knit company culture, despite the physical distance between colleagues.
Maintaining a high degree of flexibility is all-important, and not just for remote employees. One can hardly overstate the uncertainty level during this pandemic. And acknowledging colleagues’ shared experiences is key to creating stronger connections. Many people are dealing with hardships that might not be evident, whether homeschooling children or dealing with other family-related issues. So it’s important to remain aware of the strain this situation can have on your employees’ mental health.
Employees might need their hours adjusted to better fit their schedules. They may need more time off. Or they may need to leave the office or their home for a short time. Ensure you’re managing your team equally and being flexible with all workers, regardless of location.
The successful implementation of a hybrid work model doesn’t have to be hard. It can provide a wealth of benefits to both you and your employees, from increased productivity to a better work/life balance. But you must take the proper steps to ensure that everyone feels the structure is working for them.
The well-being of your employees is job number one. And Health & Benefits Partners can help you implement the policies and plans that work for your business. If you’d like to discuss ways to help your team through a time of transition, call and speak to a member of our professional staff today at 215-240-1263.