As restrictions are set to ease, some employees may be keen to get back to normality, whilst others are nervous about the risks and feel safer working from home. The big question we’ve been getting asked recently, is it possible to accommodate both? In our newsletter earlier this month we explored the hybrid work model (you can subscribe here), but lets explore the topic in more detail.
A hybrid workplace at its most basic level, involves a combination of remote, semi-remote, and office-based employees. If this is a strategy you are looking to deploy successfully, we recommend building it around three concepts: Communication, Autonomy, and Trust. We will explore each in more detail below.
Focus on Communication
Some teams may opt to remain partially or even fully remote, we see this particularly in office-based staff rather than frontline workers. This puts greater pressure on business leaders to really step up their communication efforts and make sure they are reaching each individual employee, when and where it is appropriate. For example, whilst an office-based worker may open their laptop at the start of the day and check an intranet, a frontline worker may only have access to a shared PC. It will be up to leaders to ensure each employee receives the right level of communication, and that no individual feels left out, or isolated.
For the successful implementation of a hybrid strategy, business leaders need to ensure they have the technology to support it. To effectively prioritise communication and ensure employees are able to collaborate effectively, they need the right tools and the right technology.
All employees work differently, and organisations considering the hybrid workplace will need to give their employees the freedom and tools to decide how, when, and where they can work most productively and thrive as individuals.
Employee Autonomy has been described as “the extent to which employees have control and discretion for how to conduct their tasks.” It refers to our desire as individual employees to be self-directed, and have a sense of responsibility and say over ourselves, our work, and the environment we work in. But how do we empower autonomy?
Here are a few ways we recommend to build and encourage autonomy:
- Set effective goals and allow your team to work on them alone until you are needed
- Trust them to do the job you hired them to do
- Provide the right feedback tools so they can connect with the right people if they require support
Create a culture of trust
The successful implementation really centers around a culture of mutual trust between businesses and their employees. This works both ways; employees will need to put their trust in the organisation to keep them safe and protected, but equally, they will expect to be trusted and supported in return to manage their workload in the way that’s best for them.
Building trust can be challenging in a hybrid workplace but with the right leadership, you can create a culture of trust within your business. Start with yourself, be open and honest with your team, even when it’s uncomfortable or challenging, not just when it’s easy. This can include but is not limited to: taking responsibility for a project failure, admitting when you’ve made a mistake or wrong decision, acknowledging when you don’t know or aren’t sure about something, explain your thought process when it comes to decisions you’ve made or how you want people to approach a task or deliverable.
Once you have created a clear strategy for how to implement the people side of the hybrid model, it’s time to assess the infrastructure you have in place to support it and empower it. When it comes to clear, concise communication, for us there is no better solution than Microsoft Teams. It works on mobile devices, desktops, and on almost any other device your team, regardless of location will utilise. You can learn more about Teams here, or get in touch to speak with one of our digital transformation experts.