The last year has forced employers to embrace remote working by some of their employees. Businesses have had to be creative in how they got things done, and employees have had to succumb to new ways of working. As employers try to wrap their minds around how to handle work scenarios going forward, more and more of them are considering a hybrid approach — offering some employees the opportunity to work remotely, while others remain in the office. Here are three best practices for a hybrid workspace.
With hybrid workplaces, not everyone is in the office at the same time. Some co-workers may not see one another for months at a time, the same with supervisors and who they delegate work. For some staff, this can be difficult, especially if they’re doing team projects or if those working from home feel left out from what’s going on at the office.
Because of this, remote employees can easily feel disengaged or not a part of the team. It’s important that all employees feel engaged and a part of the team. Implement opportunities for employee engagement. Be intentional about instituting virtual events that are fun but can also reinforce the team and unify all employees. These events should be incorporated as regular office events like quarterly socials, fun team-building events, and team collaborating activities. The objective of the events should be to foster employee engagement, so no one feels disengaged from the overall team.
Impromptu meetings around the water cooler would be inappropriate in a hybrid work environment. Remote workers should never be overlooked or considered an afterthought. While it’s understandable there may be a need for unplanned meetings from time to time, they should not happen without the proper channels of communication. A hybrid work environment may suggest the need to be proactive rather than reactive. Institute regularly scheduled virtual staff meetings. They should be on everyone’s calendar. The frequency could be weekly, biweekly, or quarterly. But to ensure that everyone is always on the same page, and since everyone is not always face-to-face, it may be smart to also implement virtual daily huddles or stand-up meetings. These are 20-minute check-in meetings that staff attend just to learn if there is anything that needs immediate attention. This way, there are no impromptu pop-up meetings that may catch the remote workers completely off guard.
Also, use chat tools like Elevate, email, and video options as daily forms of communication for all employees. Just because these tools are available doesn’t mean they should be used at all hours of the evening. Be respectful of people’s time. Don’t assume that just because an employee is working from home, they’re available all hours of the night. Flexibility in communications is about having various channels in place so there’s no lag in communication, not communication after hours. Respect each other’s time away from the office, even those who literally live in their office.
With hybrid workplaces, your business must be capable of meeting the needs of its workers. Cloud-based solutions are key, and remote workers need to be considered in all workflow solutions and processes. Remote workers need access to the same files and servers as office workers. Take the time to ensure your entire staff has access to everything they need to be successful in their work. This may entail doing an assessment of all current processes and identifying what new work solutions need to be implemented.
There are various ways to make the transition for both employees and employers easier and creating a successful hybrid office solution is one of them. Look for partners who understand the needs and goals of your organization and make sure they deliver a comprehensive strategy that be scaled when needed.