The last two years have definitely broken the paradigm of the traditional 9 to 5 office day, leaving company executives questioning the productivity of the new type of workplace. While there are undoubtedly many benefits to creating a hybrid workplace for your employees, any job focusing on flexibility should absolutely have one. Beyond the benefits, there are still open questions about how best to implement hybrid workplace. Finding ways to compensate for the lack of interoffice communications, spontaneous interactions such as water-cooler chats, and corporate evenings still carry a sense of urgency.
If your team is spread out among different time zones and locations, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your employees are on the same page and in touch with each other.
Here are some tips to help you manage your workforce and support projects, even when some measure of office life returns, without sacrificing the flexibility offered by remote work.
Hybrid workplace management tips
Hybrid workplace models allow managers and employees to split their working days between home and the office. Depending on your business, you can:
- Allow employees whose role requires an office presence to get started, while others can work from home.
- Allow employees to divide their workweek between working in the office and at home.
While this can reduce costs and increase productivity, the hybrid workplace model requires some management efforts, such as updated policies and restructuring workflows, paying equal attention to home and office staff, thinking about efficient communication tools, and more. Here are some hints on hybrid workplace management.
Create a hybrid workplace policy
Establish a hybrid workplace policy to outline what you expect from your employees. Developing a policy for mixed or remote work will set up rules for breaks, visits, equipment, cybersecurity, and the ratio of working hours at home.
It would help if these points were already covered in the standard employee contract:
- How many days should people work from home and in the office?
- What work is done better in person than virtually?
- Should certain employees be in the office for both meetings and collaboration?
Update your employee directory according to this hybrid employment policy. Make sure you communicate with your hybrid employees through your company’s network, digital workspace, HR management software, or workforce planning platforms like SmartPlan.
Share your work information, goals, and deadlines with all your employees, especially those at home. You can have daily or weekly virtual meetings to bring together your hybrid workforce to discuss projects and share progress. Regular communication is vital to keep remote staff involved and motivated.
Everyone involved in the project should have a standard view of the tasks to be performed and should be easily accessible during work hours, a point that can become vital when different time zones separate project managers and their teams.
To resolve this discrepancy, try to implement formal rules of interactions:
- Be online during specific hours
- Provide work updates
- Offer topics to discuss.
Since the hybrid workplace is likely not just a passing fad, make sure you can change your plans once you’ve returned to the office.
Encourage employees to communicate
Managing a hybrid workplace means providing flexibility and trust in your employees, giving them the space they need to do their job and do it well. Note that the communication tools such as collaboration software that includes video conferencing, instant messaging, and automatic notifications let you and your team connect anytime, anywhere.
As for personal communication, be sure to make group calls:
- All-hands Meetings
- Friday evenings with online quizzes, games, and cocktail parties
We at HRForecast sometimes have lunch together, chat about everything but work, and share our feelings on pop culture and world events. We support each other and grow closer as a result. Investing in a solid hybrid workplace means investing in your team’s success – now and for years to come.
Encourage employees to communicate
Trust is an integral part of any business, but it’s even more critical when dealing with a hybrid workplace divided by geographical space. According to the Harvard Business Review, many companies have experienced a crisis of trust because of remote work. As we return to pre-pandemic office work, it’s essential to identify productive ways to build trust in a remote environment.
Trust rests on two core beliefs: that workers perform high-quality work, and that they are honest and have good intentions. To build a significant level of trust in your company, you need to:
- Maintain transparency between your team members.
- Give employees regular opportunities to communicate through video meetings and calls.
For example, this year, we at HRForecast started a pre-Christmas game with the help of the Advent calendar. So, for 12 days, everyone shares their favorite Christmas songs, dishes, drinks, childhood memories, and more. It provides common topics for discussion and brings people from different countries together.
Communication allows employees to get to know each other and see the steps everyone takes in order to do their job every day. The more your team members can communicate, the more they will trust each other.
Think inclusively and how teams can work together seamlessly in a hybrid workplace. It’s important not to exacerbate existing inequalities by rejecting those who work primarily remotely, such as custodians, working parents, and people with disabilities. There’s often an unconscious bias against remote workers, so make sure they have the same opportunities and feel as valuable as those who work in the office.
You, as a manager, should also pay special attention to new employees, ensuring that they won’t feel abandoned and are capable of establishing relationships with their colleagues.
- Offer employees the opportunity to spend some time next to their colleagues.
- Ask others to mentor newbies and answer any questions they may have, making sure they feel included in the hybrid workplace.
Skills for managing a hybrid workforce
Companies constantly experiment with hybrid workplace models. Many of them have realized that work isn’t a place, it’s what employees do, no matter where.
According to Jo Owen, author of the book “Smart work: The ultimate handbook for remote and hybrid teams,” the hybrid workplace taught us some essential lessons:
- We can change and develop faster than we thought. So, there is a challenge to change and be flexible.
- Managing a remote or mixed team is much more complex than managing people in an office.
- This forces employers to improve their work and be much more focused and thoughtful in everything they do.
- Employees need more open access technologies, such as Google Drive, Outlook, Azure, and other tools, to work in one digital workspace.
Not everyone should switch to a hybrid workplace model, but the many benefits it offers, including flexibility, may lead to higher revenues in the future. Moving to a hybrid workplace model is vital for managers. They concurrently need to think about a comprehensive set of smart tools to support recruitment, adaptation, and engagement to build long-lasting work relations.
Of course, it’s challenging to start all from scratch, so we suggest starting with auxiliary templates. HRForecast is happy to help you with hybrid workplace management.
For example, in this Product walkthrough datasheet, we share our software products for personnel planning and analysis, consulting services, including internal team examples.
With human analytics solutions, you can make forecasts for your working life, plan meetings with your employees, and build your future team from scratch.