Creating and maintaining a productive hybrid work culture is one of the biggest challenges organisations face today. Unfortunately, the future of work in a post-pandemic setting seems far from being sorted. During the past one and a half years, most workers have been operating remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions. So, adjusting to the same old 9 to 5 work schedule won’t be easy.
Accenture recently found that 63% of high-growth organisations adopt hybrid work models.
As per one report, 73% of workers linked flexible work arrangements with increased work satisfaction.
Firms that allow remote work enjoy a 25% decreased employee turnover than those that don’t. Believe it or not, a considerable number of employees have always been longing for flexible work schedules.
What used to be “telecommuting” is now called “remote work.” COVID-19 has only made companies realise the increased effectiveness of flexible work strategies.
Many organisations are now embracing a hybrid work culture, where both on-site and remote work schedules are being used. This way, they can keep the internal work culture intact while offering staff members enhanced peace of mind.
First, we will see how firms can build a thriving hybrid work culture; then, we will talk about managing employees in a diverse work setting.
Transitioning to the “new normal” means learning new things every day and learning what does and doesn’t work for your company. Due to this ongoing uncertainty, you must be crystal-clear on expectations from your workers and try to offer certainty to our teams. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to explore new hybrid possibilities, set the rules from the beginning, and communicate effectively about what’s expected of each employee regardless of their work model.
To build a thriving hybrid work culture, one must not treat onsite work as the default mode and avoid refitting it for remote work. Instead, managers and leaders must enable all employees to collaborate and come together, regardless of their location.
To help employees adapt to a hybrid model, you should encourage them to think of your culture as remote-first. Of course, this sudden mindset shift will require perseverance and support from the management. Nevertheless, the outcome of this exercise will be a more connected and less confused hybrid work culture across the organisation.
Adopting a remote-first approach at your hybrid organisation shows you encourage remote work. However, remote workers often face an uphill struggle to be taken seriously. Traditionally, managers have rated the onsite employees as better performers, awarding them bigger raises and more frequent promotions, irrespective of the results. Due to this, employees working from home could feel pressured to be present in the office at all times.
You can train the supervisors to focus on the outcomes rather than individual actions. This will help minimise remote bias and build a more equitable hybrid workforce for your company.
For example, if all of your senior leaders always work onsite, other workers might take it as a sign of the management considering it the best way to function.
Conversely, when you have one of your senior leaders regularly attend a meeting from their home office or kitchen, it can leave a positive impression on your hybrid team. They might think that flexible work is not only regular but widely embraced by even the higher-ups.
Have a Shared Purpose
Purpose has always been vital to organisational performance – even more critical when it comes to hybrid work. When people are in the office, they regularly experience a sense of common purpose by running into each other and chatting about strategy, and meeting clients. This is something that’s missing in a remote work setting.
Leaders must explain the purpose, discuss goals and ensure people feel their work is necessary to success.
Managers also need to make sure people have a sense of shared purpose. They not only have to show how a team member’s work is connected to the overall team’s outcomes, but how the team’s work as a whole is essential. Team members will need to see how their work connects and be reminded of mutual dependencies, which will be less noticeable when people aren’t in the office together.
Leaders who care about their employees’ needs or challenges tend to provide the required space to remedy their concerns. All workers have that natural need for empathy and understanding; accountability is what defines their character.
Taking due responsibility is vital to keeping a compelling culture as it reminds others that their work matters and how crucial it is to the team and the organisation. Take it like this; the purpose is the bigger picture of how things are, accountability is the key to operationalise the worth of work.
Employees lacking a sense of equity and justice will quickly lose motivation, especially in a hybrid work model. It would help if you communicated about how work leads to equitable outcomes. “
For instance, if some team members come into the office more than others, make sure they’re not considered favourites. On the other hand, if some people operate remotely, ensure others don’t receive more gadgets and tools to help them connect better. You have to be super sensitive and inclusive about referring to your team members and treating them in hybrid work culture.
Maintaining constant presence and approachability is even harder to achieve virtually. Visibility means how you keep team members in a loop. So, be intentional about being personally accessible; do talk to your team members regularly. Also, encourage them to have close relationships with each other by assigning collaborative projects.
Make sure you keep people around you in the loop, making a point to ensure your team members are aware of essential things happening in their domain. This openness is a primary component of trust, critical to constructive work cultures such as a hybrid one.
After establishing the goals and expectations regarding remote-first work settings, you have to keep your employees engaged for a smooth transition to hybrid work culture. Engagement here means an out-and-out commitment to values, like encouraging, facilitating and collaborating with your distant workers through virtual team experiences.
Making hybrid work arrangements successful takes a considerable amount of effort. This includes making everyone feel included in the process, helping staff members to stay in sync through collaboration, promoting employee wellbeing, recognising high achievers, and more. Managers can effectively communicate with their remotely dispersed workforce by using different mobile applications.
While you can use apps such as Skype, Zoon, and Hangouts for daily, face-to-face meetings, you cannot always bank on them, mainly when your remote staff is operating in the field. Some issues, like poor internet connection or having no WiFi, can derail your weekly plans.
So, to conclude, we can say that adapting to the hybrid work culture is not a walk in the park, as we’re still in the early stages of adjusting to the remote-first environment. One cannot simply rely on technology to manage employees remotely.
From implementing flexible working hours to reducing communication gaps, promoting transparency, to having a shared purpose, remote team engagement is the key to boosting employee productivity.
The following are answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding hybrid work culture:
A hybrid work culture refers to a flexible work arrangement to help support distributed teams operating both in-office as well as remotely.
Management and teams, with mutual consent, decide on the most suitable place or hours to work. Some could be operating in the office or and others from any other location, or a combination of both.
A hybrid workspace is different from an ad-hoc remote work setting. There’s a consensus on adopting the remote-first approach, and workers are usually allowed to choose to work in-house, remotely, or alternating between the two. The success of a hybrid work culture depends on complete ownership from everyone involved in the process.
A hybrid workplace is relatively a new way of flexible working that lets employees operate partly from the office and partly from home (or any other remote location).
A hybrid work schedule is where staff members work either on-premises or remotely or a combination of both. Work schedules in a hybrid office environment are flexible, and exact working hours can vary from team to team.
A hybrid working model’s benefits include improved productivity, decreased operational cost, enhanced collaboration, employee well-being, less micromanagement, increased work-life balance, and others.
Given the existing COVID circumstances and future pandemic concerns, the future of the work certainly inclines towards hybrid working. Hybrid work culture lets employees choose their preferred working hours and workstation. Due to this increased flexibility, more and more workers will avail of this option in the future.