Covid-19 transformed the workplace as we know it and saw workplaces around the world go online. As the current economic environment is still highly volatile it has seen the hybrid work style rise in popularity, which involves some employees working in the office, others working remotely and some having a combination of both. This approach allows for employers to select from a global talent pool as location isn’t an issue, and allows for greater flexibility and lower costs. However, this new work model also brings to the surface many concerns and new aspects of business that may not have otherwise been considered. So how can you manage a hybrid work style?
One of, if not the most important considerations when managing a hybrid workforce is creating a strong virtual community. It is essential for managers to utilise their time and resources in developing an online network where workers can easily send messages to and meet online with one another, both individually and as a group. Managers should also schedule weekly online meetings with everyone or by departments, depending on the size of the organisation. This:
- Bridges the gap between remote and office employees
- Promotes efficiency as people can easily communicate with and check in with one another
- Encourages teamwork and collaboration
Another key aspect of managing a hybrid workforce is ensuring that each individual has clear goals and expectations. If you clearly state what it is you expect each team member to achieve throughout the course of the day and/ or week, it will dramatically increase the likelihood that tasks are completed on time and allows for a great sense of accountability. This can be completed through emails, calling, or face-to-face. To maximise the effectiveness of your communication it is recommended that managers use a combination, or a ‘hybrid’ if I dare say, of the three. If at the start of the week or fortnight, you sit down with each employee and outline their expectations, it allows employees to voice any concerns and make any suggestions. However, smaller tasks or specific details of projects should be communicated more regularly through emails, which allows for further accountability.
It is extremely important to have set systems in place to monitor employee’s performance and hold them accountable. As per the previous point, it is important to compare the set goals and expectations of employee’s and if/ how they achieved such objectives. An effective tool to ensure daily productivity is having employees send end of day emails. This could include:
- Employees outlining what tasks they have completed
- What they are currently working on
- If there were any tasks they were unable to complete
This is effective for both remote and in house employees and allows you to consistently monitor progress. A further metric to monitor, is when individuals are logging onto and off of your organisations server. This, in conjunction with the emails, allows you to monitor how long employees are taking to complete tasks.
A further key consideration in managing a hybrid workforce is to ensure that training and collaboration opportunities are available to both in house and remote workers. Remote workers can potentially miss out on in-person training programs and the collaboration that comes with working in an office environment. Managers need to be aware of the differences in opportunities and make adjustments accordingly. As discussed earlier, this could include developing an online community that all employees are a part of. This not only allows for everyone to feel connected and supported but it also promotes productivity in the business as individuals can easily collaborate and utilise teamwork. In terms of training, managers should look for online replicates of any training programs that are offered in person, and should actively look for programs that are offered online that would specifically aid remote employees working in the digital space.
A final important aspect of managing a hybrid workforce is making sure you are demonstrating trust and giving praise to your employees. Many managers are concerned that their employees are not as productive when they are at home, but if you try and micromanage your workforce it will decrease productivity and morale. Provided you have appropriate systems in place such as setting expectations and requiring end of day emails to be sent, you have to take a leap of faith and trust that your employees are doing their work. This is not to say you shouldn’t monitor their performance, but treat employees with respect and ensure to acknowledge when employees are doing well.
Thus if you:
- Develop a strong virtual community
- Set clear goals and expectations with employees and hold them accountable
- Offer training and collaboration opportunities for all employees
- Have trust and give praise to employees
You will be able to better manage and maintain a hybrid work model.
Written by Holly Gregory, Marketing Assistant CIRCLE Recruitment & HR.
Important Note: These articles have been prepared for general circulation and are circulated for general informational purposes only; these articles should not be regarded as business or investment advice. The articles represent the views of the writers and are subject to change without notice. Additionally, while every care has been taken in the preparation of the articles no representation or warranty as to accuracy or completeness of any statement is given. An individual or organisation should, before any business or investment decision is made, consider the appropriateness of the information in this document, and seek professional advice, having regard to objectives, situation and needs. This document is solely for the use of the party to whom it is provided.