Simply put, hybrid work is any combination of in-person and remote work. Companies with hybrid cultures allow their employees to work on hybrid schedules and have rewired their offices to better support these hybrid workstyles. On paper, hybrid work is a straightforward approach to combining the best aspects of both remote and in-person work. The realities of hybrid work, however, are far more nuanced than simply combining these two styles.
If you are a business owner considering embracing a hybrid work culture, you can have a smooth transition from a traditional office with the help of these 7 important steps we have compiled here:
1. Establish a Consistent Schedule
A hybrid work schedule is a plan that specifies when employees should work from home or in the office. Each employee’s needs are considered while your organisation’s goals are prioritised. There are several types of hybrid work schedules, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Some of them are:
The most structured hybrid work approach is the cohort schedule. With this format, a particular group or cohort of employees comes in to office on specific days to help them brainstorm.
Schedules that are flexible are just that: flexible. They offer no fixed rules. Instead, employees can work from home and come into the office whenever they want.
2. Create Healthy Boundaries
According to research, 21% of knowledge workers believe that working from home would improve their concentration. However, for employees to make the most of their remote days, they must take a break from time-consuming notifications and meetings.
Working too many hours without adequate rest can result in health issues such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety. These factors have an impact on productivity and can make you less effective at work. They can also cause you to lose focus and become easily distracted. So, while you may believe that staying up late every night will help you finish your projects faster, it may hinder your ability to perform well.
Setting clear boundaries between work and personal lives becomes particularly important in a hybrid environment. Research highlights that working from home can blur the lines between work and personal lives easily. Therefore, limiting your work hours, taking frequent breaks, and being aware of the number of meetings you attend per day is critical. Once you have established these boundaries, you will not feel compelled to continue pushing yourself beyond them.
3. Focus on Outcomes
When you focus on the number of hours worked, you are less likely to feel as if you are contributing to the bottom line. Instead encourage your team members to focus on outcomes. Link these outcomes to your company goals so every employee has a line of sight to the overall business growth. This mindset assists us in justifying everyone’s work – irrespective of where they are located.
4. Embrace Asynchronous Communication
Asynchronous communication is fundamentally simple. When we send messages, leave voicemails, or record videos, we may send them at a time not synchronised with the receiver’s time. Async communication simply means that the message’s recipient and sender are unlikely to be in the same location at the same time.
However, effective async communication necessitates a prominent level of intentionality. When writing an asynchronous message, you must consider questions such as:
- Is the best format (written, verbal, video) being used for this message?
- Is the recipient of this message provided with all the necessary contexts?
- Is my communication clear enough to avoid confusion?
- Am I thinking about the tone of my voice and how this message will be received?
- Is it possible for the conversation or project to move forward if I provide any necessary resources or next steps?
- Is this communication being recorded so that it can be found later for future reference?
This level of consideration frequently results in communications that are clear, complete, delivered with kindness, and yield productive results.
5. Invest in Team Building
In today’s workplace, team building is even more important. There are numerous reasons for this, one of which is that employees spend half of their waking hours at work. While it may appear that you spend most of your day working, there is still time for personal interactions. According to a study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 90% of workers surveyed feel disconnected from their co-workers.
Virtual meetings and breakout sessions aid in team communication and collaboration. They are especially beneficial for remote teams where face-to-face meetings are not always possible. Another advantage of virtual meetings is that they enable people to participate from wherever they are, whether at home, the office, or elsewhere.
6. Using the right technology
Technology is a cornerstone of your newly created hybrid working culture. As we have all learned, it is impossible to collaborate effectively at scale without the necessary technological infrastructure in place to support your people and processes.
Before implementing a hybrid working culture, it is critical to assess your technology stack and be clear about the purpose of each tool and whether they are appropriate for this purpose. There will also be aspects of your operations that are overlooked here because they lack the necessary tools. Meetings are a common example, with many organisations believing that they have their meetings covered with Teams, Slack, and Google Docs. Meetings, as one of the most important components of a hybrid working culture, require careful and deliberate consideration in terms of technological support.
7. Leading by example
As with most organisational changes, it is critical to set the tone and model the desired behaviour. Leading by example will show your teams how important the change is and that it is here to stay – both of which are critical messages for your hybrid work culture to take hold overall. This could include dialling in for some important meetings to demonstrate equality between those working remotely and those in the room or committing to working away from the office at least a couple of days per week. Furthermore, clearly communicating the change will allow your employees to ask questions and clarify their understanding of the new way of doing things.
While it is still unclear whether remote work is the way of the future, it is certain that hybrid schedules are here to stay. Even though they have some drawbacks, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, and they can be an excellent system for businesses of all sizes. With a talented team of people, you can start implementing your hybrid schedule right away and reap the benefits for both management and employees.