Managing a business is often fraught with challenges, but organizational changes can make it a lot more difficult. The sudden shift to remote work, for instance, was a nightmare for many businesses, as they scrambled to adapt their systems and processes in order to stay afloat amid COVID-19 lockdowns. Now, hybrid work models bring another set of challenges that teams must deal with. Here are three to look out for and how you can manage them.
Facilitating communication and collaboration
With staff working from different locations and, in some cases, different time zones, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks. This makes having effective communication and collaboration tools and policies a must for your hybrid team.
Your team can continue using the same solutions you used when you were all working remotely, so that’s one less thing to worry about when setting up your hybrid workplace. However, you may also need to install video conferencing equipment such as computers, cameras, microphones, and speakers for all your meeting rooms. You should also make sure that the internet connection in your office is fast and stable enough to handle multiple, simultaneous online meetings. Having these tools and services at their disposal will enable office-based workers to join virtual meetings with ease.
You’ll also have to update your communication and collaboration standards to streamline workflows. Establish the platforms your team should use and set a clearly defined team schedule that works for both in-office and remote employees. This will ensure everyone’s availability for team-wide meetings and collaborative tasks.
Related reading: How to prepare your company for the hybrid work era
Leadership may develop an unconscious “proximity bias” toward office-based staff. They may perceive on-site workers to be more productive than remote employees simply because they can physically see the former doing their tasks. As a result, leaders may start favoring in-office employees and provide them with better perks and more opportunities for career advancement. This can make remote workers feel overlooked, frustrated, and resentful; they’ll become less engaged and demotivated, and this can cause their productivity to drop. When unchecked, proximity bias can even drive staff to leave the company.
To avoid such issues, put in place equal employment opportunity policies and processes. These include taking the time to check in and discuss professional development with each member of your team on a regular basis. This will help make all employees feel included and valued. It’s also a good idea to educate workers about proximity bias and its impacts; often, awareness is enough to eliminate biases and favoritism in the workplace.
Getting your team’s buy-in
Not all of your employees may be amenable to a hybrid work arrangement. Their reasons may vary; some may not be ready to let go of the autonomy and flexibility afforded by remote work, while others may worry about their health and safety. On the other hand, there may even be employees who think that returning to the office full time will be better for everyone.
The following steps will help you get buy-in from your staff, and therefore ensure a successful hybrid work deployment:
- Tell your staff why your business is adopting hybrid work, whether it’s to increase workflow efficiency, foster camaraderie, or promote knowledge sharing. Also, explain how this shift will benefit not just the company as a whole, but each team and employee as well.
- Make people feel safe at work by implementing minimum health protocols, including social distancing and regular handwashing. Frequently clean and disinfect workstations and communal areas, such as break rooms and restrooms.
- Get your employees’ input when planning your company’s hybrid work policy. Encourage them to voice their concerns and share any ideas for creating a hybrid setup that works for everyone in your organization.
- Support flexibility. As countless studies over the past two years have shown, working remotely actually increases employee productivity. The flexibility that remote workers experience allows them to better manage their time and focus on their tasks. This is why it’s a good idea to allow your hybrid team more agency over their work schedules and practices.
Set up your hybrid team for success with Cutting Edge Network Technologies. We’ll provide you with best-in-class business IT that will make the transition to hybrid work as smooth and painless as possible. Drop us a line today or download this FREE eBook to learn more about how your organization can benefit from managed IT services.