As economies begin to reopen again, organisations are making plans to adopt the hybrid workforce model. For some businesses, the future of the workplace will be managing a hybrid workforce – a combination of working from the office and home. In this post, we discuss how leaders can successfully manage a hybrid workforce when they return to the office.
Being in the office five days a week will become a thing of the past for many workers. Over the last eighteen months, the pandemic has accelerated workplace trends, including remote working. For some businesses, remote working will always be a temporary situation but what we have all learned during this crisis period is that the future of work does include flexible working. As we move back to a form of normality, many businesses have decided to embrace a flexible working arrangement and move to a hybrid working model.
While the last year has been tough for a number of reasons, both employers and employees have seen the many benefits of remote working. For employers, they have noticed that productivity level increased when workers are working remotely Employees enjoyed the flexibility and no commute to the office for work. As companies re-evaluate their workplaces post-covid, most will focus on the combination of in-office and remote working. The new challenge leaders need to focus is on how to manage and engage with their hybrid workforce.
Below we provide some tips to help leaders navigate the hybrid working model.
1. Ensure equal treatment
The first challenge all leaders who manage hybrid workforces will have is ensuring that everyone receives equal treatment. Until now, everyone has been working from home and receiving the same time and attention from their managers. However, as people return to the office in rotations (part office, part working remotely), it is important that equal treatment is maintained. Leaders must ensure everyone has access to the same opportunities and resources. If not, some workers may feel excluded, causing disengagement, unhappiness, or even employee turnover.
2. Ensure remote readiness
As companies strategically adopt hybrid working practices, it is important that workers are comfortable working in their home office environment. Employers should complete a risk assessment of home offices to identify any hazards in a workspace. Working in a poor ergonomic space long term can lead to many injuries, so it is vital that employers ensure their worker has the correct equipment (chairs, desks, laptop, keyboard, etc.) in order to work from a safe workspace. By adopting good ergonomics, employees can work comfortably, avoid injury, and improve their productivity while remote working.
3. Maintain active communication
Constant communication is key when managing a hybrid workforce. Leaders must ensure that they have a strong communication plan in place. It is important that workers have access to the correct tools and can communicate through video calls, email, and instant messaging. With a hybrid workforce, it is important that leaders need to ensure everyone receives the same communication reports. In an office, it can be easy to have quick conversations but to ensure nobody is left out of important announcements, daily team meetings are still necessary.
4. Provide support for worker well-being
It is fair to say that the last year has been tough for everyone mentally. Mental health challenges at work have increased over the last year, so it is important that leaders have supports in place for their workers. As people move into flexible working and experience new changes to their work routine, it is important that leaders acknowledge this and provide support to manage the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of their workers.
5. Updated company policies
As businesses move to a flexible working pattern, it is a good idea that all workers receive a refresh on company policy, including the new policies on remote working. Throughout the pandemic, businesses have been future-proofing and updating their company policies. To ensure all workers understand the rules of flexible working, it is vital that they all read the company’s policies, so they know what is expected of them when working in a hybrid workplace.
6. Onboarding new workers
With a hybrid remote work policy in place, businesses have more opportunities to find new talent. Onboarding is a crucial part of the hiring process and failure to implement a structured onboarding plan can be a big mistake. Having a strong onboarding plan in place is beneficial for businesses. With a mixture of training, understanding company policy, and meeting their new colleagues, businesses can easily help integrated new hires into the company.
For some businesses, the future of the workplace will be managing a hybrid workforce. As businesses develop their return-to-work plans, leaders will need to find new ways to manage and motivate their new hybrid workforce. Over the last year, advanced technology has allowed businesses to keep going and remain productive during the pandemic. However, moving to the hybrid work model requires some changed. Leaders need to ensure that there is consistent communication, strong IT systems in place and that all workers receive equal treatment in order to manage a hybrid workforce.