Five tips for an effective hybrid working strategy

By Mark Baggs, Head of Global

people working around a whiteboard

The global pandemic, for the vast majority, has completely shifted the way we work. Whether it’s been the move from the office to a room at home, or from selling face to face, to virtual. The pandemic has presented many challenges that businesses have had to adapt to, in a very short time.

According to a recent survey by BOB, they found around 42% of people are now working to a hybrid work model.

graph showing post lockdown work status

Source: BOB

 

Those who have been able to navigate the changing environment best, are those who’ve been able to utilise new technologies and business practices quickly, whilst still being able to serve their customers.

What is the future of hybrid working looking like?

From research into current and future plans of businesses in the UK and the US, it seems the hybrid style of working is here to stay. In the UK, a survey found around 8 out of 10 business are going to be making the new model of working, a permanent one. In a global report, it’s been suggested  72% of corporate leaders plan to offer a hybrid model, and only 13% say they expect to decrease their real estate footprint in the next year.

With the majority seeming to prefer a hybrid style of working, it’s vital a robust and effective strategy is put into place to enable a smooth transition. Getting the right strategy can come with many challenges. From deciding who will come into the office when, to ensuring the new structure doesn’t impact collaboration, creativity, and general productivity.

When done right, a hybrid strategy enables an increased work-life balance for employees, increased well-being and facilitates an improved working style.

Here are some top tips to help you nail your hybrid working strategy.

Put communication first

Never has communication been more important than during the pandemic. At a time when stress levels amongst employees were incredibly high, to maintain a good relationship between workplaces and employees, effective communication was required.

In the world of work that is still constantly changing, this communication needs to be maintained. Employees need to be kept in the loop regarding reopening plans, guidelines, and employee expectations. Not doing so, will leave employees feeling frustrated and devalued.  

Lead by example

No one likes to be made to follow a set of rules not followed by the person setting them. So, it’s important everyone from C-Suit level downwards also works to a hybrid model. This helps emphasise the importance of implementing the new working model and helps ease employees minds when it comes to being hesitant to return to work.

This links to the previous point, but it’s important leaders and the CEO communicate with employees to ensure they’re committed to the new way of working and gather any opinions or worries staff may have regarding it. A good way to do this is to provide an FAQ which could address any potential questions staff may have.

Provide workforce training

Have many processes changed over the pandemic? Any performance metrics, workflows, reporting tools and different forms of communication? If so, current staff and any new staff need to be fully trained to adapt. It’s important time and resources are invested into training, as this will ultimately help increase productivity and ensure all employees are up to date.

Have a solid online and offline working strategy

As important as it is to offer flexibility to employees, it’s important to coordinate when each team members are in, so teams feel connected to each other during the transition back to the office. When full remote working was the norm, presence in the office wasn’t an indicator of ‘hard working.’ Therefore, it’s important this mindset remains, and employees continue to be valued based their ability to do their job.

Integrating online and offline is also important when it comes to meetings. Ensuring meeting rooms have adequate video/audio facilities so that if a team member isn’t in the office, meetings can still go ahead without any technical issues.

Ensure office culture remains consistent

When companies switch to remote, company culture is often the first thing that gets left behind. However, office culture can be a major factor in employee motivation, loyalty and overall wellbeing at work.

 

statistics talking about importance of company culture

 

Source: HR Executive

 

 

In fact, a classic study by Kotter demonstrated that an effective company culture can result in payoffs in revenue growth, retention, stock price and net income. So, how can you ensure measures are put in place to enable a positive company culture with a hybrid working model?

  • Ensure transparency remains between employees and managers whilst in the office and at home. If staff not in the office feel like they’re missing out, this can result in feelings of resentment and not feeling valued.
  • A major part of creating a positive office culture is creating a place where people want to be. If your staff have spent the past year and a half pretty much permanently at home, it’s important the transition back is a positive one. By giving people a reason to come back, i.e having a collaborative, socialising and rejuvenating office space, this will help encourage employees embrace the hybrid style of working. So much so, that they look forward to their office days. The office should offer comfort and enable employees to have an element of control of their surroundings so they feel a part of the decision making during the process.

Ultimately leaders who prioritise their employees during the transition to a hybrid working, will find they get the best results not only in productivity, but employee satisfaction.

If you need any assistance mobilising your workforce, get in touch with a member of our team today.

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