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Hybrid work life will take a lot of adjustment

Nick Gallimore - Clear Review

Hybrid life will soon become the norm for many workers around the world. This idea of splitting employee time between the office and home working comes with its advantages, such as allowing for smaller office spaces by using a hot desk system, giving staff opportunity to work wear best suits their work for the day, giving teams the chance to collaborate face to face again etc.

However hybrid working will be a big adjustment for many who are not used to working from multiple locations. With this in mind, Clear Review’s Director of Talent Transformation: Nick Gallimore has put together the following top ten tips to help your staff adjust to hybrid life:

Check in regularly: We believe one of the most important things you can do for your staff is to keep communication open to them. It is always start to check in regularly with staff to ensure they are working to the best of their ability and have got any blockers or stressors preventing their productivity. During times of change and uncertainty this is more important than ever.

Ensuing managers are having meaningful conversations with staff at least once a month will mean staff feel listened to, they can voice their issues or concerns with these changes, and your organisation has a view on how staff are performing in the new working model.

Keep them in the loop: Keeping with the theme of good communication, your organisation should do its best to keep staff as in the know as it can. A survey by McKinsey & Company stated that “Employees who feel included in more detailed communication are nearly five times more likely to report increased productivity.” Staff want to know what is happening with their organisation and any changes that might affect them and their work.

Once you know what you hybrid working model will look like, don’t sit on this information for long time. Sharing this information as early as you can with staff will give them more time to adjust and prepare for their new working model. That being said, make sure the information is correct and final, otherwise you may have to send out amendments and this could muddy the waters.

Be clear with what you want from them: Whatever you decide to do around hybrid working, be sure there is no ambiguity around your hybrid working rules. All your staff need to know what is expected of them, and why you have made these decisions for your organisation. This way there will be no room for misunderstandings between managers, staff or HR as to where staff should be and when.

Ensure they have everything they need: If your team is split between two locations, ensure they have everything they need both in the office and wherever they are working remotely. A lot of staff will have moved pieces of equipment from offices to their home. Practically speaking, they won’t be able to move large pieces of equipment (such as chairs, monitors etc.) back and forth every week.

Somebody who is uncomfortable in their set up is unlikely to be as productive as possible, so if your organisation is implementing hybrid working, you’ll need to provide your staff with everything they need to work comfortably at both working locations.

Take their issues seriously: If staff are struggling / have any blockers, be sure managers and HR are listening to them. It’s no use having monthly check-in for staff to talk to their managers, if nothing comes of it when they raise issues. For some, hybrid working will be a struggle for many different reasons.

Remember that unhappy staff are likely to be less productive, so it’s really in your organisations best interest to do what you can to work with employees to resolve issues where possible.

Encourage more team catch ups: Once office spaces are open again it would be a great opportunity for teams to meet up again. Some members of staff may have join since the start of the pandemic and might not have had the opportunity to meat team member yet, and many others will be missing co-workers they used to see almost daily.

If meeting face to face isn’t possible, due to location for example, encourage your teams to have regular video calls that focus more around team building than work. How teams get along and interact can have a huge impact on how well they work together, encouraging team bonding could help your organisation in the long run.

Consider their personal needs: Whilst you may be hoping you can find a one size fits all solution for your hybrid working model, this may not be possible. Whilst many people enjoy working from their homes, and find it a productive place to work, others don’t feel this way. Consider parents who have children at home during the working day, or younger workers who have house mates, or are working from their bedrooms.

If someone is telling you their remote set up doesn’t allow for a productive work set up, listen to them, and if possible, allow them to be in the office as often as they need.

Be as flexible as possible: This will be different depending on each organisation, but where possible we would recommend giving staff the choice of where they work. Rather than asking staff to come into the office, for example, every Monday and Thursday, or a minimum of 3 days a week, instead you could ask them to be in the environment that best suits the task they are carrying out.

This way of working means if an employee wants feels an office setting will help the most that day, they can work in the office, but if they will work better in the quiet of their own home, that’s fine too. Giving them this option is a sure way to easing some of their concerns around hybrid working.

Phase the return to the office: If you plan to eventually have your employees in the office for the majority of the week, you might want to consider making this a more gradual return. A lot of people have gotten used to the way that have been working of over a year now, and going straight back to 4 or 4 days a week in the office might be stressful for them.

Remember that some of you employees might not enjoy the human contact that comes with office life, and the pandemic could have intensified those feelings. Try starting with one day back in the office and increase this over a couple of months until you get to the ratio you intend to stick with. This will allow employees with social anxieties to get used to being around people again more easily.

Sync your teams up as much as possible: If your organisation decides to have set days that each person will go into the office, try to think about which people are in at the same time. If there are team members who work collaboratively a lot it would be helpful to have them all in at the time in order to make this easier. This could also help with moral, as having some member of teams in the office and socialising, whilst other are at home, could damage a team’s dynamic.

Being mindful of your employees’ thoughts and feeling around hybrid work, and keeping clear and honest communication open with them will go a long way to helping your staff adjust to the new way of working.

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