The future of work is here, and it is hybrid. Now that we’ve all passed the great remote work experiment, companies are reimagining the world of work. In a recent Accenture Future of Work Study, researchers discovered that 83% of workers prefer a hybrid work model. The appeal of this model is that it merges the best of both worlds – maintaining flexibility while encouraging the creativity and collaboration that happens from face-to-face interactions.
As you and your organization get on board with hybrid work, you might be wondering how to create a hybrid workplace that, well, works.
We’ve outlined a few ways to make hybrid work a successful experience for everyone involved:
1. Set clear policies and expectations
Clearly outline the policies and standards around what your organization defines as hybrid work. Is everyone required to be in the office three days a week? Do specific roles need to be in-person? Make sure all employees and staff are aware of how they’re expected to allocate their time remotely vs. in the office. Listen to your people as you make these changes! The more you can involve them in the decision-making process and provide clarity around hybrid policies the better.
2. Provide equal opportunities for all
With some people back in the office and some people working remotely, it’s important to make sure that all employees have equal visibility. Make sure that information is readily available to everyone. Create a Slack channel to communicate updates instantly and give each remote participant an in-person “avatar” during hybrid meetings. Everyone should feel seen and heard – regardless of whether they’re working in-person or from home.
3. Maintain a sense of flexibility
Many people will be shifting from fully remote work to on site at the office (even if it’s only two days a week). Remote work provides considerable flexibility that will be hard to give up. Try to maintain some level of flexibility to ease this transition. Can people flex their hours? Could you apply to be remote for a certain amount of time? Recognize people’s needs and preferences and provide options to support them.
4. Connect, communicate, and collaborate
Cultivating connections and building relationships right now is key. After spending the past year and a half working alone, many are looking forward to the prospect of reconnecting with co-workers in-person. When people are in the office, encourage them to walk around, check-in with team members, and eat lunch away from their desks with others. Utilize this co-located time to reestablish personal connections. Think about ways to provide opportunities for virtual and in-person employees to work together on projects or solve problems together to help bridge the gap between those working remotely and in the office.
5. Build on success from remote work
Don’t forget about all your organization’s successes during the remote work period! Spend time reflecting on what worked well in terms of technology and collaboration tools. Invite your team to have an open dialogue around what tools you’d like to keep as you move into the hybrid space. If shared calendars worked well, continue using them. If people enjoyed virtual social events, keep planning them. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel!
6. Get granular with your team
Company policies and protocols are great – but the devil is in the details. Every team should have granular conversations to determine the best way to make a hybrid environment work for them. Discuss and articulate specific needs, wants, and expectations. Get granular around how to communicate, run meetings, maintain collaboration, etc. Hybrid success is everyone’s responsibility so be sure that you and your team are aligned with a shared set of agreements.
7. Evaluate and Calibrate
For most organizations, the hybrid work model is an experiment. Therefore, it is essential to frequently assess and adjust. Take time to gather feedback from team members on what is working well and what needs attention. Look for ways to enhance the experience and address challenges, obstacles, and missteps. A simple plus/delta conversation (what’s working well/what needs adjusting) can go a long way to help fine tune your hybrid policies and practices.
Succeeding with hybrid work may be a bumpy transition for sure, but you’ll be well-equipped to tackle it with these strategies!