Remote working was undoubtedly on the rise pre-pandemic. But the last two years have caused a sudden surge in the number of people working from home. As lockdowns hit, it was unsafe to go into the workplace - so virtually everybody, from management consultants to general practitioners, took their work home with them.
Working from home definitely has its benefits. However, events over the last two years have shown people how important human connection is. Many professionals who have been working from home have craved interacting and collaborating with others face-to-face. Others can do their job much better if they are actually in the workplace.
But people want a balance. They don’t want to commute every day if they can easily do their work from home, but still like having the opportunity to go into the office. The solution? Hybrid working.
Hybrid working is a style of work that’s here to stay. It is quite simply working remotely for a certain number of days per week and working in an office for the other days. Hybrid employees could work mainly remotely or mainly in the office, and they don’t necessarily go into the office on the same days each week.
Hybrid work means that employees can save commuting time on the days that they don’t have to go into the office, so they can spend more time doing leisure activities or with their friends and family. However, it also helps people build workplace connections and complete some work on a face-to-face basis.
It’s basically a win-win.
Hybrid working is certainly on the rise. A 2021 survey from Gartner reports that 49% of HR managers will let employees work remotely on certain days, with 32% of HR leaders saying that they will allow their employees to work remotely all the time.
If you manage a team and are interested in following a hybrid working model, you might be confused about where to start. Here are our best tips.
Some workplaces can function well without a set schedule of who comes in on what days. If this is the case for you, simply communicate this to your employees. Also, tell them whether they just need to show up or should arrange which days they will come in in advance.
On the other hand, some workplaces may want people to come in on set days. This could help them confirm that certain people will be able to work together or ensure that the office will never exceed capacity.
If your workplace runs like this, make sure that you work out a schedule with your employees in advance. However, your employees may appreciate it if this can be a little flexible, provided they give notice.
When you are acting as a virtual leader, the proper hardware is essential. Make sure that every employee has a functioning laptop that they can do their work on. If you are investing in new computers for the company, it’s best to get laptops instead of desktop computers, so people can take them when they work remotely.
It’s also a good idea to have technology that works well with conference calling and collaboration. For example, interactive displays are perfect for in-person and remote meetings. During in-person meetings, you can use your interactive display to present a slideshow or show web pages. Interactive displays also allow you to show a presentation to virtual participants, and you can see them on the display while talking to them - almost as if they are there! You can see all of the interactive displays that Avocor offers here.
You might not have needed it when the whole team was in the office, but a team management software programme is essential for hybrid workplaces - even if just a few people are working remotely. It will help you communicate when you aren’t all in the office and ensure that you stay on top of tasks and deadlines.
The team management software programme that you use will depend on your business, but here are some popular ones to take a look at:
Employees have different reasons for wanting to work on a hybrid basis. For example, perhaps they have children and would like to do the school run two days per week. Or, they might live a long distance from the city and find that their energy levels are much higher when they don’t have to commute five days a week.
Speak to each employee to find out why they want to hybrid work. Then, work out a plan for each one to ensure that their needs are met, but your work still gets done. For example, a colleague who has to do the school run a few times a week might be unavailable between 2:45 and 3:15 pm.
You could sort an arrangement with them where they get the bulk of their work done in the morning and then log in for a few hours in the evening, ensuring that they still complete a full day’s work. Once you have discussed with them, you’ll understand why they are offline during certain hours of the day!
Whether an employee works remotely most days (or every day!) or is in the office, make sure nobody is left out. If something is communicated in the office, make an effort to let any remote employees know as soon as possible. It might be a good idea to schedule a daily catch up with any remote employees via Zoom or another conference calling software.
This is another reason why it’s crucial to ensure that employees all have up to date hardware - so they can easily join conference calls when necessary and feel connected to others!
No matter how long a particular employee has been working, offer them an induction to the new hybrid workplace. You can go over all of the latest software and hardware you will be using and spend time working out schedules.
This is also an excellent opportunity to speak to your employees directly about their expectations for a hybrid working environment.
The world of work is certainly changing fast. But that doesn’t mean that your team needs to be left behind.
When done right, hybrid working environments offer a fantastic work/ life balance and can help teams to be more productive. These simple steps should help your workplace have a thriving hybrid environment into 2022 and beyond!