6 Tips: How To Maintain A Productive Hybrid Workforce
Long before the pandemic ever hit, HR managers debated whether remote work would be a viable option for their workforce. When the world came to a halt, companies were forced into letting their staff work from home.
Since then there have been a number of surveys that showed that employees tended to be more productive when working from home. However, now that we’re a couple of years out of the pandemic there seems to be conflict around whether people should return to the office or continue working remotely. Like with anything, people prefer different things and it’s no different with the way we work. While some prefer fully remote roles, other prefer the more traditional office based model. To come up with a happy medium, some businesses have adopted hybrid working as their model of choice.
When work leaders started trying to balance remote working and traditional office work, the hybrid work model came into the spotlight. Essentially it’s a model that’ll allow staff to work from the office, from home, or both.
While this model is currently the newest trend, both employees and employers are struggling to maintain and adapt productivity. When it comes to productivity some of the challenges identified that come with hybrid working are:
- Longer working hours
- Social isolation
- Disconnect between employees
- Unfair treatment
When your workforce is spread out over different locations, maintaining productivity becomes one of the main concerns of a business. Let’s take a look at how you can better manage a hybrid working model to maintain productivity.
- Flexibility is Key
When thinking of the hybrid model, flexibility pops up in mind as synonymous. This means there are no rules regarding work that are set in stone. It means experimenting with various models, allowing people to discover what works best for their business by allowing their employees to decide where they want to do the work from.
The traditional office-based work model is rigid, meaning that all staff work within guidelines of when they can start and end the work day. Whereas the hybrid model is a combination of several work models that emphasises the ability for employees to work in ways or in places where they are most productive.
Being flexible within the hybrid work model is about giving staff members options. Not only can they decide where to work from, but also whether they want to work in the early morning, the day or during the night. Not only that, but some experts have noted that flexibility within the model also means that employees are involved in making crucial decisions as well. When management involved staff in decision-making, they are better equipped to fix and understand their needs, which results in higher productivity.
When people work in an office it is easier for employees to communicate with managers and vice versa. The hybrid model means that staff can work at different locations from each, which could sometimes mean that people aren’t on the same page with colleagues as to what is expected of them from management.
Creating a culture of open communication creates an environment of trust in which employees will find it easier to speak with management. When this happens leadership will be far more aware of the difficulties their employees face, which in turn will make it easier for them to resolve any issues.
A recent survey found that nearly 60% of employees that don’t work in the office missed out on important information. This can happen when employees work in different places and shifts, which can make it difficult to get everyone on the same page.
Furthermore, employees can sometimes lose sight of what management expect, which can affect productivity. Therefore, management must be clear on what is expected of employees. An example would be employees being required to fill out monthly reports of their projects if managers want to follow their progress.
Overcoming communication issues is crucial if you want to have a successful work environment. Strategies to follow to increase effective communication could be the following:
- Communication channels
- Clear directives
- Creating opportunities for personal engagements
- Asking for reviews and feedback
It’s vital that leadership makes sure that all staff have access to effective communication channels regardless of where they work from. Another way to make sure that open communication is achieved is by ensuring that employees know how their opinions contribute to company growth. To do this, some large companies have started hosting podcasts for internal release and use, while smaller ones could do something similar but more simply with a monthly email.
3. Setting boundaries
Sometimes managers can lose control over what employees do throughout the work day. It’s important to set boundaries for your staff and keep them focused on the tasks they need to do.
- Open-door policy: Workers having direct access to management helps keep employees for more focused. When there’s an open-door policy employees can work faster as they can get quicker assistance from leadership.
- Holding regular meetings: Regular meetings serve the purpose of reminding employees that they work in a structured system. Not only that but meetings that are organised regularly also help keep people engaged as well as promoting human interaction even outside of the office.
- Giving & receiving feedback: A dedicated channel for receiving and giving feedback helps to keep employees engaged.
4. Creating an appropriate working environment
Management has very little control over the environment in which remote employees work in a hybrid working model. However, studies show that the environment in which people work has a direct impact on productivity. If your employees don’t have suitable spaces at home from which they can work, their engagement and productivity may take some hits.
A study found that 72% of remote worker don’t have a dedicated office space. It also found that almost half of remote workers don’t even have a proper working desk. Companies such as Google however have realised the importance of having a proper work space and give their employees stipends to pay for essential office furniture.
Every company who adopts the hybrid work model should create a budget for this. By putting together a fun to help staff have everything they need from home will in turn help productivity.
5. Realize there isn’t a one-size fits all
Like with anything in life, people are different and it’s the same when it comes to where they work and how productive they are. Some people may thrive in certain working conditions, while others may struggle to keep up with assigned tasks in the same environment.
Individuals are all different; some thrive working alone, while others thrive in a group setting. This is why leadership needs to recognise these factors and encourage their employees to adopt systems that suit them best.Adopting a one-size fits all working model will likely backfire otherwise.
6. Productivity tools and support
If you don’t offer the right tech tools to connect the dots, you’ll find nearly impossible to maintain a productive hybrid workforce as a business.
If your employees have access to the right tools they’ll be able to keep connected with everyone from colleagues, to management, and even customers. And as we said previously, communication is vital in this work module. Productivity rests on all your employees having access to the same information regardless of where they are working from.
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