The pandemic has been a harsh wake-up call for businesses, but it has also provided an opportunity to reassess the workplace and the nature of work. Work is no longer about where you operate. It is about what you do and how you do it.
The future of work, by all indicators, will be hybrid—where employees work part-time from home and part-time in the office. Research showed 72%of corporate leaders aim to offer a hybrid model within the next year, while just 13% expect to reduce their real estate footprint.
Most employees may not want to report to the office full-time after experiencing remote work, and companies attempting to maintain pre-COVID’s status quo could fail to attract and retain talents. That is why a well-executed hybrid workplace can act as a magnet, drawing people together and allowing employees to work more effectively than ever before.
So how can organisations stay competitive to secure success?
Here are five tips for creating a thriving hybrid work environment.
1. Redefine The Office’s Purpose
During the height of COVID-19, mandatory remote working has caused us to rethink the purpose and meaning of the office. According to Gensler’s Research Institute, full-time work-from-home employees saw a drop of 37% in average collaboration time—causing leaders to conclude that an office is a place for synergetic work. Leaders must realise that hybrid workspaces are ultimately ‘digital-first’ and are not as simple as adapting office duties at the comfort of our homes. Companies need to inform employees on the bigger picture or risk facing subtle, quiet resentment that might contribute to your turnover rate.
2. Streamline Communication
Hybrid work is all about flexibility in redefining workplace communication and collaboration. With workers scattered in the office and at home, communication strategies should be built from the top down and nurtured at the team level. Invest in high-quality collaboration platforms and workplace solutions that promote fatigue-free natural experiences with easy access to the same collaboration capabilities in the office and employees’ cribs. It is almost like bringing the office to employees when they are not physically there but emphasising the connection to the point of overcommunication to ensure information does not get lost in translation.
3. Balance Collaboration and Personal Zones
The office we return to must provide a better experience than what people have at home. As employees enjoy increased productivity when they can work uninterrupted at home, the office must also provide focus and minimise disturbances. Individual and common rooms will require additional enclosure (screens, panels, or pods) to give the visual and auditory seclusion that people have grown to anticipate when working from home.
When people work as a team and then separate to focus individually, digest their thoughts, and follow up on assigned duties—they collaborate effectively. Too much group time combined with insufficient individual focus time can lead to groupthink. Therefore, the pendulum must not swing too much in favour of ‘we’ spaces at the expense of ‘me’ spaces.
4. Treat Everyone Equally
Managers have traditionally rated in-office staff as stronger performers despite limited evidence on the correlation—giving them higher raises and more opportunities to advance. When leaders practise unconscious bias in a hybrid working model, remote employees may feel pressured to get into the office or become discouraged.
Train managers to focus on outcomes rather than individual acts to practise fair judgement on a hybrid team. Give staff voluntary options to work remotely when they need to concentrate and encourage them to enter the shared workspace to feel more connected. Employees should never feel obligated to enter the office more frequently.
It will be critical to reward all work equally, regardless of where it occurs. If you are providing benefits or perks to employees who come into the office regularly, do not forget about those who are physically absent. For example, if the company offers lunch to office-goers, try sending gift cards or food delivery for those who work from home. They are still employees committing time and effort to support your firm. They deserve benefits to make their living space and time more joyful.
5. Do Frequent Check-ins
Keep in mind that different people have different work style preferences. There are no one-size-fits-all work processes, so managers must recognise and encourage value-driven behaviour in hybrid environments. Each worker has specific requirements for the tools they prefer to accomplish their jobs and management and collaboration strategies that bring out their best. Constantly check in with your staff to offer support and solutions to keep your employees happy and accomplished.
We Are Ready to Support You
Building a hybrid workforce can help with employee retention, but only if you alter your culture ahead of time.
With TG Group as your partner, you can offload HR administration tasks to us while you focus on strategic moves to develop a more resilient culture in the face of future disruptions.
Get in touch with us to find out how we can help: firstname.lastname@example.org