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Is your organization transitioning to remote work? Or maybe only some employees are working off-site while others are returning to the office. As you work toward finding your ideal hybrid work model, try these five best practices for optimal engagement and productivity.
Prioritize consistent and clear communication
One of the biggest challenges of remote workforce management is establishing and maintaining effective communication. If you want to implement hybrid workplace best practices, you should start with your communication strategy. Clarify what types of communication happen in which channels.
For example, what do you say in an email versus a chat? How should you notify team members about days out of office versus time out for lunch? By setting expectations for technology use in each scenario, you’ll have simpler communication that helps a split workforce feel united.
Keep working for human connection
The remote workplace offers numerous benefits, yet it isn’t without its downsides. One of the biggest challenges is that remote work eliminates routine, face-to-face interactions. Cubicle-mates, breakrooms, office kitchens, conference rooms – each of these places are marked by human connection. When those interactions are fewer and farther between, you have to work harder to maintain connectedness.
Managers should look out for signs of employees feeling stranded, free-floating, ignored, or forgotten. Burnout is a serious issue impacting today’s workforce. In our 2022 Pulse of Talent survey, 81% of respondents from around the world reported experiencing burnout. That’s incredibly high. Keep working for human connection and encourage employee mental health, so you can protect your hybrid workforce.
Hire hybrid talent with purpose
Your organization consists of two core groups: staff who transitioned to remote work with you and new hires who were onboarded after. While working with the primary group is essential, you should also think through your remote hiring practices.
Do you plan to re-enter office spaces in the future or make remote a permanent option? Will you continue leasing office space or cut rent costs? Each of these questions impact how you conduct hiring for your hybrid workforce.
If you plan to return in person, you should only hire remote workers living in proximity to your current offices. But if you plan to instate permanent remote roles, you can branch out across state – and even country – borders for talent.
Clarifying these expectations impacts everything from your talent pool to your tax situation. If a candidate works from home in one state or province but commutes to another for in-office days, you’ll have trickier taxes to manage. Be sure to assess these hybrid work challenges before hiring and onboarding.
Set productivity and workflow expectations
Ensuring productivity from remote workers requires thoughtful project and people management. Without workflow expectations, you’ll end up with a distracted, disorganized workforce. In fact, our 2022 Pulse of Talent survey indicated that 33% of burnout-affected workers are less focused at work. Promote productivity and wellbeing with frequent communication between team members, clear due dates, and identifiable project tasks.
When people are working in and out of the office, you’ll need to rethink your organizational systems. For instance, you will need to create hybrid work schedules that account for a split workforce. You might also need to adjust communication platforms. No matter what systems you restructure, make sure you clarify the boundaries and processes to ensure maximum productivity.
Don’t compromise culture
Culture is a pillar of your business identity that impacts how you conduct business externally and live out your values internally. Don’t let distance compromise culture; try to replicate the atmosphere, engagement, and ease of conversation that exists in person. This could be something as simple as quick check-ins with funny GIFs to breathe life into chat groups or more formal company-wide education on core values.
You should also consider how in-office perks impacted your culture previously and translate that to the hybrid work environment. For example, if you served breakfast and snacks in the office, you should send employees food-related care packages every few months. Maybe you had a fitness center in your office complex. In that case, give employees a stipend for gym memberships close to home. Don’t forget that the in-office benefits make a difference in your workplace culture, and you have the chance to work them into remote life.
The more you fine-tune your current systems, the easier it’ll be for your organization to achieve its goals and grow, despite the challenges of a split workforce. Which of these hybrid work model best practices will your organization try?