When the pandemic hit in early 2020, many companies around the world were forced to rethink their work methods. Workers could no longer come into the office as multiple communities went into lockdown, and to prevent a bad situation from getting worse, thousands of businesses turned to remote work.
Months went by and employees and their employers all adapted to a remote workforce model where everyone worked out of the comfort of their homes, but inevitably, the day came when it was time to go back to the office.
Some chose to bring their employees back to the office, and others continued allowing their staff to work from home. A third option became a hybrid workforce, and it is a concept that is continuing to grow in popularity.
Remote and Hybrid Workforce Tips
After having discovered the many benefits of remote work, companies worldwide were suddenly hesitant to go back to the office full time, and the solution became a hybrid workforce collaboration, where part of the workweek would be spent at an office and the other part working from home, or where some employees would work in-office and others remotely.
Here are a few tips for a hybrid or remote work situation:
1. Invest in Staff Training
Before you can expect your team to be successful once going fully remote or entering a hybrid workforce, you need to make sure everyone is prepared. If everyone is clear on how things will work going forward, including schedules, use of technology and general expectations, you set your employees up for success rather than failure.
Put together written instructions so everyone has access to the same information, and if possible, complement with in-person training or video tutorials to avoid misunderstandings or general miscommunication. Keep in mind that not all people learn at the same pace, hence the importance of written guidelines and pointers.
2. Set Clear Goals
When you work in an office, you have a certain structure that lets you know how much you should be working and when, and then you clock out at the end of the day. Simplify things for a remote or hybrid worker by setting clear goals of what is expected each day or week.
This includes work tasks and responsibilities, but also expectations when it comes to communication and how often the employee is expected to come into the office, to check in via phone or email and such. Give your employees direct instructions to prevent them from having to guess.
3. Encourage Communication
Communication is essential, but it goes beyond communication between employers and employees. When you have a hybrid workplace, you want to make sure there is also communication between your in-office employees and those working from home.
For someone who works from home, it is easy to feel disconnected from those who are working in-office, and it is not unusual for traditional workers to unintentionally distance themselves from remote employees. Combat this type of division within the workplace by meetings (either in-person or virtual meetings) and possibly the occasional after-work recreational activity.
4. Avoid Taking Sides
It is significantly easier to build a relationship with employees you see everyday at the office, but one thing that can ruin an attempt of creating a successful hybrid workforce is favoritism. Do your best to avoid taking sides, and put extra effort into treating your remote employees the same as you treat those working on-site.
Focus on treating your staff as one and not as two separate groups, as this could result in the creation of two camps within the workplace. Division is never a good thing when trying to run a successful business, as everyone should be working towards a common goal. You are one team regardless of where your employees work from.
5. Use IT to Boost Effectivity
Technology has come a long way and there are multiple tools and virtual work spaces you can use to help things run smoothly. It is a challenge for both employers and employees to be in different locations during the workday, and especially if a remote or hybrid setup is relatively new. Technology and IT can help lessen the gap.
A common mistake is to rely heavily on the most old-fashioned version of communication – email. There is nothing wrong with emailing, but when you are trying to run a hybrid or remote business, you need a little bit more than that. Using a digital work platform allows you to set up your very own virtual office.
Keep In Mind
It is true that the pandemic changed how companies work and how business is done, but it didn’t change the need for communication within a workplace. When having remote and hybrid workers, the way we communicate needs to be done differently as we can no longer physically supervise everything that is going on, but it remains key to a successful outcome.
Make it your mission to combat one of the most common problems in a hybrid workplace, which is the sensation that there are two separate groups – remote workers and in-office workers, and use your leadership skills to bring everyone together, to the best of your abilities.
Running a hybrid business would have been significantly more difficult only a few years ago, but technology has advanced rapidly and can now facilitate anything from communication to work submissions. This is where online work platforms take on an invaluable role.
If it hadn’t been for the pandemic, most companies likely wouldn’t have explored these options and instead stuck to a traditional office structure for many years to come, and once you get everything up and running, you might find yourself wondering why you didn’t make the switch earlier, but it is up to you, as a leader, to make it work for everyone.
To learn how MIBAR’s tools can help your team work better remotely or via a hybrid setup, visit our Recovery Resource Center today!