Before the pandemic, working remotely was more of an exception than the norm. Fast forward to 2021 and circumstances have created a shift in work preferences. Today, more than half of employees want to work remotely at least three days a week once the pandemic is over. What’s more, less than 20% of executives say they want to return to pre-pandemic office life. Many are now looking at hybrid options.
Although a hybrid workplace looks different for every organization, it’s basically a mix of in-person and remote work. Forty percent of people rate flexibility as the biggest benefit of remote work. Although many businesses cannot offer remote work to every employee, a hybrid model can be a nice compromise. Here are three tips to make it work for your organization.
Develop a policy
Developing a policy and guidelines is crucial to hybrid success. Issues to be considered include:
- How often will employees be expected to work in person?
- What positions cannot be done remotely?
- Can staff attend meetings or events remotely?
- Will your company provide technology, like a laptop or phone?
- What will the security protocol be for remote workers?
Once you figure out a policy, do some all-staff training to ensure everyone understands the rules. Leave time for “what ifs” and questions to make sure everyone is on the same page. Provide each employee with a journal and pen to keep track of questions and concerns and jot down training notes.
Provides tools for success
To make a blended model work for everyone, you should invest in the right technology. Consider what project management, document sharing tools and communication platforms will be needed. And be sure to decide how virtual work will be tracked.
Some promotional tech items can make the transition easier. If your company is going to provide laptops, a padded laptop bag will keep their device safe while in transit. If employees take customer calls while working remotely, a quality pair of ear buds are sure to be appreciated. Remote workers will also love a webcam cover.
A sometimes-overlooked aspect of remote work is that virtual staff may feel left out. To help everyone feel included, provide similar experiences for in-person and remote employees. During meetings, have everyone turn on their web cameras for virtual face time. Schedule regular check-ins with everyone on the team—no matter where they work. Start a team communication channel where staff can post about work wins, hobbies, favorite recipes and more. And keep everyone socially connected with virtual get-togethers like coffee breaks, lunches and happy hours. You can even offer rewards for participation. Every time an employee attends a virtual get-together or engages in the company communication channel, enter them into a prize drawing for an insulated wine cup, high-five pen or commuter tech kit.
Hybrid offices: A new way of conducting business
Developing policies and guidelines, providing staff with the proper tools and offering consistent experiences to all employees are sure to lead to success for your hybrid workspace.