Due to the global situation, some companies are transitioning to a hybrid workforce model with some employees working from home while others are in the office. One survey showed 78% of respondents want to work remotely at least part of the week while 56% want to be completely remote. In July, another survey found that while 86% of U.S. employers said they were more confident about remote work, most employees were expecting to return to in-person work within 12 to 18 months. A hybrid workplace can raise concerns about productivity, accountability and your company’s culture. But it can bring opportunities, too.
Be mindful of home environments
Some schools are now allowing in-person classes, while some remain fully remote. Some are even adopting a hybrid model. Given the constant state of change many are experiencing, it may be difficult for remote workers with school-aged children to remain productive. You can start an online conversation where employees can share tips, advice and encouragement with others working from home. Encourage participation by sending thank-you gifts to frequent contributors. A stemless wine glass or a jar full of chocolate makes for tangible encouragement.
Go the extra mile to include remote workers
Going out of your way to make sure remote workers feel seen can show how much you appreciate them. To encourage the entire team to contribute their thoughts, create a chat thread devoted to idea-sharing and feedback. Have both in-person and remote workers contribute. When you implement someone’s ideas or feedback, make sure to let that them know. Or hold monthly brainstorming sessions, where everyone who gives ideas gets entered in a prize drawing. Give out a comfortable hoodie to the winner. Remind everyone that there are no bad ideas, so they should feel free to share any idea they have.
Make accountability realistic
While many companies track activity or mouse movements to keep their hybrid workforce accountable, consider tracking specific tasks and projects instead. In the U.S., many people are working up to three hours more per day than when they were in-office. Switching to a project-based accountability system can free up employees to focus on completing productive assignments rather than worrying about logging hours.
Continue workforce traditions
Employees who feel connected are more likely to excel on collaborative tasks. One way to do this is to continue any traditions usually done in-office. For example, did everyone go out to lunch on the second Friday of the month? Send out a standing invite for a virtual lunch, order some take out and send each team member a set of bamboo utensils. Did you give an “Employee of the Month” award at your staff meeting? Keep up the tradition by sending winners a glass plaque instead of physically handing it to them.
Smooth the transition to a hybrid workforce
With a few remote work gifts to encourage things like productivity and connectivity, you can help make the transition to a hybrid workforce smoother. Employees will greatly appreciate the thought you’ve put into making their new work model easy and effective.