Improve your hybrid workplace
Tips for maintaining a strong hybrid team
- Ask employees about their needs
- Consider trading open and closed spaces
- Give everyone a chance to be heard
- Maintain flexibility
- Encourage check-ins
Even as more organizations return to the office, it’s clear the hybrid workplace is here to stay, with 79% of organizations announcing an official move to an in-office/remote/both model. This affects some organizations more than others.
“We’ve always been mostly remote,” said Rudy Orman, director of correspondent sales and product development at Reliant Bank in Brentwood, Tenn. “The retail part of the bank is in Tennessee; our group operates nationally.”
With staff members all over the country accustomed to working from home, work during the pandemic was largely business as usual. But even hybrid-experienced teams like Reliant Bank know that face time and FaceTime® aren’t always the same.
As hybrid work becomes more common, Reliant Bank has been able to bring back in-person meetings and find the best methods for meeting every teammate’s needs. Looking to do the same? Check out these hybrid work tips to make managing a hybrid workforce as easy as pressing “Join” for your next virtual meeting.
Idea #1: Ask employees about their needs
Because so many organizations went from office to remote in a matter of days, equipment, apps and other solutions put into place “for now” are still in use. Now that hybrid workplaces have become common, it’s important to ask, “What does our staff need to make this work long-term?”
Connect with your employees and ask them to identify issues and technology that need to be addressed.
Idea #2: Consider trading open and closed spaces
When it comes to worker safety, the traditional office setup may require some out-of-the-box—or rather, the cubicle—thinking.
Staff members once worked in cubes and held meetings in enclosed rooms. Now, trading these two spaces may be the best way to keep staff safe and productive. Large open areas that used to hold cubicles can be reconfigured to get everyone in the same “room.” Creating office spaces staff can use provides less contact and more privacy for virtual meetings.
Using easy-to-move tables, chairs, laptops and screen blockers can make it fast and easy to create working spaces that meet your team’s and organization’s needs.
If open space isn’t available in your office, consider embracing the great outdoors. When the Kentucky Housing Corporation in Frankfort, Ky., wanted to give everyone some face time after a year of primarily working remotely, they brought back the company picnic.
We wanted to give everyone an opportunity to meet with their friends, their colleagues and their departments while keeping everyone safe,” said Molly Tate, managing director of communications and marketing.
A folding chair with a carrying bag provided the perfect solution and gift.
“The staff could take their lunch anywhere on campus, or to one of the local parks where we rented a shelter,” Tate said. Staff continued using the chairs even after the company picnic and even brought them back to the office for a staff member’s outdoor retirement gathering.
Bring staff together for outdoor events by using these promotional chairs.
Idea #3: Give everyone a chance to be heard
When some of your staff is in-house and the rest remote, it can be easy to lose voices in the shuffle. During a conversation or brainstorming session, pause the conversation from time to time to see if anyone remote has input.
Another practice for making the hybrid workplace fair is to adopt an “if one is remote, all are remote” stance. Have every staff member—even those at the same conference table—use a personal laptop or tablet to speak to the group. In addition to ensuring everyone has a consistent experience, people can easily drop in and out for small group work or side huddles.
Idea #4: Maintain flexibility
After a year of flexible schedules and locations, setting hard-and-fast rules requiring in-office time or hours may contribute to turnover. In fact, 40% of employees have stated they’ll find a new job if they’re not able to keep working from home. If you need to implement a change, clearly explain why it needs to happen and what you can do to accommodate employees who need flexibility.
Idea #5: Encourage check-ins
In-office managers can easily talk to their team members, stopping by for a quick check-in or discussion about their projects. Meanwhile, remote employees can end up out of sight and out of mind. For Reliant Bank, going back to being a hybrid workplace gave everyone a chance to get some face time.
“Twice a year we would do a group meeting, get everyone face to face as a team,” Rudy Orman said. “These meetings keep from everyone from feeling like they’re on an island.”
Those connections can take other forms as well. For some, it’s a virtual call once per month. Orman flies out to meet with his regional salespeople on an individual basis, and the team also meets up at mortgage conferences throughout the year. And at the height of the pandemic, to help boost the feeling of being on the same team, they sent everyone a branded cap. Even small gestures like this can help coworkers feel more connected.
Help co-workers feel connected with promotional gifts.
Teaming up together
A great hybrid workplace puts your staff in the driver’s seat, offering them flexibility and the ability to feel like part of the team both in and out of the office.
“We have a core staff of 35-45 who come on-site every day,” said Molly Tate, Kentucky Housing Corporation. “And people do come in for meetings.”
By thinking creatively and being responsive to team members’ needs, they’ve found a hybrid balance that gives every staff member a seat at the table.
Looking for more information about this topic? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with inquiries.
Create a better hybrid work experience with these employee gifts.