Across the United States, more than 75% of employees now take advantage of hybrid or remote work environments. Looking back at 2019, that number has nearly doubled. This stat makes it very clear how quickly the working world has changed.
In this article, we reveal nine effective hybrid work tips for managers, based on our extensive practice working with thousands of organizations that went hybrid in the past years.
In fact, these are the same tips we follow in our company, to make hybrid work, work.
Quick summary: Here are the nine tips that leaders should follow to manage a hybrid workplace successfully:
With most companies offering hybrid workplaces, businesses are starting to realize that managers need to adapt to meet the times. It’s about creating boundaries between home and work, working with people across locations, and communicating effectively.
Managers need to support team members as they move into this innovative new environment. Systems, practices, and processes need to be streamlined to meet the needs of workers in a hybrid workplace.
This article will give you all the info you need as a manager to move forward.
One of the most popular stories of exemplary employee engagement is when President Kennedy asked a janitor at Nasa what he was doing, to which he replied, “I’m helping to put a man on the Moon“.
Keeping the workforce enthusiastic and absorbed in the work they’re doing is just as important in a hybrid workplace as it is in a traditional one.
Employees do not need to be in the same building, city, or even state to have opportunities to engage with each other and develop their emotional commitment to the company and its goals.
As a manager, be sure that employees:
This may not be the easiest thing to implement, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Putting in the work to do this will create lasting results.
To ensure employees do a good job, you need to ensure they know what you expect. For a manager, this means setting clear objectives and key results.
It’s also useful to ensure workers know how what they do fits into the organization’s goals as a whole. This is about more than setting goals once annually.
Instead, look toward continuous performance management with regular reviews. We’ve all seen how quickly businesses can change and why employee targets need to be flexible. Managers must be aware of priority changes and determine when to move in a different direction.
Having the right hybrid work software is essential, but it can be challenging to determine what that is when there are so many solutions available.
First, probably the most important feature of such software is the ability to book desks and meeting rooms seamlessly from anywhere. It’s impossible to implement properly desk hoteling or hot desking without it.
Second, as a manager, it’s crucial for you to use accurate data to optimize your hybrid workplace. In that way, you would have a clear view of your team’s office visits and space usage, which will allow you to shape your workplace strategy smarter.
Here’s why your hybrid work solution must have advanced workplace analytics that allows you to track important metrics such as the monthly, weekly, and daily usage of your desks and spaces.
Third, it’s important to consider that most of us are already drowning in apps. It can be frustrating to realize you need yet another one.
Instead of implementing an app that people need to learn, consider software that integrates with the tools you already use. That could be Microsoft Teams and Outlook or Slack, for example.
That way, your employees could book desks and meeting rooms without leaving their favorite applications. A proven hybrid solution that combines all of the above and offers plenty of other useful functionalities is OfficeRnD Hybrid.
Check out the short video below to see the tool in action.
Another of our hybrid work tips for managers is to provide feedback. Whether things are going great or a little off-kilter, feedback tells employees how they are doing. Having regularly scheduled feedback ensures you don’t forget about it in favor of something else that comes up.
Instead of having a single annual review, be more proactive.
Holding regular reviews can motivate employees to do even better. It can also help with maximizing team engagement. Managers must be able to change direction when needed to hit the mark.
Continuous performance management is a huge part of this. It makes both employees and managers take responsibility for what’s happening. While HR focuses on major trends, managers make sure things go well on a day-by-day basis.
Another important tip is to get in there and use the appropriate technology.
Some very useful tools for hybrid workplaces are:
Moving into a new work environment means new processes and systems are in place, so make sure you understand those things to offer support and training.
For example, as a manager, it’s important that you are able to conduct an online review or set up a video conference flawlessly.
Make sure you train workers on how to use the right tools for hybrid work and revisit things that might have changed with the advent of a hybrid workplace.
Not only should you help everyone get comfortable with new technology, but also learn the best methods to manage from a distance. This is what will make you a great manager in today’s world. You have to be effective in any environment.
Coming back to the office full-time is unlikely to occur in the near future. This makes it essential to have a strategic approach to bringing workers into the office while rethinking your hybrid work policies.
There are two approaches, mandate and magnet, and mixing the two is often a great option.
With a mandate approach, workers are mandated to come into the office a certain number of days per week.
For instance, maybe your organization requires all workers to come in twice a week. Magnet, on the other hand, moves away from forced days at the office and instead focuses on making the office an attractive spot for collaboration and socialization.
Think about what people want to come together for, and then make sure the office offers that.
You can use what you already know or even talk to your workers about options. Make the office a lively and fun place where people want to meet up and work together.
We’ve covered pretty much everything about hybrid work and how to craft your workspace policies in the free e-book you can download below.
Based on a poll by PwC of 133 executives, employers indicate that moving to remote work has been effective more than 80% of the time. But how can you be sure that’s true on a regular basis? That’s what check-ins are great for.
But what are employee check-ins exactly?
Simply put, check-ins are regular one-on-one meetings with employees during which managers discuss goals, objectives, and results without making it feel like an actual performance review.
It’s a way to foster two-way communication and ensure you know what’s going on with your team members. Weekly check-ins are a good way to get updates on projects and find out what the challenges are. But this is only useful if you not only listen but take that information and do something about it.
As a manager, you must resolve issues and ensure your hybrid team members are confident and ready to move forward. Managers need to help with career progression and find opportunities for worker development. This ensures workers feel valued and connected. Regular communication is a huge part of that.
Effective collaboration occurs when team members connect, learn more about each other, and work together to achieve common goals. This can be more challenging when some people are in a virtual environment, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
This can start as easily as making sure people are using their cameras when meeting online.
When workers can see each other, it creates a connection and knocks down barriers between employees in different locations. Even non-work-related calls can be useful to get people excited about working together.
Of course, planning time to collaborate in person is essential to boost engagement, productivity, and team culture. Many tasks can be done at home, but some are better done with other workers.
Let people plan to come in for things that go easier with a group, and collaboration is sure to flow.
But how to motivate your team to visit the office more frequently?
One way to bring employees back to the office without rigidly enforcing hybrid work policies is to attract them to visit it more often.
Work towards transforming your office from just a space to a lively place that people want to come to. Make it feel like home to your employees. To do that, you can think about refreshing some parts of the workspace and creating cozy amenities such as green spaces, cafés, or libraries.
To go one step further, you can create surveys or polls and ask workers what type of amenities and dedicated areas they’d like to have in the office. Then act accordingly.
As our last of nine hybrid work tips for managers, let’s look at bias. No worker wants to be biased for any reason, especially pertaining to employees who are at the office versus those at home.
However, proximity bias is something to be aware of. Many leaders unconsciously treat those closest to them better than those at a distance.
You can see this is a problem by looking at the Society of Human Resource Management survey of 800 supervisors. Two out of three supervisors admitted that they feel remote workers are more replaceable than those on site.
Some admitted forgetting to assign tasks to remote workers. You don’t want to be the manager that falls into this trap. It’s important to be aware of proximity bias and fight against it. Make sure you pay attention to everyone, not just those in the same building.
Redirect your focus to those who make contributions from other locations. As you do this more often, it will change the tone of the workplace. When it’s clear that you appreciate all work at the same level, workers can feel comfortable working from wherever meets their needs.
You simply need to show that everyone is working together in achieving shared goals – no matter the location.
Great managers in a hybrid workplace are proactive, inclusive, and flexible. They also tend to be people who have high emotional intelligence. Navigating a new workplace environment can be tough, and the best managers are those who can help employees find solutions to new challenges by avoiding mistakes.
There are a lot of steps for managers when moving to a hybrid workplace. Setting clear expectations, creating inclusive experiences, boosting productivity through intentional collaboration, and providing helpful support and tools are all good places to start. Know that things need to change and be willing to create a place everyone thrives.
There are numerous options for managing performance in a hybrid workplace. One good one is to focus more on outcomes than you do on output. It’s also useful to encourage transparent communication between workers and managers. Having KPIs in place such as employee well-being, collaboration, and office utilization is also very important. For a full list of all key performance indicators you need to track, check out this article.
Making a hybrid workplace better for employees requires changes from a traditional office. Be sure social experiences are baked into the workday, the right tools and systems are available, and remote working sessions are encouraged. Use your space for important meetings while letting workers otherwise choose the environment that they like best.
The best way to make a hybrid workplace successful is by setting the right hybrid work policies, stimulating collaboration, and listening to employees’ needs. Creating equality between in-person and remote employees is essential. It’s also useful to set clear intentions with all workers and to use key performance indicators to measure success.
There are several challenges associated with hybrid working. It’s important to be aware of them and find solutions as a member of the leadership team.
Disrupting work processes, impaired relationships and collaboration, decreased connection to culture, and not having all the right tools to be effective are the most common.
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