Following the pandemic, the hybrid work environment appears to be shaping up to be the predominant work model for many businesses. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, companies and employees quickly shifted to remote work.
Two years later, there is more flexibility in approaching the work environment. Many employers are finding their workers prefer a hybrid setting.
In a hybrid workplace model, employees work remotely part of the time, and then they work in the office the rest of the time.
There are certainly challenges of this approach to work. For example, since employees are changing locations, IT teams have to address challenges that might arise on the technical side of things. Along with cybersecurity, user experience is a key priority.
As well as those considerations, the following are some of the elements that tend to be present in successful hybrid work environments where there’s seamlessness promoting employee productivity and engagement.
One of the most important things you can never forget when you structure a hybrid workplace is a sense of clarity. It would help if you made sure that your employees are clear on expectations, guidelines, and metrics for success. Your leadership needs the same sense of clarity.
It’s this clarity that’s going to allow your entire team to operate effectively and efficiently.
You want to have a why for everything you do and all that you’re asking of your employees.
When there’s clarity and your employees understand expectations, then they can focus on the job at hand.
Set defined objectives and let your staff work in the ways that they feel are optimal for them.
You’re moving the centralized aspect of work away from the office, so instead, the center of work becomes the results and not a physical location.
Communication is critical for productivity. In a hybrid workplace, you can combine in-person and virtual communication elements and make them work well together.
Use in-person work for collaboration and interaction. Remote work communication should then be limited. Try only to encourage communication that needs to happen. When possible, your team should save contact for their days in the office.
You can promote better and more effective communication in the office by having spaces for one-on-one conversations and meetings. These spaces will clarify that you encourage communication and collaboration when employees are in the office.
You can also add other areas in the physical office to maximize collaboration. For example, your meeting room might become the focal point of the physical office space since there will be fewer opportunities for in-person interactions when you’re hybrid.
When you design or re-design the office space, you really want it to reflect your primary goals in a hybrid situation, which can look very different from the plans you might have when everyone is working in the office all the time
Culture is a collection of your values in action. Culture is what brings teams together, and you should use your in-person workspace to support all of the elements of your culture.
For example, if your goal in facilitating a hybrid work environment in the first place was to allow your employees to have more family time and balance, then make sure you’re highlighting this in your corporate culture.
If your culture supports inclusiveness, you can showcase this in your hybrid work environment. For example, make sure that you’re treating employees working outside the office the same way as those onsite employees. Provide opportunities for things like training, development, and mentorship equally, whether they’re working onsite or offsite.
Flexibility Is Key
We mentioned flexibility above, but it’s the ultimate cornerstone of a thriving hybrid work environment. You want to remember to be accommodating to the preferences of your employees whenever possible because this is one of the most significant benefits of a hybrid office.
When you’re flexible, it will help your employees be happy, and that happiness translates to motivation and engagement.
Above, we discussed the changing role of IT in a hybrid work environment. Security needs to be a priority. With a dispersed work environment, you have to balance competing considerations. You need to protect company data and information. Dispersed work environments lead to new opportunities for bad actors, which you need to mitigate.
You also need to make sure that you’re creating simplicity and ease-of-use for employees and all they need to access to do their jobs.
The third area to focus on is employee privacy, which can be put on the backburner when you’re trying to prioritize cybersecurity. You have to find a way to manage all three effectively, which may be one of the biggest challenges you deal with when making hybrid work.