As restrictions incurred by the pandemic continue to ease, the call to bring employees back to the office is growing stronger. Many companies are still figuring out how to manage this, but it is clear that the hybrid model of work, which includes some combination of on-site and remote workers, is likely to remain popular across the workforce landscape.
Empowering these new hybrid teams to perform at their best is the new leadership challenge.
Here are some suggestions for achieving successful outcomes.
Openly discuss expectations about moving forward
To gain the cooperation of both types of workers, leaders should actively solicit their feedback about this new working model. Leaders should ask workers about the challenges they face and the expectations they have. As this is a new situation for them also, managers should be candid about their own concerns and expectations. Managers will make the final decisions and may not be able to accommodate every request but fostering inclusiveness and feedback breeds loyalty.
Consider the effectiveness of each space
The role of the physical office is forever changed. Moving forward, the on-site office setup will be more about building relationships and connecting with others, rather than a place to just get work done. This is an important consideration when thinking about office layouts and features.
In the case of hybrid setups, employees will split their time between their homes and your on-site offices, your working world will also occupy two distinct realms. The goal is to get efficiency and productivity from each. One way to accomplish this is to determine which activities are best done in the office and which can be done at workers’ homes. For example, conducting meetings in person might go faster than video conferences, while tasks that require uninterrupted concentration might be better done at home.
Maintain open communications
Keeping employees connected in a hybrid working environment is a paramount concern. Remote workers especially can easily feel out of the loop when they are not on-site, and on-site workers may feel distanced by not seeing fellow workers in person. To alleviate this tension, managers can lead their teams by communicating with all their employees regularly and reliably. One solution is to choose a centralized channel through which all workers and managers communicate and which can be accessed on any device. Some companies have found success with systems such as Slack or Trello which feature mobile and desktop versions of their platforms.
Empower and trust your workers
Sometimes the most effective way to lead is by letting go. Team leaders should not abandon their responsibilities, of course, but rather allow employees to work independently more often, whether on-site or remotely. Obviously, managers will need to intervene if goals are not met, but employees who feel valued, trusted and empowered by their managers often turn in impressive results. As leaders support their team members, the reverse will also be true.
There is no single strategy for success but showing employees that you are in this situation together with a common goal of working harmoniously can go a long way to making your hybrid teams shine.
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