A great leader must take the time to adjust to new situations and figure out what their leading style will be. A leader should be open-minded and have the well-being of their employees at heart.
When setting expectations, communication is the key. First, you have to make sure all your employees clearly understand what is expected of them when working remotely and at the office. Then, to avoid confusion and misdirection, set expectations early on.
Tips for setting expectations:
- Communicate the changes with your team: Talk to your team about the creation of new protocols. Make sure everyone knows where they stand and what they are expected to do.
- Highlight the changes: Prepare your employees by ensuring them that not everything is changing. Let them know about the aspects of your company that will remain the same and the aspects that will need to be adapted.
- Communicate: Have a clear discussion about how and when you are going to communicate with each other. Come up with an agreement with your team about communication. Figure out things like who should be included in what kind of discussions, who has access to what information, who needs to make or have input in which decisions, and who will have access to what information.
- Talk about working hours: Make sure you find out your team’s desires when it comes to their hours. For example, some may want more flexibility, while others may want more structure.
- Have recurring meetings: Run recurring meetings with your team so that you can share updates on progress or challenges and be able to connect.
While transitioning into a hybrid work model, the team may develop resentment towards or negative attitudes towards each other. For example, the employees mainly based in the office may feel as though the employees working at home are not working as hard or are having an easier time managing work-life balance.
A great way to avoid this is to allow the staff working in-office flexibility when it comes to time off that they may need to go to appointments, pick up children from school, and do other things.
Making sure everyone in the office is encouraged to build relationships is also a crucial step in inclusivity. There should be mutual support and respect from every team member to one another. A great way to emphasize inclusivity is to make all team meetings take place in a video call. Even though some people may be in the office together, employees working from home will not be excluded from big decisions and will weigh in and build relationships.
Reflect on biases and aim for equity
Choosing favourites as a leader may be tempting, but the workplace has no room for biases between employees and employers. So as you move into a hybrid place, think about how your biases may be affecting your decisions.
Becoming closer to the employees in close proximity is unavoidable; however, you must strive to create an equitable environment, where some employees don’t feel disadvantaged for not being in close proximity more than others.
Tips on avoiding biases:
- Evaluate job performances the same way for all employees: It is important to apply the same performance evaluation metrics across your entire team. In a hybrid work model, you will no longer be evaluating on an input-based system but rather an output system based on objectives.
- Deliberately include all team members: As a leader, try to split your time equally between the remote employees and those in the office more often.
- Acknowledge the work your team has done: No matter where your staff has done their work, be sure to acknowledge their hard work so that they don’t feel unseen and unnoticed.
- Use cameras for online meetings: A survey by Zoom found that 82% of people are more trusting when the video is turned on, which could nurture a trusting relationship between you and your team.
Bring employees together
In a hybrid work model, it might be difficult for some staff to get to know each other. Although all your staff may work in the office regularly, there’s a possibility that some of them may never interact. Regardless of how much employees work from home or the office, creating a team spirit is important to your company’s growth. The more your team knows each other, the better they will be aligned and striving to maintain common goals.
Your goal should be to create opportunities to bring your team together. For example, to boost team unity and harmony, it would be helpful to get your staff together for in-person get-togethers once in a while. Although they may not be often, it is important to have your staff bond with each other at least once in a while.
Creating a strong company culture
In a regular working model, the company culture is fairly defined. However, in a hybrid work model, company culture will not be as easily formed, so you will need to put some effort into cultivating and nurturing a strong culture.
The first thing you will need to do is define your company culture and seek mutual respect and trust from your employees. You will also want to set clear intentions on what you will require from your employees. They should know what the company’s priorities are and how to achieve what they are set out to.
You will want to build an environment of vulnerability and encouragement. Encourage office-based and remote workers to build on their working relationships proactively. Encourage them to also reach out to each other when they need help and recognize those who do.
Lastly, try to create get-togethers, whether virtual or in-person, to get everyone familiar with one another and cultivate relationships. Your hybrid workplace should be a place where you can facilitate an atmosphere of mutual support, trust, and respect.