Transitioning to a hybrid work model raises some concerns from all parties involved. Leadership may be worried about the impact on performance and productivity while employees could be anxious about the disadvantages working remotely could have on culture and the likes of it. All of the potential challenges that come with hybrid work are valid and should be addressed. For this reason, we’ve outlined the 4 best practices to build an equitable workplace and to avoid making these hypothetical issues a reality.
Remote workers will need to be adequately equipped to perform at their jobs in this new hybrid environment. This means supporting and preparing your employees to work remotely as well as providing the proper physical equipment needed.
Employees should be guided on how to remain productive and engaged with their respective teams and projects. Training(s) on remote work in addition to tips on how to become autonomous should be made available to your employees so that they are well prepared for remote work.
Encourage workers to be transparent and invite them to create a work schedule that satisfies their specific flexibility needs. In addition to this, encourage your employees to keep their messaging app status and work calendar up to date so that others can have a clear idea of when they are available or not. By joining this two practices, you will create a hybrid work environment where all employees feel equally at ease to do their work when it suits them best.
You also need to make sure that employees who work remotely have access to the equipment they require to do perform well. Typically the equipment required includes monitors, high-speed internet, and ergonomic furniture but it is possible that your employees will require more or less than what is listed.
Providing remote employees with both the physical and cognitive resources they require is sure to improve everyone’s work experience. It will make it easier for on-site staff to collaborate with their remote colleagues while the remote workers will be able to remain productive regardless of where they work.
Of the perks of a hybrid work model, employees having a say in their work schedule is one of the most alluring to the masses. However, if organizations want a successful hybrid workplace, policies must be put in place. Workplace policies will help avoid surplus of people in the office at once as well as making the office easier to manage.
Consider what type of scheduling framework will work best for your enterprise and make sure that all employees have been trained on it. There are different types of schedule models available; you can choose to have employees work on-site on certains days or weeks, you can leave it up to managers’ to coordinate with their teams to schedule on-site time, or you could leave it entirely to employees to decide when they choose to come in or not.
You may realize that no one schedule type fits your needs perfectly and end up creating your own scheduling framework tailored to your organization’s specific needs. However, at the same time, rules that benefit some but not all people can be restrictive. Empowering managers to engage with their team members to accept extenuating situations is one of the finest methods to achieve equity.
Your workplace design will have a significant impact on how often employees visit the office and for how long. Ultimately, you want the hybrid office to bridge the gap that remote works brings in regards to building culture such as less frequent spontaneous run-ins with colleagues and other opportunities to connect with others.
Aside from this, it’s critical to make sure your office includes a diverse range of spaces. Your workspace should be able to accommodate whatever type of work that your employees need to complete, whether it’s solo or collaborative. Your workplace should include individual desks, assigned or not, informal meeting areas, and conference rooms. Some employees may like to visit the office for face-to-face meetings only while others may use their on-site days to meet up with clients or members of various teams for casual catch-ups.
Employee contribution and feedback is one of the best tools out there to create a hybrid workplace that is just right, so don’t skip over it. Your employees should be informed about any changes to the workplace that may affect them, whether it be changes to schedules, the physical workspace, or on-site resources and whenever feasible, invite and encourage employees to provide input prior to any changes.
Keeping your staff informed on a regular basis will reduce the resistance to change and help you create an environment where your employees are excited to visit. Create different channels where you can get frequent, unfiltered feedback from your employees and be sure to follow through with their comments so that everyone feels heard.
Creating a hybrid workplace that is fair to all is a continual, iterative process. It’s critical for businesses to understand that implementing a hybrid work model is a step toward greater equity for all employees, not an absolute equalizer.
Following these four techniques will ensure that you can provide support to employees across your organization. If you do, all of your employees will feel more resourced and supported to accomplish their best work, not just a select few.