Hybrid work models can be challenging. They can offer a lot of demands, but also a lot of rewards. Setting up your team for success and making sure that your hybrid workplace is in good hands is crucial. In this article, we have provided you with a step-by-step guide on what to do to ensure success for your team in a hybrid work model.
Step 1: Provide training
You may have heard this before in your hybrid work model implementation journey, but communication is truly an important aspect of success. If you are not communicating properly, then things can get misunderstood and productivity widely decreases. Effective communication is key. You want to make sure you cover all the bases, explain things thoroughly, and make yourself available to clarify any misunderstandings.
A few things you should cover when you are providing training:
- Performance expectations
- Reporting structures
- Communication schedules
- Technological training
Tip: If you feel as though you are not the right person to be training your team on a certain aspect, you have the option of reaching out to instructors and hiring them for a few training sessions for your team.
Make sure you invest a lot of time and effort into this aspect, as you will want to give your team the tools and skills that are necessary for them to be productive and to grow. You must also make sure you train managers on how to measure performance in a fair manner between all the staff, regardless of time in or out of the office.
Step 2: Have a workplace policy drafted out
The second step that is crucial is having a workplace strategy that you can communicate with your team. There is a lot that goes into a workplace strategy including some of the things mentioned above. Others include workplace discrimination, as well as a social aspect to strengthen the team spirit and keep everyone motivated and on track.
Key things that should be included in your workplace policy:
- Performance Expectations: This involves listing the criteria managers will use to track employee performance and ensuring deadlines and goals will be met without physical supervision.
- Communication and responsiveness: Specify what the expectations are in regards to responsiveness in communication channels while working remotely, including those of managers and leaders to their staff.
- Project management: Include clear descriptions of the tools, responsibilities, and expectations for each team and different roles.
- Schedule: Have set working hours in which employees will be active and available. Consider whether these hours will be enforced uniformly across all teams and which time zone workers should operate on.
- Equipment expenses: Define the equipment and technology workers will require to work off-site, as well as what is expected for best practices for information security, such as anti-viral software, firewalls, and encryptions. Physical equipment, such as laptops and webcams, may need to be supplied to workers.
- Work environment: Describe the standards of the remote work environment employees are expected to respect, such as webcam-on meetings, background noise control, safety, and privacy.
- Support and resources: Accessibility to support should include details on virtually accessing company resources such as HR paperwork, company guidelines, or project documents.
- Engagement: Include guidelines and resources for continued engagement while working remotely, including resources that will be provided for remote workers to prevent social isolation and upkeep company culture.
Tip: A good idea is to design a workplace guideline that provides the team with insight into which type of work environment they should use for different types of tasks
Step 3: Provide the right tools
Once you have the training and policy down, you will have to start thinking of the digital tools that you will provide your staff in order to succeed. There are plenty of options out there and many are good universal tools for hybrid offices, but you may also need some other ones that accommodate your office for specific needs. Digital tools can make or break productivity, communication, and team collaboration, so you have to make sure that the ones you pick are simple to use, effective, and within your budget.
Here is an overview of some types of tools you may need in your office:
- Tools for collaboration: These are tools that allow your hybrid team to work together even remotely.
- Communication tools: These digital tools are essential for a hybrid work model where everyone whether in the office or at home can communicate and stay connected to each other.
- File sharing tools: These digital tools allow your team to share their projects with each other and work on them together.
- Office management tools: These kinds of digital tools or software allow you to manage your space easily and efficiently, for example, room booking, check-ins, cancellations, and so on.
- Data analysis and survey tools: These help with any kind of data analysis, as well as conducting surveys for your team.
An important thing to keep in mind is that you will want to invest in good tools that will benefit your business and keep up with your needs. It may be tempting to go for the cheaper options, but that may hurt your staff and company in the long run.
Step 4: Set an example
You as a leader will have to step forth and embrace all the changes before any of your staff can. Some of your team may not feel comfortable doing certain things that may be expected from them if they don’t feel like the leaders of the company are also doing it. With a policy constructed and shared, you will have to make sure you yourself will be able to follow it and respect it.
If you are trying to implement a hybrid work model, then it only makes sense for you to also be working from home from time to time to show that it is acceptable and expected. If all the senior people are having in-person meetings or always working in the office, then that space will be seen as the hub of important decisions, and staff will want to be there constantly as well. If however, leaders are actually working remotely from time to time, it will encourage flexibility and make your team feel more at ease about working remotely.
The most important thing to remember is that whatever you would like your staff to do and try out, you should also do and try out yourself.
Step 5: Find balance with expectations
First, make sure all employees clearly understand what is expected of them when working remotely and at the office, which you will do by communicating well and displaying and explaining the hybrid work policy you constructed. To avoid confusion and misdirection, you should also set expectations early on.
Tips for setting expectations:
- Communicate: Have a clear, ongoing discussion on how and when communication between teams should take place. Define who needs to be included in what communication, who has access to what information, and who needs to receive or give input on which decision.
- Talk about working hours: Set expectations for working hours so that your staff will have a clear picture of their days, and can organize themselves properly.
- Have recurring meetings: Run recurring team meetings so that updates on progress or challenges can be shared and individuals are able to connect.
- Check your biases: Strive to be as fair as you possibly can. If you see some employees more than others based on their frequency in the office, do not treat those employees any different than the ones that work more at home. Make sure you show transparency and fairness in your evaluations.
Setting up your team for success is an important part of the hybrid work model. Without paying attention to your staff and their needs, your business will slowly diminish. This is why it is crucial to follow the steps highlighted above to create a hybrid work environment that is productive, safe, and encouraging for your staff to thrive in.