Hybrid work is a very new phenomenon for most companies, and getting started isn’t easy. Writing clear hybrid guidelines is definitely the first step. What’s next? The following tips will help you on your way.
1. Shift from attendance-focused to output-focused
Companies can no longer use attendance as the measure for employee engagement and performance. Instead, focus on the outputs you’re looking for. Whether it’s milestones in a project, hitting certain ongoing KPIs like customer satisfaction or sales goals, or a more detailed OKR system.
2. Document, document, document
One of the largest challenges for employees who are not in the office is access to relevant information. Document everything (Gitlab has great guidelines for this.) And ensure that even (partial) in-person meetings and other information sharing are always documented for everyone to access later.
3. Get intentional about employee engagement
If you weren’t already, write a clear program to improve communication, connection, community, and company culture. This will help you get more out of your teams and make work more meaningful for them at the same time. Combine partner-, company- and employee-driven engagement and activities.
4. Build community
Especially when people work outside of the office, the sense of connection to the company, the work, and other team members sometimes may suffer. Actively building community is key. Communities allow like-minded employees to connect and stay connected, while also further growing their roots into the company. Done right, your workplace community can be a great competitive advantage.
5. Train Your Managers
The adoption and execution of your hybrid work guidelines will only be as good as your managers ability to manage hybrid teams. Invest in training to ensure they have the tools they need to understand and navigate this new way of working. GitLab’s How to Manage a Remote Team and University of Toronto’s Communication Strategies for a Virtual Age (both free!) come recommended.
6. Update your office for hybrid work
Exceptions aside, most offices were designed for heads-down solo-work. Not in the age of hybrid. Redesign your office for community, collaboration, learning, wellbeing, and company culture. Using a platform like FlexOS that allows employees to reserve desks and other facilities can help you collect more data. This in turn helps you to improve your office design over time as the way we work evolves.
7. Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Done right, hybrid can support companies’ DEI efforts by for example giving working parents the flexibility they need to balance work and (family) life. But more flexibility can also results in less equity, for example between in-office workers and home-workers. Provide clear guidelines to managers that keep empathy and kindness in tact and better takes into account people’s personal circumstances.
8. Support employee wellbeing
Well-being greatly suffers when work is always-on in the shift towards hybrid and remote work. Lack of work-life balance is one of the most often mentioned struggles for hybrid workers. Set clear expectations about outputs, allow employees to ‘switch off’ (like Manpowers’ ‘right to disconnect’ policy) and train & reward employees for healthy hybrid workplace behaviors.
9. Become data-driven
In the absence of continuous in-person oversight, collect the right data. Then, use this data to reward employees and optimize the new way of working. This increases trust, which Accenture calls the ‘new currency at work,’ and helps companies make the right decisions.