Working in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the way we do things. With the government pushing hard for mass vaccination, there’s a chance that more and more people will begin to return to the office soon.
However, the work-from-home scenario might be part of the new normal. You might be working at the office for part of the week and working from home the rest of the week. This hybrid schedule and working environment proves to be quite favorable to workers, as reflected in a recent job satisfaction survey in the United States.
In the recent study, 79 percent of senior managers, 66 percent of middle managers, and 62 percent of individual contributors said they are highly satisfied with their jobs presently. In addition to this, 65 percent of parents and working women prefer working from home because it allows more flexibility and more time with their families. Only 10 percent of those surveyed want to return to a full-time office setup.
While there are benefits to a hybrid working setup, there are also questions about how best to manage a hybrid workforce. There are challenges as to how to make sure people remain productive, how to ensure that employees are not overworked, and how to facilitate proper collaboration in order to meet the goals of the business.
5 Tips for the Success of a Hybrid Working Environment
Hybrid working environments are here to stay. In this flexible work environment, employees tend to be happier, and that can boost productivity and employee retention. However, with employees working remotely, there can be issues with social connection, visibility, and communication breakdowns – all of which make it harder to get things done and achieve targets.
Below are some tips you can use to successfully navigate the challenges of managing a hybrid workforce.
1. Open Lines of Communication
When supervisors or managers call for a team huddle in a hybrid working setup, it can be quite different and more difficult as compared to the pre-pandemic setup. Some individuals will be at the office while others are home. When you send an email, a remote employee might not open it as soon as you expect them to because, for instance, they’re taking care of a child doing some schoolwork.
Things will be more asynchronous, as people will not all be working at the same time. To manage this big shift, communication lines should always be open. You will need to be more intentional when you communicate. Everyone must be reminded that they need to communicate their availability to the team or their customers via status updates, emails, or other channels.
Management and employees should also be aware of their tone to avoid misinterpretation. Businesses should also foster inclusivity and equity at all levels.
2. Strive for Equality in Office Setups
Good communication will remove barriers to success for organizations and help people understand how individual team members work differently. Likewise, facilitating a good home office setup will help ensure productivity. You need to provide the necessary equipment so that employees can do their jobs well when working remotely.
At Kensington, you can find ergonomic keyboards, mice, trackballs, security solutions, and other productivity tools to meet the needs of your workforce.
Providing the best tools for people working at home levels the playing field. Ask your workforce what they need in order to be more agile and adjust to the new norm.
3. Keep Them Comfortable
In addition to providing equipment that ensures employees will be productive while working remotely, you must also make sure that workers are comfortable. Working from home can be challenging for individuals who might not have access to an ergonomic home office setup.
Ergonomic business tools such as backrests, external keyboards, laptop stands, or footrests will prevent injuries and help employees be more efficient and effective.
Comfort is unique for each individual, so ergonomic solutions should adapt to these changing levels throughout the day.
4. Set Expectations and Goals for the Team
When managing a hybrid workforce, you need to guide the team to ensure everyone is moving in the same direction. With a flexible setup, there will be compromises, but every individual must know the metrics they need to achieve. This way, every gear turns smoothly, and the whole team moves forward together.
You also need to make sure that hitting your productivity goals will not translate to having an exhausted workforce, which in the long run may result in poor performance. During the pandemic, digital overload is inevitable as teams try to ensure that all bases are covered. Between February 2020 and February 2021, weekly meetings rose 148%, emails sent hit 40.6 billion, and team chats per person were up by 45 percent, according to Microsoft.
A result-based culture must not result in burnout. You need to trust that your employees can get their jobs done, guided by how your business defines success.
5. Encourage Feedback to Continue to Make the Process Better
Supervisors and managers need to give feedback so that individual workers can address specific weaknesses and improve their performance. To complement this process, you must also solicit feedback from employees so that you can improve your hybrid working environment.
Everyone needs to be flexible and responsible. Feedback from both directions will help your team to always be in sync and tweak your process so you can hit goals more efficiently.
Remember that working from home may make some people more stressed and anxious. Leaders should be ready to listen and make the necessary adjustments to make the situation work for all team members.
Emphasize Workplace Wellness for Your Hybrid Workforce
While there are signs that more and more people will be returning to their offices soon, trends suggest that the hybrid work setup is here to stay. You will need to be patient and empower your team with the best tools to help them be more efficient while protecting them from work-related injuries.
Help your team configure their workspace using proven techniques and ergonomic solutions from Kensington. Check out our wellness and ergonomics products today.