The pandemic has disrupted businesses across the globe in almost every business sector you can imagine.
With the benefit of hindsight, 2020 served to show us all how unprepared we were to pivot our operations to remote and hybrid workflows. And even when doing so, many businesses discovered how flawed their processes were and that their communication methods simply weren’t up to scratch.
Moving to such working practices through necessity has been a huge learning curve for organisations of all kinds. However, there have been many positive lessons to be learned with many businesses now set to stick with hybrid working practices well into the future.
In this piece, we’ll be exploring exactly how, as a manager, you can manage a hybrid workforce long-term.
#1: Evaluate Your Hiring & Onboarding Practices
With 2021 now in full swing, businesses and employees alike will be looking at their financial situation to begin assessing their goals for the rest of 2021. With a raft of new candidates potentially available, now is a fantastic opportunity to assess your current hiring and onboarding practices.
Hiring, onboarding, training and managing remote employees will present very different challenges to managers in the long-term, so existing practices must be adapted in line with your new hybrid working methods.
As you press forward with long-term hybrid models, employers must focus on creating a happy and healthy team. This means maintaining everyone’s wellbeing in the workplace, regardless of location.
Therefore, any new hires must be provided with the right tools and equipment from the off to ensure they’re fully equipped to do their job.
Team solidarity should also be a priority, especially for those who may not be able meet in person. To do this, new hires must be able to acclimatise to their new working methods and company culture during the onboarding process.
Utilising video and other visual cues can help to push these ideas and introduce them to their new co-workers organically and authentically.
#2: Create the Environment for Collaboration
Everyday operations and long-term success alike will largely depend on the technology and collaboration tools you choose to invest in. After all, without technology, your teams wouldn’t be able to communicate and work with each other and your clients.
Cutting corners in these areas can cause significant problems, which will only be exacerbated by staff who are trying to log in to your systems remotely. Therefore, if you’re set on extending your hybrid approach into the future, it’s important to ensure that the right systems are put into place, not only to ensure your customers are happy but your in-house and remote teams too.
It’s also essential to set up the in-house team so that communication and collaboration are actively encouraged. With hopes that the pandemic directives may soon be lifted, it’s now time to start thinking about how your office space can be optimised to encourage communication in-house and with those working remotely.
This could be the simplest of things, such as making changes to conference rooms to ensure they are geared towards to hybrid presentations and brainstorming sessions, such as larger whiteboards that can be seen more clearly on camera. Alternatively, you may even wish to completely overhaul your technological practices and invest in conferencing software that runs higher quality sound and picture to ensure everyone can be heard and kept in the loop.
#3: Encourage Remote Workers to Unplug
Even though the ability to work from anywhere can be an exciting prospect for many employees, it’s important to remember that companies must be doing all they can to remind their employees to take a break and relax too, since the lines can become blurred when working at home.
Make sure that you’re actively encouraging your team members to log off at the end of each day and take the time they need to recharge; in fact, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be doing the same as well.
When moving to a hybrid workflow, flexibility is absolutely crucial. It’s up to you to pivot your policies to ensure that each worker is achieving an improved work/life balance.
As society changes, so too will the modern employee’s expectations, so it’s vital to rethink how we’re leading our teams to ensure they’re reaching their potential moving forward.
#4: Consider What Else You Can Offer Employees
A recent study showed that 45% of office workers would be willing to take a pay cut in order to continue working from home after the pandemic. This just goes to show how important flexibility and remote working has become to employees.
Finding solutions that work for both the business and your employees is a tricky balancing act when deciding to go hybrid. Still, it’s certainly worth asking your team what they need to work effectively remotely.
Whether it’s offering to purchase office furniture, providing more one on one time or offering flexible hours, every suggestion should be carefully considered to ensure everyone is happy and motivated to ensure the business can thrive.
Always remember that as a leader, it’s up to you to set the example going forward. If you’ve decided to move in a hybrid direction as a business, then it’s up to you to be the driving force behind this change to ensure that you’re up to the task of making remote and in-house teams as successful as possible.