The hybrid workplace model allows some or all employees to choose where and when they work. In-office time is allocated by days, teams, or as-needed basis, combining remote workers with on-site ones. According to a report on hybrid work models from CNBC, around 45% of companies expect to lead with this approach. Employees, in particular, prefer this flexible arrangement and expect it to continue for good.
Management will undergo challenges as organizations change. Modern leadership skills will also transition to meet the needs of contemporary employees, who are asking for more autonomy and a healthy work-life balance. Undoubtedly, balancing the needs of remote and in-person professionals will be tricky for many leaders. Here are three tips on managing a hybrid workplace effectively:
Cultivate a culture of trust
An article on organizational trust from Forbes points out that the disconnect between managers and workers is often rooted in lack of communication, transparency, and trust. During the start of the pandemic, leaders were afraid that employees would not be productive from home. Now, remote workers may feel like their in-office colleagues enjoy more trust because of hybrid workplace visibility.
Communication is the best way to build two-way trust among teams. Honest, transparent, and consistent communication will provide workers a sense of stability. Rather than checking on remote workers all the time and causing them to feel suffocated, schedule regular, individual check-in times with everyone to provide guidance, share successes, and provide clarity on the company’s directions. As a leader, it’s your role to set clear expectations and create a system of accountability.
Develop a people-oriented management style
Some managerial styles were able to transition flawlessly for a hybrid system, but we know it’s not for everyone. Obviously, micromanaging is not appreciated — but neither is being a people-pleaser. Recent years have seen a paradigm shift to more compassion and increased concern for employees, but being too likable won’t grow respect.
As a feature on being a great leader by LHH points out, there’s a big difference between popularity and true leadership. You need to remain compassionate towards your employees, but they also need to be assured that you can make the hard calls when needed. The goal is to show respect, trust, and fairness towards everyone. Do check in on teams’ well-being, while highlighting shared team norms and expectations.
Stay flexible, stay agile
It’s likely that the hybrid workplace is a new experiment for your company. Moreover, you’d also be welcoming five generations into the workforce. We know everyone is different, with a unique set of capabilities, experiences, and mentality to offer the team. That also means however, that no single approach works for everyone. A Strategic HR Review study on flexibility notes that it’s critical to engage with individuals within an organization to understand their perspectives, identify challenges, and find opportunities.
A good leader will prepare employees for potential stumbling blocks that come with the hybrid model. Plans will inevitably change, and you cannot be rigid about your system. Ask team members on what works and what doesn’t, then change the design as you see fit. Remember, we’re all testing and learning as we go along.
Our guide on the ‘Essential Steps to Protect Your Business in 2022’ previously stated that boosting your online strategy will play a key role in driving business growth. As operations go digital, it makes sense for companies to make more working days remote. Throughout the pandemic, employees have proved that the remote setup allows for both productivity and flexibility. They now need you, as a leader, to help them maneuver through a post-pandemic life together.