A hybrid workplace is the new normal for most companies now. Many people like it because it’s more convenient to work from home. It enables office goers to balance both their home commitments and priorities with those of their office. It’s also less stressful as it’s easier to work personal priorities into schedules. But this comes with its host of challenges, many of which are related to employee experience. That is important for engaging staff outside the office and within their home walls. It has become crucial for companies to figure out how to do this. Companies, and especially the HR leadership, know that if you aren’t able to create a creative and engaging work environment, you’ll have employees dropping out for the many opportunities out there.
Let’s discuss the challenges involved, what you need to perform, and how to keep your workers engaged.
The Challenges of Having a Mix of Remote and On-Site Employees
1. Maintaining Effective Communication
Many remote workers feel a disconnect from those working from the office. They feel concerned about a lack of information from the management or when there is a real or perceived delay in the delivery of information. These are the main obstacles of WFH and it can be seriously challenging for employees. It’s especially tough for those located across different time zones. Plus, there’s an additional difficulty in communicating without reasonable recourse to gauging the tone and the body language needed. Such issues can negatively impact employee morale as well as cause issues in managing a hybrid team.
2. Creating a Culture
Remote work offers flexibility but doesn’t give much space to create a thriving office culture. There are fewer opportunities to develop a sense of camaraderie with your colleagues. There’s also less visibility into the overall company values and mission. Some employees can even experience isolation, loneliness, and dissatisfaction with their roles. It’s not an easy task and it’s important to do what is possible to communicate the key elements of the culture to those working from home. That would help remote workers feel that they’re a part of the larger company.
3. Tracking Employee Performance
Monitoring employee performance can be difficult if your team isn’t in the office physically. That’s especially true for jobs that require your employees to be engaged for a certain number of hours every day. It’s also tough to find the right balance of checking in without ending up micromanaging your workers. Even worse is that your employees won’t be compensated if they’re not in the physical office space. It’s also possible that employees will feel compelled to be “always-on” because they fear the penalty of being unavailable. All this can lead to overworking and exhaustion, which eventually leads to burnout.
4. Maintaining Security
Shifting to remote work is accompanied by a transition to digital technologies like the cloud. While these are useful in many ways, they open up the organization to security risks. It’s also easier for hackers to breach your systems. There are also security challenges with employee hardware. IT will have to face the challenge of managing and supporting mismatched devices which would run on different operating systems. Remote workers also mix work and personal data on the same apps and devices. That can lead to unintentional exposure to family, friends, and other online attacks. Much of security comes down to effective training and concentrated repetition of best practices, security policies, and “do’s and don’ts” to the employees across locations.
The Processes You Need to Build a Hybrid Team
1. Build Trust and Maintain Relationships
Trust is the very foundation to building productive and collaborative teams. During the pandemic, many teams had to transition to fully remote work. Managers needed to trust employees to do their work without micromanaging daily activities. There was an air of uncertainty, and you needed to take action to build trust within your team. To maintain the environment, leaders had to establish regular interactions and arrange for informal actions. They had to go the extra mile to experience a better hybrid work environment.
2. Encourage Openness and Visibility
A culture of visibility and openness helps create stronger teams. It improves morale, lowers job-related stress, and boosts productivity. There are actions one can take to foster openness within the team. It helps provide context, set communication expectations, and establish team norms. All these create the right environment for your hybrid team.
3. Be Result Oriented
Hybrid teams work the best when their productivity is measured by results and not by the hours spent at a desk. To build productivity within your team, clarify your objectives and establish processes and efficiency improvements to modify and establish productivity. Perhaps new tools need to be adopted or team meetings need to be re-imagined. All this will support how the team operates and meets its goals.
4. Set, Maintain, and Meet Expectations
Clearly defined expectations must be maintained over time. These will act as a roadmap for employees and will help clear any confusion. That would connect employees to their purpose and help them create a bigger impact. You can take many actions to set and maintain expectations within your teams. You can set clear performance goals, conduct regular check-ins and assessments, and use a performance management system for the best results.
How To Keep Your Hybrid Workers Engaged
1. Establish Regular Communication
Ensure you communicate with your employees as frequently as possible. Take time away from normal calls and try to arrange more casual meetings whenever you can. Use powerful AV technology to create a more “life like” meeting scenario. Ensure the channels of communication are robust and strong so there’s no “transmission loss”. That will help create a consistent model of communication with your employees that would set a constant flow of communication. This could be daily, weekly, monthly, or at any point in time that you wish. Try to be attentive and respond as quickly as you can, especially to remote workers so that they feel like they have the same support as other people do. You can also create opportunities for your remote workers and on-site workers to meet whenever it’s possible. They can engage in team-building activities whenever they can do so.
2. Use The Right Collaborative Technology
That can include using cloud-based technology and AV tools that will help you facilitate constant and open two-way communication. Focus on these as much as you can. Some tools are Microsoft Teams Rooms, Zoom, etc. You can help remote employees stay updated on what’s happening in the company by using social media as well, or your intranet. Share insights about the company’s mission and values. Provide business updates and try to recognize employee success. The right collaborative and meeting technology also lets employees access information, tools, and content that they need to complete their jobs with ease. Teams can also work in real-time on the same documents. There’s also time tracking and project management software that is very helpful.
3. Audio-Visual Technology
AV tech is excellent for challenging the hybrid workplace. But you need the right tech to have seamless experiences. That’s the only way you can ensure smooth communication between all your employees. Otherwise, you won’t be able to hear or understand clearly, many employees will be left out, and the entire experience will be unhealthy and undesirable. That’s why it’s important to ensure you work with the best tech professionals in the country when it comes to sourcing your equipment and installing them smoothly.
The workplace of the future will present new challenges to HR leaders. It’s crucial to use the best available tools and technologies to try and overcome those challenges. Talk to us to know how.