Our guest contributor Natasha Serafimovska’s expertise lies in helping clients streamline their operations and leverage technology to improve overall business performance. Here she considers how we can make hybrid working effective, efficient and impactful for businesses.
Hybrid work has become somewhat of a buzz word in the world of work as businesses and employees try to find the best work model post-pandemic.
While some prefer going fully back to the office, about 67% of people report that they’d prefer a flexibility between office and a work-from-home routine. The main reason for this is the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues and exchange ideas in a more immediate and dynamic environment.
There are clear benefits to businesses as well. Companies that adopt a hybrid working model can reduce their office spend and make sure their space is used to full capacity by allowing employees to dictate how much and when they’d like to be in the office.
However, business leaders have to be cautious with how they implement this.
While hybrid working offers many benefits, it can also undermine equality in the workplace if some people who live closer, have no children or simply prefer to be physically present visit the office more often, attend more ad-hoc meetings and have more in-person interactions and, unavoidably, exclude other employees from the big picture. This can have repercussions on work dynamics, promotions and overall business performance.
Here are some things business leaders can do to ensure hybrid working works equally well for everyone on the team:
- Measure outcomes, not presence – forget the 9 to 5 or the frequency of interaction with an employee. Instead, ensure you have the right tools in place to accurately track outcomes and achievements.
- Include virtual meeting links to all team meetings – make it a policy that all in-person team meetings need to have a link for anyone who might want to join virtually.
- Establish clear office-use guidelines – define the use cases for office work, such as client meetings, project kick-offs or employee onboarding. An example of this could be any ‘deep work’ should be done remotely, unless people explicitly said they’re unable to work from home.
- Ask, don’t assume – don’t assume that everyone wants a hybrid work environment. Some people might live in cramped spaces and prefer to go fully back to the office, while others might opt for fully remote work. Make sure you can accommodate these requests and that people stick to their ‘work routine’.
None of these measures can guarantee that the hybrid model will work flawlessly. However, they can serve as the first steps towards fostering a flexible, inclusive work environment which is the key to long-term business success.