When we learned in the last 2 years how to work from home and then partially in the office it was not all related to the pandemic of COVID-19. In fact, Hybrid work models were popular before in some jobs or regions across the globe. But what are the challenges, and advantages after the post-COVID-19 pandemic times when you try to embrace a hybrid model, with workers splitting their time between home and the office?
We might experience culture and geographical areas where hybrid working models are more difficult to realize than others. While I have seen in the US this is working very well, I can recognize that areas like the Middle East are still shying away from this model. The reality here comes into culture measurements that the truest between manager and employees is lower when it comes to workload and fulfilling duties. The given fact is related to the way how people are raised, educated, and treated over centuries which reflects back in their culture.
When workforces were told to stay home when the pandemic struck, the boundaries of office and home working became increasingly blurred. Once the world began to reopen, 63% of businesses adopted a new hybrid workstyle, dividing employees’ time between traditional office spaces and remote working.
This transition left many employees struggling to adjust, as new data suggests that 72% of hybrid workers find it exhausting. To debunk some of the worries employees face, we’ve highlighted the pros and cons of hybrid working along with top tips to help your team adapt.
The pros and cons of hybrid work
Just like traditional office work, hybrid working can have its ups and downs, so we’ve delved deeper into some of the most common pros and cons experienced by hybrid workforces.
Workers feel enabled to reclaim lost commuting time during the working week, leading to 83% of employees feeling more in control of their work-life balance.
It’s easy for employees to work overtime or ‘check in’ during their free time, with 30% of men and 21% of women reporting they worked an extra 2 hours during the days when they work from home.
Hybrid working boosts employee physical activity.
According to a study by Ergoton where 75% of employees are more active in lifestyle while working remotely.
Colleagues find it more difficult to communicate and share ideas, with 70% of workers surveyed by Owl Labs finding it more difficult to contribute or be part of a conversation when on video calls.
Employee efficiency and satisfaction levels are on the rise, as seen in a survey by HSBC, which found that 77% of higher-growth companies reported increased productivity levels.
Workers might feel that they are missing out on key information or events, according to a Prodoscorc survey, where 32.7% of U.S. workers felt paranoia due to working from home, with 87.7% of these feeling they had missed important conversations.
7 Ways to make hybrid work less stressful for your team
As employees adjust to hybrid work in their own way, it’s important to help ease your team’s transition wherever possible. The following 7 top tips will help create a stress-free hybrid work environment for your team.
Invest in home working spaces for employees
Having a dedicated workspace makes working from home much more enjoyable and productive. In addition to work laptops, you should provide your team with ergonomic chairs, height-adjustable desks, monitors, headsets, webcams, keyboards, laptop stands, and any other technology required to work effectively.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to assess everyone’s home Wi-Fi plan. Ensuring this is up to scratch, will help everyone stay connected and ease workflows.
Implement digital collaboration tools for hybrid teams
Research collaboration, communication, and project management tools that would work best for your company, and build a hybrid work stack to suit your needs.
Pro Tip: Some good tools to start with are – Slack A workplace instant messaging tool that can be used across multiple devices and platforms – Asana Project management tool that gives teams visibility over what everyone is working on – Zoom Cloud-based video conferencing platform that can be used for virtual meetings and webinars – Google Drive File storage and real-time collaboration service here teams can create and share documents online – Envoy Hot desk booking platform where employees can book a desk right from their phone or on the web – Doodle + Calendly Doodle allows users to pick the best meeting time across time zones, and Calendly simplifies scheduling
Create virtual spaces where employees can connect
Transitioning from office to hybrid work can leave employees feeling isolated, undervalued, and even forgotten about as they see colleagues less frequently. Creating social channels and maintaining fuss-free lines of communication will help the team stay connected and enable better collaboration.
Pro tip: Create a #watercooler channel on Slack where spontaneous discussions happen, or schedule ‘Virtual Coffee Hangs’ where employees can hop on a 30-minute call with a cup of coffee to learn more about each other.
Switch your focus to outcomes over daily progress
Without daily face-to-face supervision, employers may find it difficult to assess work performance, and this can lead to micromanaging. That is why achieving outcomes, hitting targets, and meeting deadlines should become the key performance indicators everyone focuses on.
Pro tip: Connect goals with tangible outputs that make it clear what “progress” looks like. Agree on work outcomes and outputs, but be flexible over how, where, and when the team delivers those outputs.
Increase the frequency of check-in conversations
If employees aren’t in the office all the time, it can be tricky to gauge how they’re getting on. It’s vital to find out how they are handling workloads and offer support when needed, to help employees avoid burnout and maintain job satisfaction.
Pro tip: For hybrid workers, consider scheduling in-person performance check-ins. For remote workers, make sure that 1-2-ls are conducted in a quiet, distraction-free environment with a solid internet connection.
Allow employees to set their own work hours and workplace
Give your team the chance to blend personal, family, and work obligations as they see fit, focusing on desired outcomes instead of rigid daily schedules.
Pro tip: Give your employees the ability to specify the best times for them when it comes to collaboration and individual work.
Consider drafting a hybrid working policy
Even though businesses don’t need to implement a hybrid working policy by law, developing one for internal use can help bring clarity to everyone around eligibility, expectations, workplace working arrangements, scheduling, and data protection.
Pro tip: Start by scheduling a meeting with your managers to set expectations together. In the infographic below you will find questions for you to cover.
A hybrid work model is not always beneficial and requires more attention than traditional ways of working from an office. With decreased time spent in person, issues will increasingly fall by the wayside, and employee stress may go unnoticed, as seen in the rise of frustrated tweets across the U.S. and UK.
This is something that I personally can agree to and see with my own team I am working with. Therefore I personally created monthly seminars/workshops to illustrate to the team some things which can help them to be motivated, and decrease their stress level because the focus on priority vanished.
By following these stress-busting steps, you’ll find yourself ahead of the curve and better placed to create an enjoyable hybrid work environment for all. In addition, don’t shy away to get professional help from an outsider which brings always brighter light into your team for more productivity, establishes helping routines, and increases your team’s morale.