“Following almost 2 years of covid restrictions which meant that many people were sent to work from home, we are starting to see a slow return to normality. For some this means heading back into the office everyday, for others working from home is their new normal and for the rest there is likely a mix between office and remote working in which a hybrid work model is created. Whilst this flexibility can be great for many organisations, it must be done correctly in order for it to be successful. Here are 5 hybrid workplace best practices for your workplace to ensure a successful working environment.
The key to a successful hybrid work model is communication, particularly on those days when people are working from home and may be feeling isolated. It’s likely that when people are in the office on different days, certain people won’t see each other for weeks, but it is important that dialogue remains between all employees.
An instant messaging facility is crucial – something like Microsoft Teams allows for messaging, calls and file sharing makes communication easy.
You may decide to arrange set meetings either company-wide or for teams to ensure that everyone is still talking whether they are in the office or from home. An example of this could be a daily team stand up whereby everyone from a certain team dials in from the office or home to speak about tasks for the day ahead. Weekly company calls can be great for updates and discussions as well as bringing back the social side of your team which can be lost when hybrid working.
2. Suitable work spaces
As many people have been working from home since 2020, suitable home office spaces should already be in place. A suitable desk and ergonomic chair in their home are basic necessities that all hybrid working employees should have access to.
Equally, if you are running a hybrid office, ensure the desks in these spaces have monitors, keyboards, mouses etc so that your team can simply ‘plug and go’ when they do come in. It can be extremely frustrating and time-consuming if they are required to bring in all of their equipment and set it up, only to take it all home again later in the day.
3. Clear boundaries and expectations
One of the challenges of hybrid working is that it isn’t always clear what is expected of employees. Are they expected to be in the office for a set number of days or a specific day per week? Are they still expected to work 9-5 or can hours be flexed? Can they come into the office for a half-day and work the rest from home?
Make sure that you have clear and concise boundaries and expectations of your hybrid work model so that there is no room for confusion amongst your employees.
4. Flexible Strategy & Feedback
Implementing a hybrid working model can be difficult at first and you will need to be willing to adjust the strategy until you can find something that works for you, your team, your customers and your shareholders. Speaking to your customers to make sure they are getting the best service will help you to understand whether your strategy is working. You could do this by running quarterly surveys.
There may be members of staff that don’t like coming to the office and will wonder why they need to be back in the office at all, after 2 years of remote working. There will be others that are thrilled to be back doing 9 to 5 in the office. Working with and talking to your employees to reach a mutually beneficial schedule will help with your company culture and help them to feel trusted and valued.
5. Make the most of office time
Office-based, face to face time is now more valuable than ever. Employees will likely have made a commute into the office and will need to feel like they have accomplished something they couldn’t have done at home. Work with your employees’ schedules to arrange innovation meetings, client meetings, task planning and even social lunches to ensure that when your people are together, they feel real benefit from it.
Ensuring that your team feels valued, trusted and knows clearly what is expected of them will help your hybrid working model to be successful. Keeping communication open and easy is key.
By: Richard Edwards
Published: 14th March 2022