With the ongoing shift to a more flexible and flat organizational structure, many companies have begun to either explore or are in the process of adopting a hybrid workplace model. Hybrid Workplace Solutions seem like the system people have been waiting for to spark a new wave of workplace innovation. They are highly innovative and disruptive from a technology POV, which naturally brings with it high-levels of productivity, collaboration, efficiency and improved margins.
However, businesses can be left in the dark when gearing up on how to implement a Hybrid Workplace Solutions without hitting major roadblocks. This is because; problems are usually found in the most unexpected places.
1. Not being inclusive of all employees
The workforce is more diverse than ever before — from gender to race, ethnicity and age, organizations must be careful not to exclude any group due to factors such as availability or location. The Hybrid Workplace Model should take into account the specific needs of each employee, regardless of their role or position.
2. Ignoring or overlooking employee needs
A hybrid workplace can't succeed if employees aren't happy. They must feel like their needs and preferences are being addressed, and that they'll be able to do their best work in this new environment.
An organization should survey workers to determine their feelings about working from home, their productivity levels, what tools they want and need for remote work, and how well the current technology works for them. The most important thing when it comes to hybrid work models is the needs of your team. If you have employees who need a flexible schedule, or a more collaborative environment, you need to make sure that those needs are being met.
Not providing the needed tools. The right technology is key for a hybrid workplace solution to succeed — not just for collaboration but also for security and productivity purposes. Make sure you have the right tools and that everyone on your team knows how to use them properly, whether they're on-site or not
3. Lack of flexibility
Employees will continue to expect more flexibility and control over how, when, and where they work, and that means organizations need to shift their thinking away from physical presence in an office towards outcomes achieved.
"Hybrid work policy requires clear delineation between work that can be done flexibly versus work that must be done on-site.Companies may try to simply replicate their office model at home. But workers need more flexibility than that.Remote employees need more tools than in-house employees.
4. Creating a culture based on fear and mistrust
The hybrid work policy should not be viewed as an opportunity for employers to micromanage employees’ performance. The shift must be embraced by everyone in the organization and must not create a culture based on fear and mistrust. Instead, it must inspire hiring managers to embrace new methods of evaluating team members’ performance, and encourage them to build trust with each other.
5. Not providing clear directions and goals
Hybrid workplace requires a lot of planning and infrastructure, but it's easy for leaders to get caught up in the details and forget about the big picture.
The best way for leadership to set up their company for success is by taking a moment to define their overall goals for implementing a hybrid workplace model. Once you've defined your goals, create a framework that will help you achieve them. Without this framework, it's impossible to measure your progress, which means it will be difficult to know if your hybrid workplace model is working or not.
6. Forgetting to check in on remote employees' emotional wellbeing.
The new office setup can be particularly challenging for people who work in cities where they don't have a home office space or a quiet place to work. Additionally, many employees are facing burnout because they're not able to take their usual lunch breaks or leave the house at all on some days.
Managers need to check in with employees who are working remotely and ask them how they're feeling about their work environment and job tasks. Before you ask your team what help they need, consider what tools you can provide or policies you can implement to make their lives easier.
7. Ignoring the opportunities for feedback and performance management.
It's easy to assume that if an employee isn't coming into the office every day, they won't be as engaged with their work or won't be getting as much done, but that may not be true at all. For example, some people may find it easier to focus without a lot of distractions in their home office. On the other hand, some people may find it harder to focus when working from home.
The only way to know is to measure each employee's performance based on what's expected of them in their role — not on how often they come into the office or how long they spend at their desk each day.
8. Not preparing the communication strategy for remote and hybrid employees
Effective communication across teams is critical for organizations operating under a hybrid workplace model. This is especially true for teams who depend on each other for success. And it’s even more important if your business model relies on employees collaborating on projects together.
For example, if you have a team with few team members at office and remote who are working together on a project, they need to communicate on a regular basis in order to ensure that they meet deadlines and deliver on their goals.
9. Failing to develop a culture that nurtures innovation.
You can't change an entire company's culture overnight, but you can make a start. Seek out employees who want to be part of the change, and give them the tools they need to spearhead new projects that might improve your business processes.
If you want to create a culture that allows your employees to be creative and innovative, you need to allow them to have a voice in the company. You should encourage them to share their ideas, which will help you identify areas for improvement and address problems effectively.
10. Not including remote employees in collaboration on projects.
Companies often put a lot of effort into bringing their teams together in one place so they can do collaborative work, but don't extend the same courtesy to their remote workers. This is a big mistake. If a company makes an effort to include them, there's no reason a remote worker can't be just as effective as an in-person employee.
It's very easy for remote employees to feel left out of the loop when the rest of the office is collaborating face-to-face.You will need to make an effort to include those working remotely so they feel involved and supported.
For example, if you have a team meeting, you may want to establish norms for who should speak first or how remote staff can contribute to the discussion. Working with a remote team also means having different schedules, so you need to plan ahead when it comes to communicating with one another.
11. Failing to recognize that different work formats require different leadership styles
Hybrid models typically combine elements of flexible and fixed-location working, so leaders need to adapt their styles accordingly. Managers who have traditionally led teams from the office now have to embrace a more remote style of management, which means taking a more hands-off approach and giving people greater autonomy to shape their own work. This is particularly important for employees working from outside the organization’s physical location(s), as it helps them feel connected and motivated.
12. Forgetting to consider employee feedback.
Instead of constantly worrying about how to keep remote workers engaged — having regular meetings, sending out surveys, etc. — focus on creating an inclusive environment where all employees have a voice, regardless of whether they're in the office or working remotely.
To sum up
Hybrid work policy is forcing organizations to adopt mixed and hybrid workplace models to keep up with the demands of a competitive workforce. However, implementing such models is a complex process that requires careful planning and further investment. The need for more flexibility and agility will result in new workplace designs as organizations embrace this new era. At the end of the day, it comes down to finding a model that is right for your organization's needs.
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