Despite all the griping about Zoom fatigue and pajama-bottom life, it seems clear that remote and hybrid work is the way of the future.
With 58% of workers saying they’d start looking for a new job if they weren’t allowed to continue working remotely, many businesses have made the calculation that, especially with a Great Resignation already looming, they have no choice but to adapt to workforce expectations.
It is a decision that positions organizations to both attract and retain desirable talent. But it would be a mistake to view the transition into a hybrid workforce as some kind of concession to employees — or as a perk to be lumped in with a competitive benefits package to bring it up to date.
Instead, done right, this shift can be a catalyst for positive change — improving work outcomes and boosting employee cohesion and fulfillment.
Consider these four elements as you plan your organization’s hybrid future.
Create a Seamless Experience
Certainly our initial plunge into remote work at the start of the pandemic was anything but seamless. Even months into the transition, some 98% of remote workers surveyed reported experiencing frustrations during video meetings.
As organizations commit to hybrid work long term, it’s essential that they invest in standardized and widely available technical solutions for remote workers experiencing issues with internet connectivity and with remote logins.
Similarly, leaders must take special care to make team activities, meetings and events meaningful for all participants, whether they’re at the office or working remotely. As COVID-19 fades and people settle into the hybrid arrangements and schedules of their choosing, it would be easy for in-person colleagues to develop a sense of connection and a deeper appetite for collaboration. Team leaders must create inclusive practices and varied experiences that keep remote workers feeling that they are part of the team.
Truly Commit to Choice and Flexibility
The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated just how different the circumstances and needs of different employees are — and how quickly those needs can change as family responsibilities and health considerations shift.
Employers will do best in the post-pandemic world if they avoid paying lip-service to the notion of flexibility, and instead trust employees to be responsible for team goals without micromanaging how they get there. After the last 19 months, we can all acknowledge that each person has different ways of working that work best for them. If leaders can support employees as they refine this approach, the workers will be more able to achieve satisfaction, productivity and success.
Set Clear Limits
Not every kind of flexibility will work for every organization. It’s essential that leaders communicate clearly about expectations and limitations. Perhaps your organization works best with certain non-negotiable synchronous meetings, or with specific channels for important messages about deliverables.
When staffers know what to expect, it will be easier to meet those expectations. And in an atmosphere defined by trust and opportunities for autonomy, defined areas of inflexibility are unlikely to create dissatisfaction.
Prioritize True (and Varied) Connection
Diversity of thought and spontaneous connections are key to innovation, problem solving and growth. These interactions between distant networks have suffered during the pandemic, as can be seen in a Microsoft analysis of billions of emails and meetings around the globe.
It is now up to leaders to find new ways to overcome organizational silos, encourage cross-functional collaborations and restore spontaneity in remote settings. Whether through moderated and produced interactions, or whether through more open-ended events, leaders will need to design impactful employee experiences suited for the hybrid-work era.
Blu Ivy Group is a global leader in employer branding, organizational culture, and recruitment marketing. We help organizations across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors build extraordinary employee experiences, magnetic employer brands and high-performance cultures.
From C-Suite to Employer Brand and Talent Acquisition leadership, we partner with our clients to transform their organizations and design the most compelling workplaces of the future.
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