Achieving Success With Hybrid Work: An All-Inclusive Guide

In the past few years, workers who can work remotely have grown to prefer it over showing up at a workplace every day.

A February 2022 Pew Research survey found that 78% of those working remotely most or all of the time want to keep doing so. Similarly, Gallup’s poll revealed that 9 out of 10 remote-capable jobholders opt for either full-time or hybrid home working.

Hybrid work appears attractive to many, as it involves coming into an office some days and working from home on other days. The crucial issue is how such an approach gets put into practice.

What Does a Hybrid Workplace Entail?

The concept of a hybrid workplace isn’t one-size-fits-all, and with limited precedents, developing best practices can be challenging. At its core, a hybrid workplace combines in-person and remote work but leaves the specifics open to interpretation.

This ambiguity may cause employees to feel uncertain or uneasy about embracing this model, prompting questions such as “Who decides when I must be at the office?” and “Do I have any input?”

From a management perspective, the hybrid approach holds great appeal by delivering both the flexibility and benefits of remote work that employees desire while still promoting face-to-face interaction for enhanced team cohesion.

Gallup’s data suggests that leaders and managers favor this arrangement because they believe it helps maintain team performance and culture over time.

But is that reason enough to convince employees?

What Brings Us Here?

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A crucial question for management to address is, “What brings us here?” What compels anyone to attend the workplace in person if tasks can be accomplished remotely?

Some employees might require persuasion that being physically present at work has value.

Undoubtedly, there are advantages to face-to-face interactions, such as fostering deeper connections with colleagues. Casual conversations are one aspect, but we also glean much from the nuances of an individual’s body language, vocal tone, and sense of humor—elements that may be diminished or lost during video calls.

In-person collaboration can also enhance certain types of teamwork and streamline them more efficiently.

While some employees may need convincing about these benefits, many already crave the connectedness that comes from working together in person.

A report by the Harvard Business Review, based on a survey of 1,000 American workers, revealed that people seeking connectedness prefer their workplace over neighborhood communities or religious groups.

In the end, management’s response to “What brings us here?” must directly relate to the specific team members and nature of work within the organization.

Moreover, determining how frequently employees should convene is subjective: for some individuals, once or twice annually suffices; for others, biweekly or triweekly gatherings prove more beneficial.

Whose Responsibility Is It?

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A crucial question for organizations is determining who holds the authority to set the schedule. Who decides when an employee should work on-site or remotely? Does this responsibility fall upon the employee, their manager, or another leader within the organization?

In order to ensure hybrid work success, it’s essential that companies actively listen to their employees before making any decisions regarding these matters. Employees appreciate being acknowledged and valued for their opinions.

Managers must recognize that workers have a keen understanding of how, where, and when they are most productive. Incorporating their feedback into decision-making processes not only fosters greater commitment to hybrid arrangements but also establishes trust between employees and management.

Disregarding staff input may cause resentment and skepticism towards leadership decisions related to hybrid scheduling policies.

What Does Your Hybrid Work Policy Entail?

Once an organization has formulated its hybrid work policy, it’s crucial for leaders and managers to effectively convey this information at every opportunity.

In any remote or hybrid work environment, overcommunication is truly the key to success. As I emphasize in my book, The Everything Guide to Remote Work, providing information repeatedly through various channels is of the utmost importance.

Therefore, your hybrid work policy should be discussed in meetings, documented in shared files, and occasionally reiterated via email and team messaging platforms such as Slack.

Effective overcommunication not only involves repeating the policy’s content but also explaining its origins. Managers ought to frequently mention how employees’ feedback contributes to decision-making processes.

By citing relevant data that demonstrates the advantages of both co-located and remote work arrangements, they can further demonstrate that the policy aligns with the company’s core values, mission statement, and DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and access) initiatives.

By incorporating overcommunication into your organizational culture on a large scale, you will encourage employees to embrace this approach too, which is what every leader should strive for.

In a successful hybrid workplace environment, employees are encouraged to ask questions openly when needed, investigate potential flaws within policies, and voice their opinions if certain aspects are not functioning as intended.

Remember that the key to successfully adopting a hybrid work model lies in being adaptable, open to feedback, and willing to modify strategies as needed.

Keep an open line of communication with your team members and use their experiences and observations as constructive information for creating a more efficient and productive working environment.

Encountering Issues? Adapt Accordingly.

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In a hybrid workplace, it’s essential to recognize when something isn’t functioning as intended. Rather than allowing the problem to persist, take proactive measures to address and resolve it.

Implementing changes in response to issues will ensure the hybrid work model remains effective and efficient for everyone involved.

Keep in mind that a successful hybrid environment requires flexibility and adaptability from all team members, so don’t hesitate to make necessary adjustments when needed.

Found Something Effective? Speak Up

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When you identify something that is functioning well in your hybrid work environment, don’t hesitate to share your experience.

By voicing your satisfaction and the benefits you’ve observed, you can contribute to the overall success of the new workplace model. Your feedback will not only reinforce effective strategies but also pave the way for continued improvement in other areas.

So, make sure to speak up about positive aspects, as it may influence further decision-making and help maximize efficiency across the organization.

Embracing the Shift: Listen, Adapt, Communicate, Improve

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The concept of hybrid work is not novel. Numerous individuals with roles that allowed for remote or partially remote work enjoyed the flexibility well before the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a shift towards remote and hybrid operations.

Typically, this was implemented on an ad hoc basis. The pivotal change now involves developing a hybrid work policy that accounts for employee input and offers support, fairness, and clear communication while remaining adaptable to modifications.

This approach distinguishes it from prior implementations as it aims to enhance the overall experience.

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