Remote work isn’t a new concept, but in the last year it has become a reality on a much larger scale. Many companies have or are shifting to a remote or hybrid work environment offering more flexibility to their employees. While there is plenty of upside to this shift, there are pitfalls executives should be prepared for as well. A hybrid workplace means employees spend less time together which can quickly affect team dynamics.
When evaluating the state of your hybrid team, here are a few factors to consider:
- Employee engagement. Simply defined, employee engagement is the connection employees feel to an organization. In a hybrid work environment it’s even more important to provide safe outlets for employees to engage with the company and with their coworkers.
- Expectations. By setting clear – and reasonable – expectations, employees will know what is required of them and are likely to be less frustrated in their role. A remote role doesn’t necessarily equate to flexible hours or a changing job description, but it might. What an employee can accomplish in and out of the office might look different and making sure you’re all on the same page will pay dividends on the bottom line.
- Performance measures: Continuing on the expectations theme, setting clear – and measurable – performance goals will provide common language for strategy and evaluation discussions. Revisiting current performance measures for employees who have shifted to a remote role will allow opportunity for honest discussion about what is still realistic and what new opportunities there may be.
- Equal opportunities: If you’re operating on a basis where some employees are in-office and some are remote, ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute and feel connected will be an ongoing challenge. It’s natural to gravitate to the people working around you. Staying vigilant about providing opportunity to connection and contribution from remote employees will be crucial for long-term success.
- Meeting logistics: It’s worth considering if there should be a shift in how your team meets together. Should everyone, including in-office employees, join a meeting virtually from their own offices to even the playing field? How the workplace is setup will be a factor in what is possible when it comes to including remote employees in team discussion and meetings.
- Offline/Online: It’s easy for conversations to lead to process decisions. Being mindful of those offline conversations that move the business forward and being sure to document and loop everyone in will both boost employee trust and keep your team on the same page. How to best accomplish this is a process you’ll need to build out for your team.
The future of the post-pandemic office is still unclear, but what remains is that successful businesses will always be based on a group of individuals who make up the whole and who adapt quickly to change and evolving needs. In a more connected world, where employees have access to more job opportunities, businesses should be continually evaluating their strategy and culture, always acknowledging that employees are the biggest assets they have.