The Grow Your Own Way podcast is back! After an extended hiatus (Thanks, COVID!), we’re back better than ever. We’re kicking off the series with one of the hottest topics of 2022… hybrid work.
Today, I’m joined by Farah Bakir, a Senior HR Advisor here at Polyglot Group. With over eight years of experience in human resources, Farah is giving her insight into this work mode that has spun the corporate world on its head!
In our bite-sized podcast, Farah gives us the low-down on:
-What hybrid work is
-How to keep hybrid work from becoming chaotic
-How to maintain and foster your company’s culture in a hybrid work setup
We’re very proud of our first podcast after so long, so be sure to check it out.
Don’t have time to listen to the podcast? You can read the highlights below.
What is hybrid work?
Since the pandemic, many companies have adopted hybrid work flexibility, and employees are sensing the advantage of that, since hybrid work actually provides flexibility and enables employees to get work done from when and where they’re most productive. And that also includes things like flexible schedules as well as locations. However, as you know, hybrid work can also be exhausting for employees if mismanaged, so therefore, companies should have a solid strategy in place to succeed with hybrid working options.
Okay, so you’re saying basically, companies can’t just go okay, we’re doing hybrid work, and that’s it?
No, because actually, companies have to have a properly designed hybrid work environment in place to succeed and make sure that hybrid employees or employees who are working remotely are not left out. So they have to also feel they’re included to succeed in implementing a strategic designed hybrid working environment.
Employees love hybrid working. A study found that 43% of employees expect companies to offer it even after the pandemic. However, there are critics who call it chaos. So what are your thoughts on that critique?
Well, as I mentioned a while ago, yes, hybrid work can be exhausting if not managed really well. And therefore, it is always encouraging to have a proper plan when it comes to hybrid working. So, for instance, line managers should be organised and set clear objectives and expectations when it comes to hybrid working. As a result, having clear objectives for what is expected of employees is critical. What does “good performance” look like? And like, what quality of work do we need to achieve?
What departments would you say are in play here? So we’ve got the line managers? Would you say execs? So C level C suite?
So it involves actually everyone. So it does involve executives, it does involve line managers, as well as the employees themselves needs to be also organised when it comes to their daily tasks as well, to ensure they are not exhausted or fail and a bit lost. Yeah, for not being on the site or on the job on a daily basis.
A big concern for companies regarding hybrid work is the idea of losing culture. In fact, a survey found that 76% of HR leaders found that hybrid work challenges their employees connection to organisational culture. So how can companies create and foster a company culture that’s hybrid?
So, as I mentioned earlier, setting clear objectives with your dates, what quality can be achieved, and demonstrating how your remote workers will have the same expectations as your office team is critical to implementing hybrid work. The line manager can also ensure having group meetings on a weekly basis so that those who are working remotely do not feel left out, and this will also create a sense of team unity amongst the team.
Besides the weekly team meetings, line managers can also have weekly one-on-one checkups with those who are working from home to provide an update on what they’re working on and what they’ve achieved during the week. This can ensure that projects are being completed in a timely manner and that things aren’t being missed due to a lack of communication. And also, one important thing that we need to keep in mind is that it is also very important to recognise flexibility for working in-office employees.
So, for example, that also considers flexibility in terms of working hours. So, for instance, if an employee would like to leave a bit early, or come in the morning, or a bit late, so managers should also look into having this flexibility for those who are working from home as well.
Some companies are understandably worried about shifting into a hybrid working model, especially as many were forced to without preparation during the pandemic. So what would you say are five essential tips to managing a hybrid workforce?
So I’d say having clear communication guidelines in place is crucial. For instance, ask employees what their preferences are. For example, sharing updates can be done through emails, whereas collaborative problem-solving can be done through video conferencing.
Always work to improve the level of trust and continuous communication within your team, providing maximum transparency when sharing information or an update, and to enhance the level of trust that could be enhanced by having constructive feedback with your employees, always appreciating good performance. Ensure consistency amongst your team.
Ensure all remote workers have appropriate tools to work remotely and provide clarity on when to use what, for instance, and through having the right technology tools in terms of laptops, mobile phones, or internet connection. These kinds of tools will help them be productive on a daily basis while working remotely.
Understand your team’s needs; as leaders, we cannot manage everyone the same way. We understand and embrace how different behavioural types respond to remote work. Some employees might feel more heard in a remote meeting than an in-person meeting, which is one-on-one meetings and also fairly important for planning group events.
So, from time to time, it is really important to plan group events that will create a sense of team bonding between line managers and the team members themselves. So these team events could be virtual, or they could gather every few months at a specific location. Yeah, at a specific location, because hosting these kinds of group events will bring people together. And this will help the teams to create a sense of belonging.