Even now, as the endless cycle of imposing and easing restrictions continues and organisations are still in limbo, it has become imperative to streamline operations to continue business as usual and keep productivity high.
Thus, many organisations resort to hybrid working and allow their employees to work from home and other times in the office.
For instance, around 70% of organisations are looking to continue with hybrid work models beyond the pandemic in India. So, it is safe to say that hybrid working is here to stay, and many companies may never go back to 100% office-based working anytime soon.
Are you also a manager who has to manage a hybrid workforce? Are you in need of productivity tips to boost the morale of your employees? Then, we’ve got some fantastic productivity tips for you.
What Exactly is Hybrid Working?
Hybrid working is a combination of remote as well as office-based working. It enables employees to work anytime and anywhere– in offices, homes, or even a café.
But hybrid working is not only about where employees are based or working from. More importantly, it is about flexibility, greater freedom and autonomy over their schedules. They can work from different locations, across different time zones and even choose working hours other than the traditional nine to five.
Practical Tips to Up Productivity of a Hybrid Workforce
These are some real-life tips managers can give to their workforce to heighten the benefits of a hybrid workforce:
1. Understanding the whole picture
Everything always starts with first understanding the whole situation and, as in this case, a holistic perspective of the employee’s needs, desires, and concerns.
Companies often make decisions without thinking about or involving their employees. This is where it can all go wrong and lead to a huge disconnect. But by understanding what they need, companies can make informed decisions and create a winning system for their employees and themselves.
2. Updating tech
Technology is why companies survived through the pandemic, and hence it is one of the pillars of hybrid working.
For a seamless shift, having the proper tech in place is essential. In addition, companies need to understand their strengths in technology and improve to make hybrid working successful in the long run.
Employee tools and technology like laptops that can be used anywhere, wireless mice, video and audio technology, strong wi-fi connections etc., are elements that can effectively bridge lags in communication irrespective of where employees are working.
3. Clear guidelines
Everyone must understand the whole picture and what is required of them. Organisations need to communicate the various rules and guidelines that have been put in place, the specifics of who needs to be in the office and when what tasks can only be done in the office, and so on.
Without clear guidelines and communication of those guidelines, only chaos will ensue.
4. Communication is the key
Hybrid working can lack human connectivity, and only communication can bridge this gap.
In situations of hybrid working, since everyone is not always present at the same place, it becomes even more critical to over-communicate and not take anything for granted. Communication is, in fact, the crux of teamwork and collaboration.
In addition, companies need to encourage team members to form strong connections to collaborate and communicate effectively.
5. A positive attitude
Morale is everything when it comes to productivity. So organisations (and managers) need to get team members to uplift, help, and encourage each other.
A positive attitude from your end will help them go the extra mile for each other and create positive energy conducive to a productive working environment. Conversely, a team that cannot be positive and support each other is set to fail in a hybrid working situation.
6. Team re-training
Just like companies train their staff whenever they put a new process or software in place, training should be offered to hybrid workers so that they can learn:
- The new hybrid working practices, policies, rules, regulations, etc.
- The infrastructure and tools they will be expected to use – such as computer hardware, new software, modes of communication etc.
- Their roles and responsibilities in the whole scheme of things.
Investing in training for the team members can help workers transition to a hybrid working model more smoothly.
7. Smart meetings
It is a known fact that Zoom fatigue is catching up, and people tend to feel drained by all the extra meetings when working remotely.
Yes, video conferencing is a highly effective way to communicate.
But, just because it is easy does not mean there are no other effective ways to communicate. For example, managers can pick what they want to share through a video call and handle other things by email, messenger, or phone call.
When video calls are a must, managers should have all participate equally and ensure that the team does not deviate from the agenda and let the meeting drag on and on.
8. Focussing on output
For far too long, companies have focussed on employees being present physically instead of concentrating on what the employee is delivering.
It is time to end that way of thinking and adopt a new way of assessing employees.
One way to do this effectively is by breaking down a large project into smaller tasks and putting timelines to these tasks. Thus, each team member will be accountable for the work they have to deliver.
In this way, companies can focus on the quality of output rather than employees just being in the office for the sake of it.
9. Health and safety
The health and safety of every employee are first and foremost. Therefore, companies considering reopening their offices to a hybrid working style need to consider keeping their workers safe physically and psychologically seriously.
All decisions taken by the organisation need to be based on this aspect. For example, many employees will feel anxious about travelling perhaps in public transport and going to work. In fact, in a study conducted, 81% of employees voiced concerns about their safety and health.
Management needs to deal with employees’ concerns by doing what it takes. This could mean redesigning the office to maintain social distancing, providing transportation, maintaining hygienic common areas and even disinfecting the office now and then.
10. Out with the old
As mentioned before, an old management style, mindset, and expectations cannot be effectively configured to a new way of working.
Managers and company leaders need to update their management styles and expectations of their employees. They need to get rid of their rigid ideas associated with an office-based work model.
Instead, companies need to focus on flexibility, understanding how to surmount hurdles and getting the best out of their employees in the circumstances.
Benefits of Hybrid Working
Because a hybrid working style has many benefits and employees now favour this working model, companies are trying to find the best ways to work effectively- both for themselves and their employees. So let’s look at some of the benefits.
1. It improves employee satisfaction
Employees do not like to be policed, and giving them autonomy over their professional lives is the key to their satisfaction. Studies show that remote work increased the satisfaction of 66% of the employees.
Hence, if companies respect their employees enough to make decisions for themselves, they will be more satisfied. Therefore, organisations need to trust that their employees are doing their best and making responsible decisions- unless proven otherwise.
2. Improves productivity
Companies can offer a positive alternative to a more confining office environment by allowing employees to work where they are most comfortable. But this style of working not only increases productivity but also enables creativity and collaboration.
Employees can adapt their working style to their job requirements and needs. For example, employees who need peace and silence to focus or those who thrive in a dynamic office setting can be allowed to choose to work where and when they’re most productive.
3. Gives more flexibility and work-life balance
Working in a non-restrictive environment always makes people more content. If companies can offer flexibility, people will be happier doing their jobs and perform much better. In addition, flexibility can also positively impact mental health and reduce work stress.
The above are only a few of the many benefits of a hybrid working style.
Hybrid Working: A Significant Change?
No matter the benefits, companies do have their apprehensions about a hybrid working style. Because of years of office-based working, they are hesitant to rock the boat by taking a step in a completely different direction.
Organisations fear that they may have less control, there may be no consistency, or employees may take advantage of the system. Further, a hybrid style of working is undoubtedly more challenging to manage–and one thing has become abundantly clear, the old management style will not work for the new style of working.
But the reality is that hybrid working will be around for a while, and organisations will have to find new ways of thinking and doing things, especially if they will get the best out of the working arrangement. Thus, the answer is not rejecting the hybrid working model but finding ways to make it work.
Hence, they need to consider changing the policies, procedures and processes required to optimise productivity, employee engagement, happiness, and overall bottom line.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to hybrid working. Depending on their business, the degree of autonomy and level of flexibility may differ for each company.
Do you have any ideas or tips that companies can use to increase the productivity of their workforce? If you do, we would love to hear from you! Leave us a comment!