Even months into the transition, businesses and HR teams are struggling with hybrid work. And it’s easy to understand why! It’s a largely unprecedented way of working for many people, and it looks completely different from company to company – making it challenging to find a one-size-fits-all model since what will work best for you will depend on your business and resource allocation. Given that, this article will serve as a resource for truly mastering hybrid work and providing tips and tools in order to help you determine what makes sense for your business.
To start, what are the challenges with hybrid work?
“How can I get my employees to want to come into the office?”
“How can we be productive with people working in different ways?”
“What is the best way to manage performance for hybrid workers?”
These are just some of the questions HR teams are asking. And while adjusting to the new way of working may have been straightforward when everyone was 100% remote, the transition to hybrid is more challenging. Some offices may have a 50-50 split between hybrid workers and solely-remote/solely-in office workers, while other offices are distributed less evenly. And for many people, that makes it hard to know which advice to apply. Below, we’ve shared both tools and strategies to help you understand what options are available to you and to answer some of these questions.
Key Tools or Applications to Help with Hybrid Work
Communication and Collaboration Tools: In 2020, we all became well-acquainted with apps like Zoom and Slack, if we weren’t already using them. But virtual office simulator tools, video chat tools, document storage systems, and live document systems are critical for hybrid work especially. Some emerging and popular tools include:
Zoom Smart Gallery which is equipped to display multiple video feeds from a single room, allowing every participant to have their own window – essentially making individuals in a room more visible to remote workers and allowing for more equal collaboration and representation.
Mmhmm which is a virtual camera app that can work with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Meet and more in order to allow users to create more engaging, green-screen style presentations.
Meeting Owl Pro which is a camera, speaker, and microphone that can pan the room, identify speakers, and generally make a remote worker who’s calling in to a meeting with people from a conference room feel as if they’re right alongside everyone else.
Logistic and Scheduling tools allow you to sync and schedule meetings across calendars, book desks, reserve conference rooms, and generally reduce the friction in administration.
For example, tools like Doodle allows participants in a meeting to determine an ideal mutual meeting time without having to send emails back and forth.
Calendly allow people to schedule meetings with calendar conflicts and automates confirmations and follow-ups which save time for everyone.
And HRIS tools like GoCo can offer a consistent, consolidated hub for all employee information, time tracking, benefits, and payroll that is not impacted by whether you’re in-person or remote. Everyone, regardless of work model, can easily access information, company policies, change benefits, and view payroll information from the web or mobile app. Employees are empowered and have access to everything they need digitally.
How to navigate hybrid work from an HR strategy standpoint
Understand what’s driving people’s choice to work in one space over the other: Many leaders want to know how to encourage people to come back to the office, or increase the frequency of their office time, if they’ve partially returned. But it’s impossible to answer this question at scale as people are driven by different motivations. For some people, the office offers a focused respite from their home. For others, working from home allows them to easily manage responsibilities like picking their child up at 3pm. The best way to encourage people to return to your office is to (un-obtrusively and respectfully) see if they’re willing to share their reasons, and if possible, eliminate any barriers on your end.
Define outcomes and measure performance and progress over hours and location: Whether an employee is 100% remote, 100% in the office, or a combination of both, what’s most important is their ability to meet outcomes and objectives. While many people might fret over the productivity of remote workers, surely, an office worker who doesn’t complete their assignments isn’t ideal either. HR teams and managers should work together to clearly define outcomes for everyone – and measure progress and performance (the “what”) over the “where.”
Lead by example: If HR teams and leaders treat out-of-office workers as if they’re less valuable or less committed, the rest of the office will follow. The best way to lead by example is by demonstrating your best effort at effective hybrid working yourself and by building understanding, equal participation and engagement for those who choose to work differently.
Encourage collaboration and communication: It can become the default for people to reach out to the colleagues that they see daily, while some remote colleagues may be forgotten. This can quickly snowball as the in-office teams begin to develop new ideas and projects that promote and advance them – while remote employees aren’t even given the opportunity. Encourage regular collaboration and communication across all employees to ensure that everyone stays on each other’s radar for support, assistance, or new ideas.
Practice and demonstrate empathy: Ultimately, the way that we work best and the reasons why can be quite personal. While some people may be comfortable sharing, others may be less comfortable doing so. Perhaps their preferences are related to a chronic health condition, or a less-than-ideal living situation. At the end of the day, we don’t know what other people are going through so when in doubt, lead with empathy and understanding – rather than judgment and shame.
How GoCo Can Help
Modern HR - HR software doesn’t only help remote workforces — it helps hybrid and mixed workforces have one common consolidated reference point for all things HR, whether for employees or HR. Hybrid workforces can easily review all company policies, sign agreements, update employee information, clock in and out, request PTO, and enroll in benefits from one platform. Provides a more consistent experience for all employees vs. if you were to onboard a hybrid workforce manually, it’s harder to provide a consistent experience.
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