With the onset of the global pandemic, almost 90% of the world’s organizations had to adopt remote working and work-from-home culture to cope with the time, and more than 54% still maintain hybrid work mode, as per Gartner reports. No wonder the concept of a hybrid workplace is no longer alien to the world.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, every organization has had to confront situations where they can only thrive and sustain with flexibility in working hours and hybrid workplaces.
Surprisingly hybrid working brought new energy to productivity and employees’ engagement in work. Although maintaining hybrid work culture is a complex task as it is a relatively new concept for the world, organizations and institutions are being prepared to design strategies and better management to implement a hybrid work system.
As a result, hybrid work culture is becoming the new ‘normal’ as it overthrew the conventional expectations of being unable to work remotely.
A hybrid workplace creates a culture that allows employees to work effortlessly in both digital and physical workspaces. This concept introduces work-from-home and working in an office environment and is practiced simultaneously. The primary motive of a hybrid culture is to support employees without hindering the work environment at offices under critical landscapes.
Hybrid culture is a complex concept to execute as it comes with different challenges for administration, the human resource department, and management. But above all, one major challenge that makes hybrid culture demanding is ambiguity in employees’ belongingness to the organization. Improper communication, stressful targets, isolation, or disconnection from colleagues are a few reasons this challenge becomes even more intense.
How can we create a balance between flexibility and productivity?
The hybrid work model is undoubtedly a significant change in the working environment that can bring more flexibility and productivity into work than ever before. However, there are certain hindrances that need to be addressed. Let’s discuss how we can manage a hybrid work culture without compromising productivity.
Communicating with employees and the team in a physical work setting is more accessible. But when it comes to a hybrid work model with employees working remotely, transparent communication becomes a task for most managers. Some surveys suggest that nearly 60% of employees who work remotely cannot comprehend much of the information presented by their managers.
Therefore, effective communication is essential for workplaces to make the best of hybrid work culture. With proper communication channels and personal engagements on these channels, organizations can expect open communication to be much easier for both managers and employees. Moreover, companies can encourage employees to review such channels and give feedback. It will develop a sense of belongingness in employees.
Recently, some organizations have initiated virtual meetings or podcasts that are confidential to their employees. Such activities not only bring better and effective communication but also leave no scope for isolation for employees.
Identify the Requirements of the Task
Another crucial responsibility for managers and employers is recognizing the requirement of tasks. Every job has its requirements, and you cannot perform every task from home. Some duties can be easily performed from home or anywhere, whereas some assignments require your physical attention. Managers need to identify the requirements of the tasks and then deploy them accordingly.
For example, training newly hired employees, especially at the entry level, would be challenging to handle in a virtual environment. Such situations demand the physical presence of both trainees and trainers in office premises to not only enable frequent interaction between the two but also to break the ice and build trust and relationships.
As a result, managers or employers can design their schedules accordingly. But to develop these activities, managers need to understand every employee’s capability and the atmosphere where they can perform the given task most efficiently.
Although not meeting deadlines is not the challenge we see in hybrid culture, it is very much present in physical workplaces. It becomes ambiguous for employers to believe in their employees when they are working remotely.
Remote working makes things less transparent than in physical workplaces. This is where the need for regulation and operation conduct is ensured, especially for employees who are working remotely.
Managers can overcome the challenge of delayed deadlines in the following ways:
- Conduct regular meetings with their teams to bring transparency
- Design direct channels for employees to connect with management in case of delayed operations.
- Develop metrics to track individual and team-level performances
Flexibility in Achieving Productivity
Flexibility is yet another criterion for the hybrid work model. As much as setting targets is vital to keep up with productivity, it is essential to leverage employees with a certain flexibility in choosing the best option, whether they want to work from home or show up to the office.
While the fundamental objective should be meeting deadlines, the hybrid work culture’s flexibility should also give employees little control to determine if they want to work in the morning, afternoon, or at night.
Create a Healthy Working Atmosphere/Work Hygiene
Workplace hygiene is undoubtedly essential in increasing employees’ productivity, be it in the office environment or the employee’s house. A study by Kermit G. Davis suggests that only 58% of remote employees have proper working chairs at home.
In contrast, another survey says that about 78% of people working from home do not have a dedicated desk for office work. These surveys have ingeniously shed light on how poor work hygiene is aggravating, especially for employees who are working remotely.
Therefore, creating a healthy working atmosphere should be the utmost priority for organizations and employees. Recently, Google and Shopify, like reputed companies, recognized the need for working space for remote workers. They offered their employees an allowance to pay for essential furniture required for remote working.
Work hygiene is about robust, ergonomic furniture and maintaining discipline in work from employees and employers. Companies should focus more on creating a healthy work atmosphere if they want to balance flexibility and productivity in the hybrid culture setup.
Use Tools to Increase Productivity
A few years back, nobody imagined that work-from-home or hybrid culture could work as efficiently as physical workspaces. Moreover, we can safely claim that the hybrid work model could not have functioned as effectively and efficiently a decade ago as it is today. This has been possible only with emerging technologies and tools.
Now that companies are adopting hybrid work models, many tools and software have entered the virtual world. But using the right tools and applications per your team’s requirement is a crucial decision. Organizations should use applications that help improve communication and maintain a better link between colleagues to increase productivity.
The hybrid work model is still burgeoning and comes with a few hurdles. Having said that, we cannot overlook that it leverages employees with more autonomy and creates a better balance between their work life and personal life.
Quite often, in a hybrid work culture, managers or employers fail to understand the individual potential of an employee and his personal working environment while working remotely. In such situations, it is a manager’s responsibility to recognize individual potential and capabilities and assign the task and work models accordingly.
Hybrid culture at workplaces is assuredly a radical change in the working atmosphere, and in the coming years, employers can expect accelerated productivity while a healthy work balance is maintained.
“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss