18 Aug 2021
How to achieve the best from hybrid working employees
How do you build a strong team culture and maintain productivity when part of your team is working remotely? Leadership expert, Ruth Donde, offers some simple and practical suggestions to help leaders get the best out of their teams in flexible work arrangements.
What is hybrid working?
As I outlined in my earlier blog, hybrid working involves employees spending part of their working week at home (WFH) and the remainder in the office (WFO). In practical terms, this flexibility offers many benefits – which might include:
- Skipping that tedious (and traffic-filled) commute
- Being able to collect the kids from school – and catch-up on work in the evening
- Focusing on in-depth tasks without interruptions
- Improving meeting productivity by switching to video calls
- Reducing overhead by decreasing the required office and parking space
- Saving time
A key benefit of hybrid working is that it offers employees greater empowerment. They can work autonomously in an environment of their choice – assuming it accords to the conditions of their role and is agreed to with their leader and/or organisation, of course!
Social interactions matter when hybrid working
What we often lack when it comes to hybrid working is the connection with our colleagues. You might be surprised to learn that those trivial (and often seemingly tedious!) every day conversations matter when it comes to productivity.
Feeling connected with our peers helps motivate us, makes us feel valued and supports us to perform at our best.
While it’s easy to connect via technology like Zoom or Skype, we can often miss out on that ‘everyday’ engagement and social interaction with our peers.
How to achieve the best from employees when hybrid working
With some careful consideration and planning, hybrid working can achieve on its promise to support productivity and employee well-being.
Here are some easy-to-implement hybrid techniques to help leaders maintain an engaged and connected team:
Change the way you see video discussions
Deliberately set aside time within these calls to support opportunities to ‘meet’ and catch up. That spontaneous chit-chat and casually transferred information is sometimes just as important for your team’s productivity as the task-focused component.
Maintain a connection – and more often
Build opportunities for your team to collaborate so that there is more ‘to-ing’ and ‘fro-ing’ of information. Break key discussion topics into smaller ‘bits’ to increase the frequency of these conversations occurring.
Encourage different types of engagement
Have a combination of one-on-one and group catch ups. Keep up a healthy, supportive, and empathetic work culture.
Be available for questions
Aim to stay in touch and be ‘present’ more regularly. Let your team know how to best contact you in the moment. When you aren’t right there for them to shoulder tap, how are they able to ‘virtually’ get your attention quickly?
Support employee well-being
Over the past 18 months, our networks have contracted. Encourage your team to reengage with broader networks – and make this priority for yourself too! Ensure your team members have ways to take care of themselves and know what works for them.
Supporting leaders with hybrid working teams
When it comes to hybrid working, leaders will achieve the best results through supporting employee engagement – in and away from the office. If you’d like some advice to support you and your leaders build successful and productive teams, we’re here to help. Simply contact our leading experts at Mantle now.