Many companies and organizations have embraced a hybrid working model over the last couple of years. However, it can still bring some challenges if it’s new for you and your team. Learning how to get a team ready for a hybrid working model can go a long way to ensuring success.
McKinsey surveyed 100 executives across locations and industries to get an idea of how they plan to keep the productivity gains they’ve seen going in future years. An amazing 90% of these executives believe a hybrid working model is the answer. While plans vary between leaders, new skills, roles, and changes will be needed going forward. And while details of their plans vary, there are two dominant themes that are guiding how they will invest in their employees later this year:
1. Organizations that have kept employees connected during the pandemic have also tended to see productivity increase.
Organizations with the biggest productivity increases during the pandemic supported and encouraged “small moments of engagement” among their employees.
Recommendation for Hybrid Teams:
If you look to sustain pandemic-style productivity gains with a hybrid model, you will need to deliberately plan these small moments of connection and interaction.
2. Productivity leaders have trained their managers on how to lead teams differently.
Supporting “small moments of connection” requires subtle shifts in how managers work.
Recommendation for Hybrid Teams:
Organizations can better support managers by helping them explore novel ways to establish connection and trust, and address the loss of empathy.
The point of view of economist and McKinsey partner Susan Lund resonated with us. Susan Land encourages leaders to think about the employee experience more broadly. What does it take to have an amazing employee value proposition to attract talent? This is not only an HR issue; it’s about company strategy. Reimagining work is a cross-functional, top-team decision-making process.
New Skills Needed for Hybrid Work
Several new skills are sure to be important with the hybrid working model, and you should be sure those things are in place. This is a good first step toward readying a team for this sort of work. We’ll delve into the skills to be aware of below.
Technology and Process
All processes need to be very clear, and technology needs to work well. It should be easy to adapt to both office and home use and laid out so employees can use it at their own pace. For instance, consider how task handoff will work between team members. Consider options on how to streamline time management and ensure good communication.
Sometimes, these things might occur face-to-face, while other times, they might involve email, Zoom meetings, or something different. Get all these things in place before a hybrid working model goes wide.
Security and Privacy
Since everything will be done over the Internet, one of the things you cannot ignore is security. Having the right programs and systems in place is essential. This is true in an office, but it takes on even more importance in a hybrid workplace.
For instance, you’ll have employees working from various locations, and security has to be in place for all of them. This can be more challenging when employees are on different Wi-Fi networks and have access to different programs. Look into privacy and security solutions early.
The best leaders in the office may need to adapt the way they work with a hybrid working model team. Leaders who succeed in this situation need to have the skills associated with managing teams in the office as well as remote. This may not be easy and is another thing to work on before the team goes hybrid.
There are two main things to focus on in this situation. The first is training. Each leader should have the resources needed to build skills to work with teams in whatever location they’re in. In addition, having empathy is a huge part of the process.
It’s easy to run into people in the office and chat, but this may not be the case when some members of the team are working from home or other locations. The last thing you want to do is make anyone feel left out, so effort needs to be made to ensure relationships are built. This is going to look different every time, but it bears some thought before people move to a hybrid working model.
Make sure your team members are encouraged to make connections with those near them and those who aren’t. Put technology in place that makes this easy. This might include software like Zoom, messaging platforms, and other items that foster communication over a distance. As a leader, use those things, so others do the same.
Identify Roles That Work Best in a Hybrid Working Model
As you consider a move to a hybrid workplace, one of the biggest questions is which roles can be performed on a fully remote basis. On the other hand, are there some departments or teams that need to be in the office at all times? Considering the needs of each team is essential to making the right decisions about staffing locations.
There are several roles to consider first since they have an impact on everyone else. For instance, think about human resources, IT, and operations. Will these people work from home or the office? Will they work from home part of the time and from the office other times? Once you determine how to position these teams, it’s easier to smooth the transition for everyone else at the company.
However, it does require more than this. As the leader of a team, you need to have conversations with the people on your team. Talk with each of them honestly about what they do and where they’d fit best once the company moves to a hybrid working model. You may have team members who work best in the office, others who work best at home, and some who do best on a flexible schedule.
Organizations also must support managers along the way. This makes them better able to think broadly about the employee experience. Consider what it takes to have a great employee value proposition to bring in talent. This takes more than HR. It’s a full company effort as the workplace is reimagined and decisions are made about the future.
Embrace Change and Uncertainty in the Future of Work
The last few years have shown the entire world that changes happen without warning all the time. Sometimes those changes are massive, and we have no warning. When the pandemic began, we had no way of knowing how long it would last or what it could bring in its wake, but we managed to get through it.
As a team moving toward a hybrid working model, this is something to remember. This might be permanent, or it might not. It could turn out to be a great option for the company that continues regardless of what comes in the future. Or it could be something that works for a while and then needs to be reconsidered.
Leaders need to take time to reassure their team members. Let them know that they can handle the changes coming and adapt to them. However, it’s also important to be sure that you listen to the things employees have to say to you. Sometimes feedback can be invaluable.
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