Are you and your team ready for hybrid work ?
Although it’s not winning the dictionary’s beauty contest, we will have to get used to hearing “hybrid” more often. After being forced to sit at home for far too long because of Corona, experts predict that we will soon all be working in a “hybrid” way : you work both at the office and at home.
At first glance, hybrid work allows you to combine the best of both worlds: you choose where you want to work, depending on the type of work you have to do at a particular time. At home you can concentrate undisturbed on an assignment, at the office you meet colleagues to consult and brainstorm and you meet with customers at a place that suits you best.
We have already been able to put this concept to the test. What can be done remotely without too many problems and when is it better to sit together ?
After the first hurray messages (less time lost in traffic, more freedom, more flexible work-life distribution ...) the necessary complaints followed (longer working days, more and more tiring meetings, lack of contact with colleagues, less involvement in the organisation ,…). “Hybrid work” will only become successful if a number of conditions are met.
There's no lack of research on the topic but unfortunately it yielded few unanimous results. Some employees prefer to go to the office every day, others barely one day a week. Some managers want to maintain some form of control, others prefer to leave their employees alone as much as possible. The need for personal conversations and encounters differs from person to person.
(1) Clarity : Knowing the ground rules. When do I have to be available, when am I expected at the office, how do I share information? Maximum freedom always requires a couple of clear agreements.
(2) Safety : Consider both physical and psychological safety. How do you prevent stress for homeworkers, how do you guarantee a safe office environment?
(3)Teamwork : How do you keep the team spirit? Colleagues who see each other less often will have to find new ways to work together. Managers will have to communicate with their team in a different way.
(4) Trust : The old adage “Trust is good, control is better” no longer applies. How do you ensure a structure in which employees can work autonomously without feeling left to their own devices?
(5) Connectedness : You get connectedness through informal contacts and conversations that are not just about operational topics. How can you achieve this in an environment where colleagues are in different locations ?
(6) Insight : Everyone wants to stay informed about what is happening within the organisation and the less often you are in the office, the more difficult it becomes to maintain a good overview of it.
How you meet those needs will differ from team to team. It is therefore best for managers to decide together with their employees which approach works well for them.
To help you with this, we have made a short questionnaire that you can download here for free. If you and your team have found an answer to all these questions, you can safely say that you and the team are ready for “hybrid working”.