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Conquering Common Hybrid Work Challenges

Hybrid Work , Return to Office

Conquering Common Hybrid Work Challenges

Hybrid work models are on the rise due to the flexibility and support that they can provide businesses and employees. If hybrid work is possible for your organization, consider implementing the model to improve upon company culture, employee satisfaction, and employee retention. Workers can experience great benefits with hybrid work models, and in fact, a recent Accenture report reveals that 83% of workers prefer them.  

Although you may encounter certain hesitations from employees while implementing a hybrid work model, with the right planning and set of tools, these challenges can be easily overcome. 

Here are five common hybrid work hesitations, and how to conquer them:

1. Employees returning to the office

Whether it be for the comfort, convenience, or consistency, some employees may prefer remote work and be hesitant to return to work in-office. In fact, a recent survey finds that 65% of workers want to work remotely full time. Perhaps these individuals don’t see the value in commuting to come into work or are worried about the possible health risks.  

If this is the case, it is up to your organization to ensure that your workers feel safe, comfortable, and encouraged to come into the office. Employees should be offered the flexibility to come into the office as they please, with opportunities to be both social and productive. They should be advised to work collaboratively and arrange for the best days to meet their team members and optimize time spent in the office. Nspace’s “Find a Colleague” feature can help employees arrange to work with each other in office, making effective use of office space. 

The right workplace management solution can mitigate health risks with the use of self-assessments and contact tracing, allowing hesitant employees to feel comfortable taking advantage of the office. Requiring employees to assess the status of their health before entering the office can help limit the potential spread of illnesses. The contact tracing feature also monitors who enters the office and when, allowing you to identify possible exposure and keep employees safe.  

2. Redesigning office space

When it comes to hybrid workplaces, it can be challenging to redesign the office in alignment with its new purpose.   

The new role of the office is centred around providing a social space for collaboration and creativity, rather than being a hub with assigned seating. Your office needs to be open concept and flexible, with a wide array of spaces based on different needs, such as a mix of collaborative, open areas and quieter workspaces for independent work.  

With these new collaboration environments, employees will need a tool to easily book workspaces. This way, they can come into the office with other team members for collaborative work and be guaranteed the space to do so. They can make use of office space when required, and work remotely when they need to concentrate on independent tasks, giving them the best of both worlds.  

3. Collaborating across unique schedules

Occasionally, the flexibility that hybrid work brings can come with some confusion.  This can be especially difficult when you are trying to connect with remote and in-office workers at the same time. For instance, a possible hybrid work challenge is a lack of communication during meetings that can cause remote employees to feel distant or left out of the conversation. 

Hybrid collaboration is an essential aspect of hybrid work. It defines the way both remote and in-office employees communicate and work together effectively, while taking advantage of the freedom and flexibility that hybrid work models provide. 

In order to navigate this, your business should organize and arrange meetings based on who will be in the office, while giving the option for other team members to join virtually. All workers should be focused on and aware of how everyone is contributing to the conversation to make sure that the virtual team members are included. 

A level of connectivity must also be maintained, regardless of whether colleagues are in-office or remote. The right workplace management solution can resolve this hybrid work struggle, by allowing employees to see who is coming into the office and when. This can help with scheduling meetings or workspaces for collaborative projects, as a meeting room can easily be booked based on everyone’s availability. Or, if colleagues are planning to work remotely on the same days, appropriate arrangements can be made to work together and connect asynchronously as well.  

4. Employee/manager connections

Communication is essential for all relationships, especially ones between managers and their teams. By effectively connecting and strengthening the communication between you and your employees, you can spark motivation, encourage collaboration, and help your team build the necessary skills to achieve success in their roles.  

Sometimes, hybrid employee/manager relations can be a challenge when both individuals are working from different locations. Without a set schedule, if your workers are coming into the office as they please, it can be difficult for you to provide feedback and connect in-person with your employees on a regular basis.  

To remedy this, you need to establish trust with your employees. Always be approachable and friendly to support your team members. By having plenty of one-on-one meetings, you can help your employees set realistic goals and create a plan to work towards achieving them. Communicate with them frequently through necessary channels or platforms, regardless of whether they are working remotely or in-person, so you can keep up with them and make sure that they’re on track. 

Workplace management solutions can assist management by allowing them to see when employees are coming into the office and booking one-on-one meeting spaces accordingly. You can view where your employees are working while in the office, facilitating impromptu check-ins. You can track how frequently your employees may be coming into the office, taking note of those who are primarily remote workers, and fostering connections with them accordingly.  

5. Maintaining company culture

A hybrid work model can result in a dispersed workforce, and this makes it hard to establish a shared culture where core values are aligned across the entire organization. Having a positive company culture is crucial as it can greatly impact the success of the business. In fact, over 50% of executives claim that corporate culture influences important factors such as productivity, growth rates, profitability, and creativity. 

Unfortunately, there is a high chance that employees working mainly from home could have a very different employee experience than those working mostly in-office. Team-building activities, in-person meetings, and employee social interactions contribute greatly to the development of company culture, and these incidences are all compromised under hybrid work models.  

One way you can foster company culture in a hybrid work environment is to encourage positive interactions between your employees, regardless of where they’re working. This can be done through running hybrid meetings, organizing social events, or motivating workers to engage in coffee chats. Creating social connections between employees can build trust and cohesion, which ultimately leads to a better company culture and work environment.  

It should be your priority to uplift the employee experience within your organization, creating a workplace where people feel free, safe, and included.  

Resolving hybrid work challenges to bring about change

Although it may seem daunting at first, implementing a hybrid work model can be a transformative step for the success of your business. By taking the initiative to conquer hybrid work challenges, your organization can take advantage of the many benefits of hybrid work and see lasting impacts in the long term.  

Ajeeta Shanmugarajaih