Last year’s expedited shift to remote work did not give business leaders much time to map out a thoughtful out-of-office setup for employees. But the challenges leaders have faced over the past year and a half have led to a better understanding of how to lead a hybrid workforce – and how to simplify the hybrid work model.
3 hybrid work model tips
Keep these tips in mind as you refine your hybrid work model and plans.
1. Provide flexibility, collaboration, and the right technology
It’s clear that hybrid work is here to stay. New research by Kadence reveals that 62 percent of employees feel more trusted to do their job than before and 51 percent of employees are motivated to do a better job in remote work.
This is due, in part, to the flexibility that employees now enjoy. More than 6 out of 10 respondents mentioned feeling less daily pressure to perform tasks because they are not being micromanaged by bosses and executives.
It is imperative to the success of any company to provide tools and technologies that enable a positive experience for all employees. These can vary depending on your company’s needs, but they might include corporate knowledge bases, goal- and process-tracking software, and platforms to support both live and asynchronous communication and collaboration among teams.
Today’s technology must meet the new work-from-anywhere needs to keep employees engaged and ultimately drive the business forward. As companies increasingly shift to a hybrid work model, executives must also reassess how they evaluate software and technology, and even how work gets done. This means that companies must have the infrastructure to define success, measure progress, and identify areas for improvement.
Hybrid work doesn’t mean that measuring progress and highlighting major accomplishments should be put on hold – quite the opposite. Understanding business growth and measuring progress can be a large motivator for employees to feel that they contribute to the bottom line.
2. Model behavior as a leader
For a hybrid model to be effective, leadership must embrace it and model appropriate behavior. The core tenet of hybrid is trust – trust that employees will complete their work regardless of where or when they do it. If a leader chooses to work exclusively in the office and collaborate with others who choose to do the same, for example, they essentially remove the psychological safety net for their teams and instill fear that in-office work will more likely lead to new opportunities and career progression.
Set the right tone by balancing your own work hours and locations, highlighting how a flexible schedule allows you to engage more deeply in personal priorities (such as family, hobby, pets, and travel), and always solve for the remote worker first in collaborative settings.
3. Document and communicate
As more employees are located outside the physical office, the traditional “water-cooler” method of exchanging ideas and information will also transform. According to the 2021 Buffer State of Remote Work, 16 percent of remote workers cite “difficulties with collaboration and communication” as their biggest struggle with remote work. This information isolation can be damaging to your organization’s culture and its ability to work toward its goals.
Develop a documentation-based culture that generates sustainable assets for decisions, roadmaps, and priorities. Go beyond bullets on slides – it is crucial that everyone provides written and/or recorded context for workers who are not in the same room or even time zone, or who don’t share the same native language. Share and reshare links to these assets across multiple channels to ensure that all your employees are informed and aligned.
[ Get exercises and approaches that make disparate teams stronger. Read the digital transformation ebook: Transformation Takes Practice. ]
What to read next
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Keep up with the latest advice and insights from CIOs and IT leaders.