Pandemic made a shift in how we work. As the world begins to emerge from an unprecedented time, what lessons have we learned? For some companies, allowing their employees to continue to work from home, at least part-time, may increase morale, decrease requests for days off, and higher productivity.
In a recent study done by Pew Research, 54% of those asked “would want to work from home after the coronavirus outbreak ends.” While working from home 100% of the time may not be feasible forever, the future is looking more and more like it will include more of a hybrid work schedule—a balanced combination of both at home and the office work weeks.
What does a hybrid schedule look like?
There are many different specifics to this “hybrid” idea. You can customize it however it works best for everyone involved. But, breaking it down means commuting to the office for part of the week and spending the rest of their week working remotely.
Meetings and collaborations are most commonly scheduled on the days’ everyones’ in the office. Honest communication between all parties is the critical factor in creating a realistic and workable schedule. Each department and team can, through trial and error, figure out what works best.
Just like everything in life, there are pros and cons. Being aware of each and learning the best ways to cope with them will get your team to a successful start.
Increased Productivity – When people feel in control of their time, and schedule it often results in increased productivity.
Lowered Costs – Lowering costs can come in small forms, from office supplies to break room snacks. Or even higher rent costs of less office space is needed.
Increased Morale – When you no longer have to worry about fitting in your dentist appointments without using a day off or being able to take your kids to school in the morning, morale increases.
Burn Out – When working from home, it can be easy not to stop working. There is no bell at 5 pm to send everyone home. This overworking habit can lead to work burnout, which can turn into much larger problems.
Employee Isolation – People need people. It is part of our DNA. Those chats with your co-workers while eating lunch, having people ask how you are doing are tremendously important to our well-being.
Collaboration Times – There is something about a great brainstorming session that a video conference can’t replace. These can be lost, along with the great idea they create.
Great managing is an act of coaching, not one of directing and administrating.
Tips to Making it Work
Beyond knowing the pros and cons of hybrid work and addressing what works and what doesn’t, there are three easy ways to improve how it all world for you and your employees.
Before anyone moves to a Hybrid work schedule, there has to be an honest conversation about accountability. Precise definitions of the expectations and a tracking method are the essential first step. The responsibility of accountability lies on both the employee and the manager.
As an employee, setting goals and learning how to work them into your daily work schedule is critical. Understanding yourself, your schedule, and your work ethic will increase your chances of success. Not only will this increase your chance of meeting the set expectations, but it will also keep your clients happy and your managers satisfied.
If you are the manager of hybrid work employees, continued communication will set everyone up for success. Please keep them in the loop about training, work functions, meetings, and available promotions.
Setting a specific and recurring meeting between manager and at-home employees. Managers have a big responsibility to make sure things are working well, expectations are being met, and hybrid or at-home workers are happy.
This study showed that a once-a-week meeting could significantly improve morale and increase productivity. Use this meeting to chat about previously set goals, their progress, setting new goals, and what is needed to be successful.
“Expectations” can be a little bit of a daunting word. Set them too high, and people worry they will never reach them. Set them to low and get minimal effort from others. It is a tricky balance. This is why great managers are a valuable asset.
When managers take the time to know and understand those they work with, it results in clear expectations that can be set for each individual. What motivates one person may not work for another.
As the world changes, we must learn to adapt to those changes. This may include some form of hybrid work for you or your employees. Get to know each of your team members works and is motivated; the sky is the limit!