Getting Your Workforce Prepared for the Hybrid Workplace
February 26, 2021 5 min read
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur’s contributors are their own.
In all of the years I’ve been a remote work attorney, one thing has struck me over and over again when talking to remote workers: They almost never want to go back to the office. Recent studies have also shown that only 12% of employees are willing to work full-time in an office in the future.
While it comes with its own set of challenges, it is clear that implementing a hybrid workplace will be essential. It also requires a solid plan to get your team on board before deciding to go back to the office, even if it only goes for a few days a week.
Here are five ways to prepare your team for the move.
Related Topics: How To Support Your Returning Employees
1. Provide guarantees for a safe working environment
Physical safety and stable mental health are the top priorities for most employees. Health hazards are the main difference between the office as we once knew it and the future of the workplace. So going back to the office is obviously a concern.
However, the employees are now aware of these problems. Many of them were already seriously concerned before 2020 when the flu season was upon us. A line can be drawn between a top employer who recognizes employees as the company’s most important asset and an employer whose priorities are elsewhere.
Put together a realistic plan to combat health in the office, including:
Rethink office routes.
Adding more space between desks.
Perform regular health checks on your employees.
Implemented a strict room booking system to avoid overcrowding.
Have people come to the office at different times of the day.
Hold routine meetings using video calls.
Present this plan to your staff before you ask them to return to the office so that they are aware of the new changes and can suggest possible improvements.
2. Put the person at the center of your business
Remote work was challenging enough in the pandemic. In a hybrid environment, these obstacles will only accumulate. In a hybrid workplace, each individual is likely to have trouble getting the schedule to work for them. While work at home is constantly switching between the office and their screens, they may lose focus and motivation.
This can freeze their professional development goals and make them feel like they didn’t achieve everything they wanted by the end of the year. Giving everyone the freedom to create a schedule that suits their needs can prove to be a good first step.
Likewise, the problem of loneliness working from home remains for people who have not yet adjusted. Imposing a strict policy on when people should come to the office doesn’t work for everyone. The few people who feel cramped or have difficulty concentrating at home are better off with flexible decisions that allow them to work with their colleagues from the office, even on a rotation basis.
To find all the hidden problems, talk to your team – each and every person. Anonymous employee feedback surveys or surveys are a good way to get details on sensitive topics that you would otherwise not want to disclose.
3. Ask employees for feedback before making changes
The pre-remote working era was largely dependent on managerial decisions. Employee feedback was not taken seriously by all organizations. Even when they did, surveys were too rarely sent. However, remote working has shown the importance of listening to employees and meeting their needs. In turn, managers have gained relevant insights on how to improve employee satisfaction by simply speaking to employees in their company.
A change within the hybrid office can always have a very negative impact. If you get everyone into the office, half of your team might get sick. If you force them to show up during strict office hours, you will lose them if they leave to better understand employers.
Before you decide on anything, discuss it with everyone. Schedules, work processes, tools, concerns, team collaboration, and independent desires are all aspects that need to be addressed before returning to your office.
4. Paving the way for new restrictions
No matter how strong your hybrid workspace plans are, new limitations are inevitable. So don’t just rely on your office for certain project tasks. Make sure whatever you want to do in the office can be done at home. Prepare a list of guidelines or guidelines, and don’t miss out on a tool that could turn out to be your best line of communication for projects.
At this point, think about your team culture. Have a list of team building activities that your reps can use to video call in the event of a new ban. This is also the perfect time to develop a global talent pool rather than hire locally. Diversity bonus points so you can benefit from new talent and new cultures.
Related Topics: 17 large companies that have announced employees will be able to work remotely in the long term
5. Prioritize transparency and trust
Keep everyone in the loop. Have a document that anyone can access to view your roadmap to the hybrid office. Be completely honest when it comes to not being able to do something. If you can’t promise everyone will enjoy a new collaboration app, let them know. The same goes for any time when you need to cut costs or prepare for a low-selling season.
8 Almost 90% of employees expect CEOs to speak out publicly on new social or local issues. Showing trust and interest in the safety of your employees gives them the peace of mind they need to worry less about the future. Transparency is the key word to hold on to when preparing your team to join a hybrid workplace. Forget that and you are sure to see a sudden drop in your retention rates.