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Hybrid Work Tips for Managers

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Managing a hybrid workforce can pose unique challenges. But when 77% of workers are requesting a hybrid work environment — and 67% are willing to accept lower pay to get it — it’s something you need to consider.

If your business can operate with remote work, offering hybrid options can benefit you in more ways than one. Let’s explore some strategies that will help you lead your hybrid workforce in a manner that fosters productivity and cohesion among all members of the team.

Create the structure that works for you

Create the hybrid working environment that works for you, your business, and your employees. 

First, think about your needs as a manager. How often do you need face-to-face interaction with your team? What are team dynamics, and how will remote working options change those dynamics? Communication can be one of the biggest hurdles when some employees work from home. Think about how to ensure communication lines are kept open so that your remote workers feel connected.

Next, think about whether your business can support a partially remote workforce. Are your existing security measures sufficient? Have your workers been trained in how to keep data secure while working from home and how to work effectively? Also consider the needs of the business. Will you need different hybrid options for certain classes of workers? If so, how will that be communicated and enforced?

Lastly, ask for feedback from your employees. Ask about their preferred hybrid schedule. Are they prepared to perform additional tasks if they work from home, like logging hours or providing performance reports? Will you give employees an option to work 100% remotely (or 100% from the office) if they want to, and can your building support those preferences? 

Keep in mind that your business’s ideal hybrid working split may change over time. As the years go on and your workforce changes, their needs and preferences for remote work might change, as well. Be prepared to alter your plans or adjust expectations.

Provide training on how to work from home effectively

For most employees, working from home is an entirely different experience than working from the office. The distractions, working conditions, workstation needs, communication options, communication preferences, physical environment — everything is different. Help your employees work from home more effectively by providing some of the following training advice.

  • Maintain regular hours. If all employees stick to the same schedule whether they’re at home or in the office, teams will be more cohesive and there will be fewer obstacles to advancing group projects.
  • Create a morning routine. Consistency and routines promote a sense of structure, which often contributes to better time management and increased productivity.
  • Have a separate space for work. It doesn’t have to be an entirely separate room, but establishing an area that’s used exclusively for work will keep your workers focused. 
  • Set ground rules for others in the home. Children, spouses, roommates, neighbors, etc. can distract from your employee’s workday. Encourage them to ask those individuals to respect their working hours.
  • Build a productive workstation. This includes a comfortable chair, good lighting, a monitor that’s at an appropriate height, a high-quality camera and microphone for virtual meetings, etc.
  • Schedule breaks. Breaks have been shown to reduce stress, improve creativity, and prevent burnout. Scheduling breaks also helps workers avoid being distracted by home tasks like laundry, dishes, or cleaning.
  • Socialize when done with work. Fully remote workers are more likely to experience feelings of isolation and loneliness. Create opportunities for more face-to-face interactions (even if those interactions are virtual) and encourage them to get out into their communities.

Avoid proximity bias

Proximity bias is the tendency of managers to favor or prioritize the workers they see and interact with at the office. In fact, over 60% of employees believe that in-office workers are more likely to get promoted or receive raises than their remote-work counterparts.

While it’s human nature to become close with the individuals you say hi to in the hallways or chat with over lunch, it’s important to keep bias out of performance reviews. 

Ensure performance reviews hold all workers to the same metrics

For example, performance based on the amount of time spent in the office or face time spent with clients will favor in-office workers. Consider basing performance on something else, like attaining predefined goals, the quality of outputs and deliverables, or availability for communication.

Boost the visibility of your remote team members

When a remote worker tries to speak up during a meeting, hold the floor for them. Encourage your in-office workers to engage with virtual attendees when possible.

Keep remote workers updated if things change

After virtual attendees sign off of a meeting, it’s common for in-office workers to continue the discussion. If anything changes during this “meeting after the meeting,” be sure to communicate those changes to your remote workers.

Creating a successful hybrid team is achievable

Leaders who successfully manage a team of hybrid workers know that flexibility must be balanced by setting clear expectations, promoting inclusivity, providing training and technology, and nurturing clear communication channels. When you can find that right balance, your team will be happier and more committed, and it will show in their work. If you want to learn more about hybrid work tips for managers with our team, reach out to us today. Carol Hargenrader, Meaden & Moore's Director of Human Resources, would be happy to assist.

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