by Charles Aris Executive Search
As organizations begin to reassess the decision to go back to the office, employees are wondering what the future holds for the workplace and what it means for them. For many, working remotely – whether it be from home or anywhere else outside the office – is the ideal choice. For some, the days of rush-hour commutes and the hassle of balancing work and personal needs may be long gone. For others, a workplace is needed to boost productivity and mental health.
To balance the needs of employees, many organizations are reverting to a hybrid model – where some employees are located in the office and others are doing their jobs remotely. While this model better meets the varying needs of employees, it presents questions for how team members will be able to reconcile the two different environments. Luckily, there are several practices that can be put into place to ensure all employees are in sync and fairness and flexibility are present across the board.
Make sure every employee has a seat at the table, regardless of where they’re sitting. Require all team meetings to be conducted via video call (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, etc.). Ensuring everyone is present in the same way helps level the playing field and prevents remote employees from feeling excluded. If team members are discussing an issue in the office, call remote employees to get their input.
Lay out expectations
Situations and schedules change. Before shifting to a hybrid model, make sure it’s clear what communication channel team members will use for what purpose. Know who needs to be in which meetings and who is responsible for what tasks and information. Make sure you let your team members know what days you plan to be remote and in the office, or if that schedule has to be adjusted.
Provide collaborative meeting spaces
The hybrid workplace requires executives to rethink how their office is set up. With some team members working remotely, there is an increased need for smaller and more collaborative meeting spaces. Remote employees are just as important to keep in mind as those who are in-person. Conference rooms will need to have enough space for employees to spread out while also providing requisite equipment to connect remote individuals. Instead of individualized cubicles, an increased number of collaborative spaces could be considered to make the most of the office with fewer employees filling the space.
Continue investing in remote work
Remote employees are still part of the team and need to feel as such. As the organization’s budget allows, make sure employees are equipped with the necessary supplies they would normally have access to when in the office. Keep the company culture alive by planning virtual events! This will enable remote and in-person employees to feel socially connected even if they aren’t physically. Virtual happy hours or scavenger hunts are always a hit!
Prioritize employee health
You want your employees to be happy and healthy. Maintain policies that prioritize the physical and mental health of everyone. Encourage employees to work remotely or rest if they are feeling ill and ensure the workplace is as safe as possible.
Maintaining a hybrid workplace is possible, and with these practices you’ll be well on your way to an office environment that’s best suited for everyone.