Hybrid workforces don’t fail because of an inherent issue with the model itself but a lack of planning and the right systems. Put your team on a path to success with this checklist for hybrid success.
Remote work and hybrid workforces are becoming the preferred mode of working for professionals everywhere. But while many employers may be more than willing to offer this type of work environment, not all companies know how to employ it properly.
To get the most out of a hybrid workforce, you have to establish a solid foundation for your teams and systems. To help you do so, let’s dive into a few key considerations to set your organization up for success.
Your Checklist for Effectively Transitioning to a Hybrid Workplace
Hybrid work models are effective as they allow employees to benefit from in-person support at the office, while also giving them the freedom and peace they need to do efficient work at home.
Hybrid is an attractive option for employers too. It provides flexibility, can help minimize overheads and be positioned as a perk to attract top talent.
That being said, issues can arise if the right systems aren’t implemented. These issues don’t often involve the employees themselves, but how the hybrid workplace has been established. Use the tips in the checklist below to help your team improve productivity in-office and remotely!
1. Clearly Define Your Hybrid Structure
The reality is teams within your organization have different work requirements. So, you can’t establish one hybrid work plan and expect it to be a fit for every department. Instead, focus on developing a hybrid structure that considers the unique functions of each team.
For example, your marketing team may only need to meet in-house one or two days throughout the week to sync, and then can spend the rest of the week working from home. Meanwhile, your IT team may need to spend far more time in-house because of their hands-on technical tasks.
When building your hybrid structure, seek the input of team leaders. Start by asking what the ideal structure would look like for their responsibilities, employees and managerial preferences. Then create a team-level hybrid structure to match.
Remember, once you have a hybrid structure in place, it isn’t permanent. Continuously assess the success of your hybrid structure based on productivity, happiness and logistics. Then, adjust accordingly on a routine basis -- without going overboard and causing disruption.
2. Get Your Tech Systems in Place
In a hybrid workforce, tech is crucial to your organization’s ability to communicate, manage and maintain productivity. The switch to a hybrid workforce can introduce challenges that require you to change the technology you use to approach work. When you’re looking to develop new systems to accommodate your entire workforce, focus on the following:
- Assess tools you currently use in your workforce to determine whether or not they’ll be suitable in a hybrid setting or will need to be replaced
- Identify new stress points that may be created by your new hybrid work model and seek out tools that address these issues
- Institute robust systems for communication to provide comprehensive support for teams regardless of where they’re working from
- Streamline your tech stack by making sure there is just a single tool used for each function of your team. For example, one tool for productivity that’s used by all departments.
- Prioritize productivity using tools like small business productivity apps to see insights like productivity per hour worked.
Of course, tech encompasses far more than just the software solutions you rely on to run your organization with ease.
Your tech-focused calculations should also take into account the likely increased use of personal devices in your new hybrid setup. Increased reliance on personal devices requires increased attention to data security and compliance.
In short, planning the tech for your hybrid team is a balancing act that requires careful thought from your I.T. Whatever stack you eventually choose, be sure to provide the tools needed for team members to work productively, without overcomplicating things with overly complex systems.
3. Have a Plan for Engagement
When employees become less physically connected, there is a potential risk of greater disengagement.
For all it’s recited shortcomings, one undeniable positive of office-based work is the face-to-face engagement it fosters. From training new employees, daily interactions, to social events, the engagement that largely happens naturally in the office helps silently increase productivity in business
Without extra attention, this engagement can be lost in a hybrid environment.
So how do you replicate engagement when your team is split between home and the office? Well, it starts with having a purposeful plan for engagement.
The foundations of an effective engagement plan can include:
- Establishing a regular meeting schedule to discuss new developments and answer employee questions
- Planning team building days to foster collaboration and to help develop a stronger connection between teammates
- Tackling the most difficult aspects of a project during scheduled in-office days so that employees can get more productivity per hour worked when they tackle work at home
A solid plan for engagement gives employees the support they need to thrive in-office and out-of-office. If you’re looking to increase productivity of employees while switching to a hybrid environment, be sure to implement a plan for engagement, starting with the tips above!
4. Make Things Equal for All Employees
In a hybrid team, there is a risk that office-based employees get -- or are perceived to get -- access to more opportunities than their remote counterparts. This can be more opportunities for promotion, recognition or even first-choice for the projects they work on.
To ensure that your workplace doesn’t prove this belief, it’s important that you place extra attention on providing everyone equal access to opportunities -- in and out of the office.
But how can your organization ensure equality for everyone across the board? One way to do this is to establish recognition programs. Recognition programs serve to define standards of performance and reward employees who meet and exceed these standards.
In order to make the most of these programs, you must look for small business productivity apps that will support your endeavors. The right productivity tools and apps will give you crucial insight into the performance of every employee, helping you establish an objective recognition program.
You can also implement a productivity improvement program to help support equality within your team. This kind of program will help all employees operate with the same support and resources so all employees, regardless of their location.
5. Obsess Over Security and Privacy
Operating solely in the office means having greater control over the security of your data and the technology used for work. Adding remote work into the mix can complicate things when items like personal devices are used to access organizational data.
It’s essential that you consider these points when you shift to a hybrid workplace. Institute policies and software that protect your data and prevent malicious third parties from easily accessing your organization’s private information. This can mean preventing the use of personal devices entirely, or having employees install security-focused software to protect their computers.
Security goes beyond installing the anti-virus software. Opt for software that has enterprise-grade security features, use virtual private networks (VPNs), institute multi-factor authentication and consider private networks to keep company data safe.
Half the battle lies in the tech you use. But it’s important to educate your employees about best practices when working on their own devices so inadvertent data breaches are prevented.
Whether you choose to take a zero trust approach or allow employees to bring their own devices, creating a proper security strategy is crucial to the safety of your organization's data.
6. Plan at Least a Couple of In-Person Events Each Year
In-person events allow employees to foster relationships that improve their overall work and make collaboration seamless. Additionally, in-person events can boost company morale, celebrate employees for their hard work, and allow everyone to get to know each other better.
Plan at least one or two in-person events a year to reap these benefits. You can also throw virtual events along the way to achieve a similar effect if you want!
7. Get Feedback From Your Employees
The people who your hybrid workforce structure will most impact are your employees. Before finalizing the design of your hybrid structure, reach out to them for input on your proposed hybrid plans.
Be sure to continue to solicit feedback from your team once your hybrid workplace is in motion. This ongoing feedback loop will help refine the way your hybrid team works. You can also combine feedback with performance data from your small business productivity apps.
Based on the feedback you get, provide your team with the additional support and resources they may need to thrive in their new environment. When you work with your employees to create the perfect hybrid workplace, they’ll be far happier to get started.
Now, You’re Ready to Go Hybrid...
Hybrid workplaces take informed planning and well-considered systems. Initially, it can take some calibration. But, the upsides for you and your team are worth it.
So, if you’re making the transition from in-office work to hybrid work, start with the checklist above. Focus on setting up your systems and processes. Give employees the support and resources they need to get more productivity per hour worked. And create a secure system to protect your data.
With all of these methods of improving productivity in place, you’re ready to get the most out of your new hybrid model.