22 Mar 5 Effective Ways to Manage a Hybrid Workforce
More companies are facing a new and unpredictable challenge: a hybrid workforce, in which some employees work from home while others are in the office. Further complicating matters, some offices might even have a rotation policy in place, where a portion of the workforce is always in or out of the office on a scheduled basis.
Is it possible to keep workers on the same team but sitting in multiple locations on the same page and working as efficiently as possible?
Here are some pointers for managing your hybrid workforce without unraveling the team.
1. Focus on outcomes.
It might be very tempting to give up a little bit of the managerial oversight most offices expect. Resist the urge to micromanage to try and keep everyone on task! Boost your team’s confidence and give them the space to do their jobs in the way that works best for them by focusing on the outcomes of their work, not necessarily on how every moment of the workday is allocated and accounted for.
2. Find meaningful ways to stay connected and in touch.
Remember when Skype was just for meeting with out-of-town clients and partners? Social media, video calls, chat systems, and file-sharing programs can make it incredibly easy to reach people in seconds, improve collaboration and mimic working in the same physical space while the team is dispersed. Plus, most people enjoy a funny gif or video from time to time, and programs like Webex, Microsoft Teams, and Slack have those functions built right in.
3. Be flexible and empathetic.
Odds are, most people have never had to work from home for long durations of time before. This is a whole new dynamic. There’s technology to adjust to, a new time management system to figure out, distractions to tune out, and concern about making everyone happy while possibly juggling other demands. As a manager, do what you can to be supportive and sympathetic. If someone is struggling, even if they don’t ask for help, try to lend a hand or offer friendly guidance. Everyone is stressed out about the changes we’ve seen over the past year; everyone needs a little room to breathe and a pat on the back just for continuing to move forward. When possible, allow a little wiggle room on deadlines if needed. Your team will appreciate the compassionate leadership.
4. Provide the needed tools and resources to be successful.
Do your remote workers have all the tools they need? Do they have reliable WiFi? Headsets or microphones for calls and presentations? Do they have the software and hardware they need to be as productive at home as in the office? Make a regular habit of asking whether everyone’s computers are working properly if anyone needs any equipment they could normally access in the office but can’t seem to function as well without at home. Employees might be hesitant to speak up in fear of feeling like a problem or complainer; asking if there are problems alleviates that guilt.
5. Manage expectations.
If your team is now split up into multiple locations, things will be different. Full stop. You can still be productive and successful! It just won’t be the same. Encourage your team to find ways to be as productive as possible and find ways to communicate with you and each other that help mitigates the lost camaraderie of being in the office together. But remind people that while they’re not physically together, they’re still on the same team, still working toward the same goals, still sharing the same vision, and everyone is still just as important, if not moreso, despite not being in the same room.
A survey found that most executives believe remote working is here to stay, even after the safety protocols put in place around the COVID-19 pandemic begin to fade away. The majority of workers in the U.S. became telecommuters regularly in the past year. Even if your team eventually comes back in the house, having the flexibility to offer some remote work options could benefit workers who developed good habits and found their groove while remote. The companies and offices that adapt best to these unusual times are the ones built to succeed.
Looking for More Management Advice?
For more advice on successfully managing and overseeing a hybrid office of telework and in-house employees, contact LeadingEdge Personnel. We can also help you find new employees to boost your team’s existing strengths and talents! Contact LeadingEdge today, and let’s get to work.