The pandemic crisis has resulted in a significant shift in the ways of working, necessitating business leaders to adapt to the ‘Blended’ or ‘Hybrid’ model. Some also term this as the ‘Flexible’ working. Well, this concept evolved as a result of some employees working from the office and a majority working remotely. The idea of remote work is not novel, however in the wake of the pandemic, this is becoming the norm.
Business leaders need to focus on various aspects while considering the ideology of Hybrid work. Let’s explore some of these.
Embrace the idea of Hybrid work
The current situation mandates the proposition for adopting a hybrid work culture. That said, the first step for the business leaders is to ingrain the idea and shift their mindsets towards this changing norm. It is only when we recognize the problem and acknowledge it, we work towards resolving it.
Flexible working would continue and businesses have to be mentally prepared for the relevant adjustments. Companies may need to revisit their policies with regard to hiring, leaves and such. Working remotely should be made feasible for those employees who prefer this option, providing them necessary software, tools etc. for collaboration, communication and a hassle-free experience.
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Ensure a continuous connect with your employees
Quite often, in these ‘one of its kind’ scenarios, wherein employees and employers are geographically separated for a significant time, if not always, employees may tend to feel uncertain about their future. The concerns of employees, if not addressed at the right time could result in the organization losing its rich talent.
That said, it is imperative on the part of employers and leaders to ensure there are regular connects and discussion forums/virtual meetings to foster effective employee engagement. One suggestion in this regard would be to make use of feedback tools or pulse surveys on a periodic basis and monitor the insights. Measuring and maintaining a rewarding employee experience at all times is very crucial.
Adopt a flexible workforce model, in case you haven’t yet done it
The evolution of hybrid work has paved the way for incorporating a flexible workforce model – meaning the gig economy. Most employees in this situation feel themselves overstressed, when working remotely. This is the right time for HR leaders to revisit their hiring policies and workforce structure. In a gig model, your focus shifts to freelancers, contractors, seasonal workers, temporary staff and more, besides the usual full-time/salaried employees. Plan to restructure your workforce in a way that would keep your employees happy and optimize your revenues as well.
Focus on employee work-life balance
Employee well-being is a vital parameter for employee performance. Stressed out employees are unhappy employees and would soon exit. To avoid such situations, particularly in an environment of hybrid work, leaders must lay emphasis on employee work-life balance. Employee wellness programs should be chalked out and health insurance options must be considered.
Invest in employee learning & development
Young employees, in the age group 18-25, referred as Gen Z, are just starting their careers. They are highly efficient, intelligent, energetic and innovative people. However, working remotely, which in a way results in isolation from peers and supervisors could make them feel distressed and demotivated. The young workforce is always on the lookout to enhance their skills and grow in their career. Leaders must revamp their learning and development strategies and offer learning and professional certification programs to these young generations to enhance their morale, drive the fear off their minds of their skills becoming obsolete and increase employee retention.
Establish a connect between virtual and physical worlds
Recent studies and observations indicate that while there is a growing usage and popularity of virtual meeting tools such as Microsoft teams or Google Meet, however, the majority of the conversations are restricted to professional networks. Most employees are kind of immersed only in their office work, and people hardly have interactions with someone outside the professional community. This could lead to a situation where there is an impasse or an insulation and there is no exchange of ideas, resulting in lack of innovation. Leaders must focus on helping the teams bridge the gap between virtual and physical worlds by investing in technology and spaces.
Create diverse work teams
Organizations must focus on building high-performing, productive and diverse teams. The pandemic has in a way led to the idea of being geographically apart, yet working towards a common objective. Employees need not have to be at the office desk always, rather they could complete their work from any location – home, a hotel or anywhere. We are no longer bound by space and time. That said, leaders must utilize the ideology to create diverse groups which are directed towards a common goal.
The philosophy of hybrid work is evolving but looks like it will stay forever. Business leaders must embrace this idea, ensure that they are continuously connected to their employees, focus on employee wellness and work-life balance, adopt a gig model, invest in employee learning, establish a connect between virtual and physical worlds and finally, focus on creating diverse talented working teams.