How to Build a Hybrid Workforce
By now you’ve seen and heard a lot about the hybrid workforce that is destined to be part of the new World of Work for the foreseeable future. As we get closer to a vaccine and the end of the pandemic, it’s unlikely that you will go back entirely to the old way of doing things altogether. So what should you be doing to facilitate the safe transition to a hybrid workforce in your organization? Although the prospect offers many advantages, it also comes with complications and difficulties that you should be preparing for now.
“Building a functional hybrid workforce is crucial to 2021 & beyond,” says Mark Angott, President of Angott Search Group. “While the pandemic forced employees to work strictly from home, there are many who miss the drive into the office along with interacting safely with co-workers, and there are others who want to continue working remotely because they genuinely enjoy that flexibility” notes Angott. We offer some advice on navigating the hybrid transition with the least amount of disruption:
Start with your leadership team. Will they work from the office, remotely, or both? “I personally believe that most companies find it most beneficial to have their leaders work in the office at least part of the time,” says Angott. Be sure to work out a a plan for the management team and communicate that plan to the office to avoid any confusion as to where you will be working.
Reevaluate your team structure. Determine what employees must be safely remain on-site for necessary functional purposes. For the rest of the staff, discuss who will continue working remotely full-time and which employees will work partly from the office and from home. Again, re-enforce communication to the team where employees will be located. While these decisions are also driven by the nature of the individual role, it is also advisable to factor in personal preferences whenever possible. “Remember, people will possibly change their minds or need to change their work location based on circumstances out of their control.” notes Angott. Determine how strictly you need employees to follow a specific working style, and communicate this in advance.
Confirm your communication platforms. The pandemic has already forced most companies to beef up digital communication and enhance their collaboration tools. Going to a hybrid workforce means that technology will continue to evolve to meet employee and employer needs. Determine how your communication frameworks need to change to reflect your new team structures and to ensure employees don’t fall out of the loop or burn out from the pressure of being “always on.” Your IT folks will also need an infrastructure that enables them to manage a remote workforce. This can include increasing cloud storage for more remote storage, enhancing security solutions to manage cyber threats, and implementing remote IT solutions to troubleshoot employee tech issues remotely.
Monitor your allocation of tasks. If your hybrid workforce is going to remain productive long-term, you have to ensure that tasks are spread evenly and fairly across both in-office and remote teams. “The boundaries between personal and professional life are fuzzy now and you need to consistently conduct regular employee-manager check-ins, recognize employees for their hard work, and promote paid time off.”
Be wary of favoritism. Not only can a hybrid workforce lead to imbalance workloads, it can also lend itself to favoritism. “As a leader, you are in charge of proactively including your remote team in as well. In our office, we have virtual contests, games and happy hours so that our remote employees feel included.”
The pandemic has abruptly thrust many companies into this hybrid situation, and while some have seen this time as a growth opportunity, others floundering. Those companies that can adapt to the current circumstances with resiliency and flexibility are most like to outstrip their competition in our new World of Work.
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