The pandemic has permanently transformed the way we work. Managing a Hybrid Workforce has become the new strategy for many organizations. The sudden shift to remote work that has been a far-fetched idea for most organizations is now one of the mandatory aspects of the modern workplace. This has been possible with the help of modern collaboration tools such as intranet and Microsoft Teams.
Managing a hybrid workforce: Transformation Journey to Remote Work
Contrary to the belief that the lack of super vigilance gives an employee the loopholes to avoid work, the results in terms of productivity and business continuity have constantly been surpassing expectations, pertaining to the minimalistic time that could be utilized to adopt remote work.
Statistics show that the demand for remote employee monitoring tools did see a high rise, but the remote work setup turned out to be equally or up to 90% extra productive for the workforce across the companies.
Challenges of Remote Work
While there have been great benefits associated with the shift to remote work, there emerged many new hurdles for managers to overcome as well. The most significant among them is maintaining strong company culture. Many Team leads are new to managing people working remotely and had to rework their management skills when the traditional management skills turned out to be simply ineffective in a remote setting.
Technically too, the remote workforces face several interruptions while working from home. In fact, a fraction of the employees across the organizations do claim that these interruptions waste almost half of their workdays.
A Better Option: Go for a Hybrid Workforce
The leaders are now quite aware of the business value in bringing in the bests from both remote and in-office work by maintaining a hybrid work environment. While a fraction of the employees might value the real-life in-office interactions, others might be keen on leaving the formal office environment behind and continue with their personalized workspace and casual dress. Moreover, there may be a section of employees who need to balance between in-office and remote work either due to their own choice or due to the nature of their job role. Here’s why opting for a Hybrid workforce turns out to be the best match.
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Managing a Hybrid Workforce
When it comes to managing a hybrid workforce, we need to address the specific problems and concerns that the hybrid teams may face. As you’ll need to manage both in-person individuals and those who choose to work remotely, steps as such need to be planned out accordingly.
Here are tips for how to successfully manage a hybrid workforce:
Create a sense of Equality
Both your remote and in-office employees should be posed with equivalent responsibilities and need to feel that they are treated equally. It is important to have a proper communication channel connecting your in-office employees and your remote employees using SharePoint, intranet, Slack, Microsoft Teams, or other such collaboration platforms.
Make sure these group meetings act as bridging the gaps in your team. While your in-office employees might be concerned that the remote team will be working less due to distractions at home, the remote workers fear their work going unnoticed due to their physical absence. The managers thus need to demonstrate how the remote workers and office team are equally relied upon with major work items.
Build a Cohesive Environment for your Employees
Just because someone is working from home does not mean they are entirely comfortable and the same goes true for in-office employees as well. Regularly check in with both your office team and your remote team about what they have going on. There might be stressful times, and many may have trouble adapting. Meet your office team regularly and be sure to set up virtual meetings to know your remote team as well.
Choose appropriate collaboration software
Communication is key to maintaining a hybrid workforce. If you choose email as the primary mode of communication, turnaround time is bound to be longer. Instead, choose a software, like MS Teams, that allows quick chat or call features and can allow an entire group of people to be updated and collaborated at the same time.
While email communication is often necessary, hybrid workforces usually perform better when they have a workforce software that they can communicate quickly on. Not only does this free up email space, but someone can easily catch up on what they miss when it is all under the specific project-based teams.
Another important thing that can help you manage your team is having pre-set check-in times. Everyone must routinely update their manager on their ongoing tasks to ensure that the projects are timely supervised and things are not being missed due to lack of communication.
Flexibility has been the major highlight for those working remotely. However, if you are managing a hybrid workforce, you need to implement it for your in-office employees as well. They might need their reporting hours adjusted to earlier or later in the day or may occasionally need extra time off, or occasional transition to remote work for a short period of time. Similarly, a remote worker might feel the need to visit the office sometimes. All these requirements must be taken care of as long as they are contributing to the smooth functioning of your team.
Unite your team
There’s always going to be the assumption that those who are working remotely will get less work done than those who are in the office. This can be isolating for the remote workers. The managers need to step in to unite your team. If your remote team and the in-office team have trouble connecting, try doing some virtual team-building exercises. Though it may take away from a day of work, it can help bring some excitement back and help you ward off monotony from your hybrid workforce.
It’s time to rethink…
As more and more organizations are adapting to the modern Digital workplace solutions such as Microsoft365, Google Workspace and Microsoft Teams, it is time to think about investing upon these solutions to bring in better capabilities.
Hybrid Workforces are indeed the future and taking up these simple steps can extensively help your existing as well as upcoming hybrid workforce to excel.