In a world which is gradually adjusting after the COVID-19 lockdown, one of the only certainties that we can have is that this will have a lasting impact on how people work from now onwards.
Employees will have to adjust to a new set of realities in the workplace and employers will have to keep up with the constant changes that are taking place, in order to make the most of the potential of its workers.
Experts suggest that this could involve a combination of short-term quick fixes aimed at boosting worker's confidence, reducing the number of staff in the office at any one time and longer-term design upgrades and modifications that put security and hygiene at the heart of workplace planning.
48% of business leaders say their top concerns over returning to business as usual are health and safety.
26% of business leaders think their organization's “new normal” will mean more employees working from home.
25% of business leaders say the biggest challenge to working remotely is productivity and motivation. That was followed by 24% who said connectivity with coworkers and 19% home-office setups.
48% of business leaders think technology spending at their company will increase because of the pandemic.
Now is the time, as one reimagine the postpandemic organisation, to pay careful attention to the effect of the choices on organisational norms and culture.
Focus on the ties that bind people together. Pay heed to core aspects of your own leadership and that of your broader group of leaders and managers. Take the opportunity to fashion the hybrid virtual model that best fits your company, enabling a new shared culture for all your employees that provides stability, social cohesion, identity, and belonging, whether your employees are working remotely, on premises, or in some combination of both.
Being a leader in a hybrid model where some of your workers are working from home and others on the company can be quite challenging because what works for one side, may not work for the other. Remote workers sometimes feel left out, and it becomes more difficult to feel the connection to the company’s values and goals. To make sure this doesn’t happen, leaders will need to “show up” differently as they are interacting with some employees face-to-face and others virtually.
Leaders of hybrid teams need to have clear guidelines in place to avoid miscommunication and employee exhaustion amongst the team. It’s important the set them early, so employees know what is expected of them and the processes to follow if those expectations cannot be met. It is also important to regularly revisit and update these goals if needed.
Be more inspirational.
On remote teams the hierarchal leadership isn’t the best choice because you don’t have that face-to-face feedback. The dispersed employees working remotely, need a new leadership behaviour to compensate to the lack of emotion that are typical of digital channels.
Make communication and feedback a core part of your leadership style.
Be sure to ask employee questions at your weekly check-ins and more importantly, be open to feedback. Encourage both vertical and horizontal conversations as well as off-topic conversations amongst employees.
Track your informal networks.
One of the disadvantages of the hybrid virtual model is that it reduces face-to-face interaction and the serendipitous encounters that occur between co-workers, that sometimes lead to amazing outcomes. So, it’s important to leaders to map and monitor the informal networks in their organization with semimanual refreshes of social-network maps, in order to track your informal networks. This way, you can create connections between groups that do not naturally interact or that now interact less frequently as a result of the hybrid virtual model.
In the end, it’s crucial to adopt new norms and change the way we work if we are to maintain and improve productivity, collaboration, and innovation.