As more and more workplaces are transitioning from a completely remote work model to a hybrid work environment, we know a lot of leaders are scrambling to figure out the best way to operate this way. Operating entirely in person or fully remote is one thing. But often, a combination of these two options comes with unique challenges. That’s not to say companies can’t overcome these challenges, though!
The Appeal of Hybrid Work Environments
In fact, a hybrid work environment is appealing for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s a big draw for attracting new talent. Employees appreciate the flexibility, and it also helps your business save money on office space.
But with all of that in mind, we recently spoke to industry leaders about their best practices for hybrid work environments. We wanted to know what works and what doesn’t. We were also curious about the tools they use to keep remote and in-person team members connected.
Industry Leaders Share Their Best Practices for Hybrid Work Environments
Here’s what we found out.
Uninterrupted Time Off
First, we heard from Matt Spiegel, Founder & CEO of Lawmatics, an attorney-client relationship management platform that aims to help law firms improve client interactions through an efficient and automated system:
“From my experience as a CEO whose team both works from home and in-person, I think what worked for us in continuing to be engaged and connected would be having uninterrupted time off during the weekends. At our company, we try to make it a point to achieve a work-life balance for all our workers and so, we very much value having time for ourselves and family after the work week. By being able to recuperate without being disturbed by work for two days, my employees and I are able to become more productive in the work week.
As for what didn’t work in keeping hybrid work employees engaged and connected, my company didn’t respond well to attending virtual meetings dedicated to checking in on their wellbeing and mental health. The virtual meetings, as they say, did just eat up the time intended for self-care and family, and so we just stuck to the uninterrupted time off on weekends.”
Task Management without Micromanagement
Next, we heard from Tony Grenier, the CEO OF Instrumental Global:
“A good task management system is the key. My employees don’t see each other that much because we have to limit face-to-face interactions as much as possible. They may have the same shift but may not even see each other in the office.
Hence, the importance of the task management system. Even if your employees fail to talk to each other, if they can see the progress of each task and can comment on it, then the workflow will continue smoothly. This method will also allow your employees to feel connected with each other without actually seeing each other.
Aside from that, you’d also have to invest in licensed communication software so the communication among the members of your company. Just remember to use the platform to properly communicate with everyone, not micromanage your employees. Micromanaging them may do more harm than good as some employees may feel very stressed with that management style.”
3 Key Insights
Jon Hill, the Chairman & CEO of The Energists then shares several helpful insights for what works for his company’s hybrid work environment:
- Act like everyone’s a remote worker in communication policies for hybrid teams: True collaboration means giving every team member equal access to information and equal input to conversations. This can’t happen if the in-person part of the team interacts more than they do with their remote counterparts. Make sure remote workers are “Zoomed in” for all collaboration sessions, and encourage the use of email or other text-based formats for sharing key information, rather than face-to-face chats or physical memos posted in the office.
- Use one-on-ones to give feedback to all-remote or mostly-remote workers: There are more opportunities for in-office workers to receive “casual feedback” from managers throughout their week—e.g. the boss stops by their desk to check up on their work or offer a suggestion. This is more difficult to do with remote workers. Having managers schedule one-on-ones with remote workers on at least a monthly basis helps make sure remote workers aren’t being forgotten or left behind.
- Utilize digital HR portals and feedback apps: Employees who spend less time in the office don’t have as much access to the physical HR department. Self-serve portals for things like PTO requests, benefit use, or reporting workplace issues can equalize employee access, and can also help make your HR department more efficient.
Engage the Whole Team
Finally, we spoke to Jeremy Yamaguchi, the CEO of Lawn Love.
Here’s what he had to say:
“My biggest tip for [hybrid work] is to avoid exclusive meetings as much as possible. It may be tempting to keep in-person and remote meetings separate. But this creates a sharp divide between workers who happen to be at the office at any given time. Remote workers feel like they’re getting information secondhand when this is the case. It doesn’t help to just buzz them in virtually to an in-person meeting, either. Just have everyone hop on Zoom or your video call software of choice and conduct the meeting that way.”
Did you learn a lot about hybrid work in this post? Well, you’re in luck! We had such an overwhelming response to this topic that we’re breaking it up into two posts. So, stay tuned for part two of this series. We’ll share even more insights about hybrid work environments you won’t want to miss.
Check back soon!