As the recent report shows, 71% of people prefer to have a hybrid arrangement or work entirely remotely going forward, and at the meantime, 97% of companies are planning for hybrid working. One Size Fits All no longer works for the hybrid workforce, and instead, productivity concern becomes an inevitable problem.
To boost the productivity under a hybrid workforce, business leaders should address the following considerations:
Informal team interactions are the foundation of creative dialogue and collaboration. A simple way to encourage informal discussions amongst hybrid working time and teams includes setting aside 5-10 minutes at the beginning or end of online meetings, encouraging informal discussion about the topic at hand or other challenges.
Encouraging employees to have a one-to-one interactions on a regular basis is a vital component of productive hybrid collaboration. Have employees set aside time each week for a 30-minute discussion with a coworker, stakeholder, or a peer. No agenda is necessary although it’s best to share ideas of what might be discussed.
As we’re once again allowed to gather in a face-to-face environment, schedule quarterly or bi-annual meetings that require remote employees to join in person. There is still no better way to build comradery and trust (the foundation for collaborative discussions) than in a face-to-face environment.
Not all employees will share openly and willingly during larger group discussions. Leaders, therefore, need to set aside time weekly to check in with employees on a one-to-one basis. These informal discussions ensure leaders remain aware of individual challenges and opportunities while allowing them the ability to identify collaboration opportunities.
Team building and strategy meetings are often held offsite for a reason—to avoid distractions. As conditions warrant, returning to bi-annual or even annual offsite meetings is important. It allows for a closer connection amongst employees with fewer distractions.
Even remote employees should spend some time in the office. Depending on distance, this might be one day each week, each month, or each year. Regardless of the frequency, employees who don’t typically work in the office need to spend some time onsite to build relationships and gain an understanding of internal culture.
No doubt the increased popularity of working from home and hybrid work teams are here to stay. The goal for leaders, then, is to purposefully place employees in situations where they will share both their challenges and opportunities while building comradery and trust. Encourage dialogue, unsolicited feedback, and open idea-sharing. No filters and no formality. This is the key to collaboration for the hybrid workforce in a post-COVID world.