Three years after the COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid workplaces have become long-term strategies rather than short-term solutions. In that time, employers have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to remote and hybrid teams.
Here's how to make the most of your hybrid workplaces.
1. Create a communication plan.
Skillful, frequent, and clear communication is important for the success of any workplace, but it is crucial for hybrid and remote staff. Otherwise, productivity and employee engagement could suffer. However, 2018 research from Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. shows that as much as 60% of companies lack a long-term internal communication strategy.
Make sure you create a set of communication standards that apply to all team members. This may include:
- Identifying your communication goals and current shortcomings;
- Determining your audience, and who needs to receive which communications;
- Choosing your communication tools and channels, including discarding outdated methods;
- Knowing how often you will communicate; and
- Soliciting feedback from employees to understand what already works and where you should focus on improving.
2. Consider a leadership role for remote.
With the growth in remote work in recent years, many organizations are creating executive leadership positions focused solely on the efficient running of remote teams. This “Head of Remote” role is meant to ensure that remote workers have healthy, effective workspaces, and to maintain communication to help off-site employees achieve success and a sense of belonging. These leaders serve as advocates for remote and hybrid workers.
You can look for a candidate with a history of remote work and managing teams. Seek out a leader with communication expertise, who is knowledgeable about the unique needs of remote workers. Alternatively, you can appoint a leader from within and hire a remote consultant to train him or her in the role.
3. Put qualifications over location.
One of the best things about hiring remote employees is that you are not limited to a specific location to find the most qualified candidates. Instead, you can focus on whether they have the necessary skills and experience. This can help reduce costs, boost competitiveness, and ensure a more diverse team.
This may call for some changes to your hiring practices. For example, all hybrid position interviews should be conducted virtually. Social media can become an important recruitment tool for finding candidates across the country or globe. Also, make sure you conduct the appropriate background checks with remote candidates.
4. Partner HR and IT.
When it comes to managing hybrid teams, your HR and IT departments are natural allies. HR should understand what digital tools your hybrid employees need for optimal productivity and engagement. IT can help implement those tools and ensure they are functional for all team members. IT and HR can also partner up to train remote employees on cybersecurity, to help keep company data secure when accessed from a variety of devices and locations.
5. Define success for hybrid workers.
Onsite, face-to-face employees tend to get more attention and recognition from leadership. As a result, remote or hybrid employees may be passed up for promotions and other development opportunities. Create definitions, standards, and goals for employee success and make sure they are feasible for in-person and remote workers. Set specific guidelines for hybrid employees that account for their unique needs, schedules, tools, and work environment.
Likewise, make sure all employees have opportunities for improvement and to connect with their colleagues. Encourage a sense of purpose among all employees, making sure they understand the importance of their roles within the organization.
Managing a hybrid staff may continue to be a challenge for many companies. From hiring practices to ongoing management, following best practices will ensure a smooth experience and better productivity from your team.