Hybrid working in uncertain times

Ever wondered why your hybrid working approach leaves your employees feeling disengaged? Did you imagine this world of technology and flexibility just flowing better? As with any major change effort within an organisation, it takes ongoing work, review, and communication to help processes go smoothly. 

Despite its challenges, hybrid working brings major advantages such as productivity and flexibility. Additionally, many job candidates cite it as the principal reason for applying for a new role.

The isolation can be harmful. The frequency of online meetings when WFH (working from home) goes up leaving us feeling like we are wedded to our screens. This can be received differently by each employee. Employees respond uniquely to different levels of metaphorical distance between them and their virtual work colleagues. Some will be fulfilled working at a distance for long periods with little communication. Others, however, will prefer to have regular meetings to feel closer to online colleagues. Managers are reminded to be cognisant of this when designing and delegating work.

Digital communication and managing one’s own devices can create difficult demands. Fatigue and a lack of connection can leave employees feeling overwhelmed. Task switching is common and can lead to individuals and teams missing or misinterpreting key communications and tasks.

We advise managers to ask individuals how used to working from home they are. Prior experience is often linked to an individual’s self-belief and, therefore, their confidence to work well remotely in the future. Managers can also encourage self-belief by communicating goals clearly and offering regular support.

Having a routine, communicating this and staying within your boundaries to promote work-life balance can help employees build unique competencies. Skills come with practice; mental resilience arises as an outcome of new experiences.

Check by asking is this working? If not speak to your team and other senior leaders in your organisation. Connect with others, and talk about the good things to come from hybrid working. Plan breaks, sleep well, exercise regularly and eat well. Have a dedicated space if you can or at least during your working hours. Moving spaces can boost creativity. Try a co-working space or arrange to meet a colleague at a neutral location. When you travel to the office make it purposeful with a clear goal in mind.

Final takeaway tips for leaders:

  1. Promote mental and physical well-being to help combat cognitive overload from screens
  2. Make time for quality interactions to help break up any periods of isolation
  3. Designing fully remote or hybrid jobs? Consider every new way of working; don’t ignore things like offering digital skills training and support.

To find out how The Contented Workplace can help you design hybrid strategies and processes that mean better results for your business and customers email hello@thecontentedworkplace.co

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