The era of hybrid work is officially here.
Do you have the right hybrid working model?
During the Covid-19 pandemic, work-from-home initiatives skyrocketed, as companies looked for ways to keep teams as productive as possible in a socially-distanced world. Despite the rollout of vaccinations and the gradual relaxing of social distancing guidelines, remote work won’t be going anywhere.
Instead, experts agree that we’ll be switching to a hybrid work model and 82% of company leaders are planning to allow teams to work remotely some of the time. More flexible schedules will soon become the norm, and we’ll all have to get used to the concept of having people moving in and out of the office for different tasks.
The question is, how do companies prepare for this new landscape?
A good hybrid working strategy doesn’t just mean giving teams the right technology. When it comes to hybrid working, companies will need to ensure they’re empowering their teams with a people-first approach.
What is a Hybrid Working Model?
For a lot of companies, a solid ’hybrid working‘ meaning can be difficult to define. Some businesses believe unlocking hybrid working advantages means allowing a portion of employees to work from home, while a portion comes to the office full-time. Others think that everyone in the team should be able to divide their time between working from home and coming into the office.
However you define your hybrid working model, you’re going to need a plan. Today’s flexible teams need access to the right combination of technology, tools, and support to thrive in this new landscape.
Rolling out a cloud-based environment for productivity, communication, and collaboration is a good first step, but it’s also important to help your employees feel consistently engaged, and like they’re part of the team, with a people-first approach.
Remember, happy and well-supported employees are up to 13% more productive.
So, how do you create a people-first hybrid work model?
Step 1: Invest in the Right Technology
First, you’re going to need the correct technology to empower hybrid workers in the new remote work landscape. Contact centre agents working from home should have access to the same intelligent routing tools, connected dashboards, and recording features as people in the office. This is crucial not just for your employees’ productivity and satisfaction, but for compliance reasons too.
Figuring out what you need for hybrid working post Covid-19, means starting with a careful evaluation of your workforce. Think about how you’re going to be running your company, and what sort of tools you are going to need to remain aligned on all environments. Some options might include:
- CCaaS: Contact Centre as a Service tools will keep your cloud contact centre agents aligned in the same environment regardless of where they are. The right tools should come with a unified back end for managing multiple channels.
- Collaboration: Collaborative tools will keep your team members on the same page when they’re not working in the same space. Encourage a constant stream of communication between in-office and remote workers.
- Analytics: Analytics solutions give your employees an insight into their performance, keeping them motivated when they’re away from the office. The same technology can also give business leaders a critical insight into team performance and call quality.
It’s worth speaking to your employees about any additional tools they might need too. Your employees can tell you which helpful tools they already use in the workplace, which they may need to take with them into the WFH environment.
Step 2: Empower Constant Communication
Communication is crucial for a workplace which puts people first. As the hybrid workforce emerges, it’s important to ensure that your in-office and remote employees can stay on the same page wherever they are. In some cases, a hybrid working model might include having some team members working remotely more than others.
Hybrid working policy examples can often be adapted to suit different kinds of employee. This means that administrative professionals may spend more time working at home. Other hands-on team members, such as engineers, might need a different hybrid working definition because they’re more likely to be required on-site.
Keeping teams connected through a range of communication options will stop you from noticing gaps and silos between your staff members. This should reduce issues with isolation, and improve employee wellbeing. Look into options like instant chat, SMS and messaging for people who need to stay in touch. Audio and video conferencing will be ideal for more significant conversations.
If you’re running a hybrid team, it’s also worth making sure that all major meetings and announcements are digital, so nobody misses out on important information.
Keep an eye out to see which of your communication methods your employees use most, so you know what to offer when it comes to large group meetings.
Step 3: Focus on Transparency and Information
If there’s one thing all employees wanted more of in 2020, it was transparency from their team leaders. The pandemic placed a lot of people in a stressful place, where they were never sure what the next day might bring. As we move forward to a new age of hybrid work, a people-first hybrid working model will need to focus on keeping people empowered and informed.
Dashboards where your employees can track real-time metrics and analytics, represent one of the most valuable ways to keep remote and in-person teams motivated. These analytics dashboards serve a number of benefits by:
- Showing business leaders where employees need help: When supervisors and managers can see employees struggling, they can jump in to offer the right assistance. This reduces the risk of losing customers and keeps employees from going through stressful situations.
- Engaging employees on all levels: All remote and in-office employees can track their performance in the context of their team, which is excellent for ongoing motivation and inspiration. People will also see how their work contributes to the performance of the team.
- Providing information: Dashboards offer valuable information on the processes of the business, and how well efforts are going in the organisation. You can even use dashboards to send motivational messages and alerts to employees to help them feel like they’re never out of the loop.
Always be ready to answer questions for your team members too, like “what is a hybrid work schedule” and how they can alter theirs. You could even have an FAQ page for people who want to answer the question, “How do you manage hybrid work?”
Step 4: Focus on Safety and Wellbeing
Customers and employees alike are going to be looking to business leaders to demonstrate they want to actually look after their team members. Following the pandemic, companies need to double-down on their commitment to their team members, by taking extra precautions with things like social distancing, hygiene management and even giving employees time off when they need it.
In the office environment, companies can take extra steps to protect their employees by creating touch-free displays to show valuable metrics and allowing users to bring their own devices into the office. Simply choosing a hybrid model of partnership working can be enough to make an office safer too, as it reduces the number of employees in a specific environment.
For remote employees, think about how you can encourage good health, by sending regular newsletter emails, and announcements that encourage team members to eat well, exercise regularly, and take breaks from their workstation. An employer with a commitment to emotional wellbeing will also be in high demand today, as many employers are likely to feel some stress about their new situation.
Keep the finger on the pulse of your team’s sentiment with regular meetings and encourage people to get back to you with feedback on how they feel about their hybrid working environment. Regular polls, surveys, and questionnaires should help you to determine what’s working for your team.
You can also keep an eye on the real-time dashboards in your workplace, for an overview into how employee productivity, efficiency, and performance responds to different factors.
Prepare the Right Hybrid Working Model
Hybrid working will be the new normal for most companies as we move into the post-pandemic age. Fail to get your hybrid strategy right and you risk losing the engagement and commitment of your team. Remember, to master the right hybrid working strategy, you need more than just the right technology – you need to put your people first.