Ten effective ways to manage hybrid working
Even before the pandemic, many companies were already using hybrid working; it’s been evolving for a while. They recognised the value of enabling their workers to work from home, and employees were able to request flexible working arrangements to help them to balance their home life commitments with their work.
And technology wasn’t just keeping up but speeding forward too, with apps and software created to enable businesses to work in many ways, which didn’t centre on just being physically in an office.
Then, pandemic. Over the last two years, we’ve seen hybrid working being boosted and given its well-deserved position as a serious contender at the table of normal ways of operating in business. And it looks like it’s here to stay. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) released data in June 2021 that showed that 85% of working adults who are homeworking would like hybrid working to carry on post-pandemic, and 24% of businesses intended to use more homeworking going forward. It works, it fits into our lives, it helps us have the balance we so crave, and it recognises that work and home do not exist independently of each other. It’s a new world.
So, here is your new normal. Go.
Except it’s not that simple. The acceleration of homeworking as a normal part of working life isn’t without its challenges.
Suddenly, you find you’ve got a workforce split between locations, and perhaps even split between different working hours and days. You’ve got to manage team whereabouts, you’ve got to manage numbers in the office so that you don’t end up with too many staff in, or indeed too few. You still have a physical office that has to be maintained and health and safety regulations to be adhered to when there are team members present. And that’s before we get to the actual work. Collaboration, ideas generation, business planning; they can’t all happen remotely. There must be a team plan for when and how to bring different teams together in person.
We created Team Today to meet the challenges we realised during our own hybrid working experiences. We want to be part of the solution and we’ve put together 10 ways to manage hybrid working in your business. So, grab a brew, take a seat and have a read.
This is a biggie. To manage hybrid working effectively, you need a plan.
Different team whereabouts is the most visible change with hybrid working and the most visible challenge. Who is working at home? Who do you have in the office? How do you manage that to work in its best way for your business and your team?
Consider your working week. What’s on the agenda? Are there projects that need more creative time in the office? Would some teams benefit from having days together?
Consider your numbers. How many people in the office is too few and how many is too many? Have you got people on holiday?
Having a structured team plan will enable you to deal with this challenge of having staff working in the different locations.
Technology is critical. Make use of the technology available to help you plan for all of this. Our app lets you know your team whereabouts, coordinate hot desking, see when team members are on holiday, and manage your work planning. You can use technology to help you work collaboratively and to aid communication. And as with anything new, make sure everybody knows how to use it and they can have training.
Share your desks
If you’re not already doing it, introduce a hot desk system. If you’re already there, keep up the good work. Make it easy for your teams to book their space, come into the office and work using the hot desks.
Create a lovely working environment; think about how you want the desks to be equipped, or if you need colleagues to bring in their equipment. It should be ready for them to plug in and go.
You need to continue to follow the health and safety regulations for working in the office and for your staff working from home. Make sure you’ve got the required numbers of First Aiders and Fire Wardens on site for the number of workers in the building and build this into your planning. The HSE has full and really detailed guidance of what you and your teams need to know.
‘Out of sight’ shouldn’t mean be ‘out of mind’. Just as you would look after your team’s mental health needs at work, the same applies to home working.
Everyone should know how they can help keep well working from their home and managers should know how they can support their staff. Introduce regular break times and space away from screens, hold fewer online meetings and be mindful of colleagues getting screen fatigue if they spend too long on virtual calls and meetings. Have a switch off time, just as you would the end of an office workday and highlight to staff that they’re not expected to respond to business correspondence after their working day has ended.
Keep communication open and let colleagues know how they can get help if they are struggling, including outside support.
Equip your managers
Your managers should feel confident using the technology and being able to manage staff remotely. Make sure they have the right equipment and training to use it.
It’s easy to feel isolated when you’re working from home. We’ve all been there.
Make it easy for your teams to talk to each other and to the people in the office. You could have a team chat facility or video catch ups; use the software available to keep the lines open.
Check your policies
You need to make sure your policies are reviewed and refreshed to accommodate the new era. Hybrid working can effect change in many parts of your business and there may even be policies you didn’t have before but you need now. Think increased data protection with workers working off site. Think technology and security. Think health, safety and wellbeing for home working.
Out with the old
Think about the wider way you work. Is it designed around being in the office only or does it adapt to hybrid working?
With the speed at which the pandemic enveloped the world, you’d be forgiven for introducing homeworking so quickly that perhaps it wasn’t as smooth as if you had time to properly plan for it.
Now is the time to review how you work and make any changes.
And finally….. listen to your staff
They’re your greatest asset. Listen to them, trust them, and take feedback from them on what’s working well and what can be improved.
These are our ‘starter for ten’, to help you on your way to managing hybrid working effectively.
And remember, the Team Today app is ready and waiting for you to help make your hybrid working lives easier.