The last year and a half has brought on many changes and as a leader, you must be prepared for new changes that will require new leadership skills. Some employees desire to continue working from home and have found they are as productive and engaged with their colleagues as they were when in the office. Many employers have either started or continued to adapt their infrastructure to be a hybrid workforce so all employees have the option to choose what’s best for them. Working with in-person and remote employees collectively as one, it’s essential to create unity and not a divide. Being mindful and aware of how you and your team can adapt will give you the new leadership skills required to stay successful and be ON Point.
In a hybrid workspace, your team is already physically divided. Using labels such as “them” and “us” would create even more separation between the two working groups. As a leader, being aware of how you communicate is vital. Information should be provided to the entire team (both in-office and remote) at the same time to make sure all employees feel included. Whether you use shared communication apps or services, closing any possible gap between the two groups will support you in providing the best hybrid work experience that you can. Encouraging your team to build working relationships with all employees, whether in office or remote, inviting them to share calendars with one another, and creating virtual activities for all to participate in will support you as a leader in keeping the unity of your team.
Communication can be the biggest challenge when working with a hybrid team; however, it’s become much easier with the virtual communication tools we have at hand. Not only is it vital to communicate about what you expect from all employees and any changes happening within the company, but having daily or weekly virtual meetings with your entire team helps keep the communication open and consistent. These are times to talk about projects, upcoming events, personal and professional achievements, announcements, and so much more. Request your in-office team to speak with the virtual team about all work topics as if they too are in the office to avoid anyone feeling excluded. Choosing a video communication option versus voice will give your team a sense of togetherness by seeing one another’s faces, expressions and continue to create a workplace bond you desire for them as their leader.
As a remote employee, sometimes the reputation of not working as hard or being as present as those in the office can arise. By setting expectations for your entire team of when work starts and ends, everyone receives the same guidelines. Defining work hours will support those working from home to step away from work when their expected work time is up (diminishing the possibility of burnout) and help your in-office team when remote employees are available.
Throughout this transition and the ones to come, pay close attention to your employees and their work experiences. As everyone adapts, be mindful of the changes you see and feel in each of them. Employees want to feel heard, seen and included. As a leader, you can make a significant change in how a team member experiences work by simply checking in on them and letting them know they are not a part of the in-office team or the work-from-home team; they are a part of THE team.
This is the second part of our Summer of Transition series. Follow along this summer as we continue to discuss going back to work, the hybrid workplace, and remote work. Each person is going to have a different timeline, set-up, and experience, and ON Point is here to support everyone!