How Managers And Small Business Owners Can Make Hybrid Work A Success
Hybrid work is going to be the norm for many organisations in post-Covid times, in industries ranging from tech to pharmaceuticals to academia. Many companies and employees are excited about this mix of in-person and remote work. Microsoft's 2021 Work Trend Index found that 46% of the workforce is relocating because they can now work remotely. However it is imperative for small business owners and managers to focus on the important issues that make hybrid work a success or a nightmare.
CULTURE AND INCLUSIVITY
One of the most important aspects of hybrid work is cultural fit. New employees joining small companies on a hybrid basis should be able to embrace the company culture and values and feel part of a team. Managers should be able to use collaboration technologies and other methods to foster this feeling of inclusion. New female employees, for example, if choosing the hybrid method, should not be excluded from the company cultural integration. It is simpler for a company to integrate everyone working prior to the different lockdowns (although there are challenges) as these employees had already worked together closely prior to the pandemic. An increasingly important challenge is therefore how to socialise newcomers and integrate them into the company's culture, whether they're interns, entry-level hires, or seasoned executives.
Businesses also have to maintain the balance between employees feeling isolated and feeling invaded with the new hybrid way of working. People want to feel connected and interact with each other even briefly. They want to feel they belong to a team and to a business. Virtual connections remove the sense of isolation. However, it is important for employees to have work/home boundaries. It can be discussed beforehand when people will work or when to answer emails and chats. It should be clear when they should be offline.
Friendly connections can be rekindled by advocating weekly social time, such as a 20-minute window to discuss different, light-hearted but personal matters. Quizzes and games can also be launched to gather everyone and foster banter and the team spirit.
THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY
Finding the right tools and technology for employees to do their work in a hybrid environment is the first pre-requisite. There are numerous popular collaboration technologies such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams or Skype. Employers should start by asking employees if they feel they have the right tools and technology to do their jobs.
It is also to be noted that employees can be at risk of virtual meeting fatigue or burnout. It is therefore important to monitor the virtual meetings usage and to be sensible in the management of virtual collaboration. Staff need to be upskilled regarding video conferencing systems to avoid frustration or disappointment. Also some people are more comfortable speaking up over screens than others and this factor should be taken in consideration when setting up virtual meetings in local, national or multi-lingual environments.
THE WAY FORWARD
Here, at Associate Planet, we want to help you create the right environment for hybrid work. We want to help you build your company's cultural fit and combat isolation for your employees with the use of the right technology. We can help upskill and train people. We are a boutique IT consultancy with decades of experience in helping small businesses such as yours. For more information, please call Richard today on 07831 196534 or email email@example.com.
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