After years of tug-of-war between remote and in-person work the rope has officially dropped in the middle. And this isn’t just our opinion:
- 63% of high-growth companies use a hybrid work model
- 42% of Gen Z want remote work 1-2 days a week and 30% want 3-4 days
- 35% of Millennials want 1-2 days at home and 38% want 3-4 days
Hybrid work is clearly the popular choice. But is it worth your effort to accommodate it? Should hybrid enablement even be a priority among the many other important HR tasks on the docket? Yes and yes. Without team members dedicated to hybrid enablement, your team will have difficulty in a myriad of ways.
1. Teams risk inefficiency and disorganization
Without structure in place, a hybrid team may get tasked with the headache of voting for days in-office that work for everyone involved. On top of the amount of time spent just trying to schedule, cancel, and reschedule these days, likely one or more team members will have to settle on days that are not preferable and end up resenting the team as a result. They may end up missing the meeting. Even worse, they may Zoom in and then get largely ignored as the team hasn’t been prepped on how to engage dynamically. None of this has to be the case if teams are equipped both philosophically and technologically for hybrid work. In the event that an in-person meeting is necessary, the chain of command or voting system should be solidified in advance. This ensures there is no wiggle room for gray area decision making. Additionally, these teams should be equipped with the proper technology to engage team members who are still at home. This could look like smart cameras, microphones, and monitors that use both verbal and nonverbal cues to connect physically distanced teams.
Are you facing a disengaged team and don’t know where to start? We have a few suggestions.
2. Diverse team members will feel the greatest negative impact
Along those same lines, if the team members who can’t make it to a meeting in-office are folks of diverse backgrounds, lack of enablement could result in further marginalization. Differently abled team members tuning in from home may miss crucial moments of in-person conversation if cameras and closed-captioning are not set up so that every person is heard and seen. Parents who call in to the meeting while commuting with children may feel behind if teams aren’t trained to make verbal descriptions of non-verbal contribution. On average, BIPOC have longer commute times to the office as a result of gentrification and displacement. In general, diverse peoples are benefitted by remote work, so any lack of support or understanding for team members who opt to stay out of office will also be detrimental to encouraging any improvements to DEI.
3. Managers could be at odds with their team and with the change in protocol
Hybrid enablement goes beyond logistics and technology. Proper enablement requires training on a change of leadership styles. Many managers are still accustomed to more traditional approaches for connecting with their direct reports. Chatting by the watercooler, grabbing lunch, or popping into an empty meeting room for an impromptu problem-solving session were all popular practices that are usually unavailable to managers in a hybrid workplace. While some of these tactics can be mirrored in digital form, managers have to make a bigger philosophical shift. When half of your direct reports are in sight and half are not, your goals as a manager must be re-oriented. Instead of judging progress by watching work happening in real time, managers must learn what to look for in numbers and performance. Without this support, they may feel disconnected and even distrusting of their team. And an insecure manager can wreak havoc on company culture.
HR and other leadership teams have had the biggest battles to face in the last few years. But if there is a singular resounding takeaway from changes in the workplace, it’s this: the sooner you embrace them, the sooner you can adapt and thrive.
You need productive, happy employees, whether in-office, remote, or hybrid. allwhere has the procurement, logistics, and deployment to make your team a success. To learn more, book a demo with us here.