There aren’t too many good things that came out of the pandemic. But, there is one thing in particular that was positive – and that is an evolution of thinking about the way we work.
By being forced to stay in our homes throughout the lockdown period, we proved that we didn’t necessarily have to be in an office space to work effectively.
And as the restrictions eased, hybrid working became a thing.
Now, more than a year on from lockdown, people are still embracing hybrid working to achieve better balance and to better utilise company resources.
With a new way of working on the table, you have probably had to examine your traditional processes. Hybrid working is here to stay, so it’s time to perfect the experience for your team and your organisation. Here’s how you can do it.
A New Way Of Working
What is hybrid working? Well, you’re probably already doing it with your teams without using the fancy term!
Hybrid working is a flexible working arrangement where your staff work some of the time in a traditional office space and some of the time at a remote location, usually their home. The degree of flexibility should be based on the needs of the organisation and the individual workers.
It is this varying level of flexibility that makes hybrid working so amazing … and also quite hard to manage – especially if everyone is operating on different hours and days!
That’s why it is vital that you master and perfect the hybrid working experience so that it operates well for your business and for your employees. Here’s the steps to follow to do that:
Step 1: Review Current Arrangements
If you are like most New Zealand businesses, you probably threw together some basic hybrid working parameters back in 2020 and have been weathering the storm ever since. Chances are, those hastily set up working arrangements could do with some updating by now.
The first step is to review what you already have in place and assess how it has been functioning. Is it serving your business well and are your employees benefitting from the flexibility? What’s working really well and what could do with some refining?
Have a chat with key management and some of the employees who are using the flexibility of hybrid working to get their input. That way, you’ll have information from both sides of the working arrangement – business and individuals.
Step 2: Make A Plan
Now that you have your feedback, it’s time to create some clear guidelines about how hybrid working will function going forward. While the specifics might be slightly different for the individual depending on their role and level of responsibility, having some guidelines lets everyone know what the expectations are.
Remember that you want to create an arrangement that works for both the business and your employees. You want your employees to still feel like they have autonomy over their workload, but at the same time, working hours need to be productive and produce the right results for the business.
Step 3: Document It All
Once you have created your plan, it is important to document the hybrid working parameters so that they are widely understood and can be enforced.
Things that should be discussed and documented are start and finish times/working hours, the locations used for working (and if team members have all the resources they need at each location), and expectations around how working from home should be – dress standards for meetings, digital security etc.
Another thing you might want to offer your team is ‘Flexications’. Working from home is one thing, but could your team work from a different country? A Flexication is the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world, mixing holidaying with work. It allows location-independent work conditions so that your employees can work from literally anywhere, completing their work obligations while adventuring in their downtime.
In terms of remote working, a Flexication doesn’t have to be much different to working from home from a business perspective. You just need to be clear on employee expectations like time zones and how this will be managed, ensure they are covered by Health and Safety procedures, that reliable WiFi and server access is available, and that privacy policies are met.
Why Go To The Trouble?
Setting up hybrid working parameters may feel like a lot of work. And you might wonder if it is worth all the trouble. We can assure you, it is if you do it right.
Offering hybrid working can help your staff to feel valued and respected. This often means that they are more engaged in their work and ultimately, more productive. It also helps you to be recognised as an employer of choice and encourages great staff retention. All of these things help to create great results for your business.
Perfecting Hybrid Working
To harness all of the positive aspects of hybrid working, you need to make sure you address the potential negative aspects. With people in the office at different times throughout the week, it can have a negative impact on company culture and how your team interact with each other.
It’s important to keep your employees engaged despite the distance. You can do this by planning deliberate social connections such as regular virtual or on-site team meetings and regular one-to-one check ins. Encourage collaboration with cloud based communication and document sharing tools to actively keep teams connected.
Make mental health a priority as it is easy to feel isolated when you are predominantly working remotely.
Also, ensure the current workspace is an enticing place to return to so that your staff actually want to be in the office as opposed to the comfort of their own homes.
Hybrid Help Is Here
Here at Spice HR HQ, we embrace hybrid working for our team. So, we’ve personally been through the process of setting hybrid working parameters that suit everyone, but still generate great company results.
So, if it’s time to review your current hybrid working arrangements, you can count on the Spice Gals to help you create parameters that are good for your business as well as your team.
Reach out to us today to chat about perfecting hybrid working at your place.