The pandemic has shaken up our workplaces over the past 18 months. Now, as more and more parts of life get back to normal, what’s going to happen to the way people work? And what can you do to use any changes to the advantage of your business?
Hybrid is here to stay
Whether you like it or not, flexible or hybrid working is here to stay for most industries. Employees are demanding it to be the new normal because they’ve grown used to it through lockdowns. And if you don’t offer your employees enough flexibility, they’ll move somewhere that does. Hybrid ways of working can bring challenges and opportunities. Planning and being proactive can help you to make it work for your business.
Find the right balance
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to please everybody. Some will want lots of flexibility to work where and how they choose. Others will want to be in the office with their teams. Think about it practically. How often will people need to be in the office for teams to develop effectively? What working practices are going to help drive the business forward? It’s about finding the right balance between what individuals want and what’s best for the wider team and business.
Communicate your policies
Whatever working arrangements and policies you settle on, good communication with your existing people is going to be crucial. It’s one thing to make the best of forced home working during the pandemic. But ongoing and planned for hybrid arrangements need a more considered approach. Everyone needs to understand what’s expected and to buy in to the approach and the reasoning.
Help new joiners feel part of the team
One of management’s biggest fears is that people aren’t engaged if they’re working from home. Maybe that’s not so much of a problem now, because it’s mainly people who were already in teams before lockdowns. But as you start to onboard new people who are predominantly working from home, it’s vital that you put in place processes and mechanisms to integrate new joiners and to make them feel part of the team.
Find alternatives to learning by osmosis
If your people aren’t spending much or any time together in the office there’s going to be little or no learning by osmosis. That can be a big learning gap to fill. But it’s also an opportunity to put in place something more effective. While learning by osmosis has some real benefits, it’s also inconsistent and can lead to bad habits and techniques being passed on. Now’s the time to reset, to start delivering all learning and training in more structured ways.
Be curious and agile – see what works best for your organisation and people, and be quick to adapt your approaches and policies where necessary.
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