The hybrid working environment will allow employees to balance work with their personal needs and responsibilities. As a result, this restructures their activities in the office. Some employees will choose to work on-site with other colleagues in the building to access their working “stations”, while others work from home due to balance other tasks easier. As a manager and leader of the team, how do you manage these employees who have different circumstances everyday? How do you balance the working environment to maintain productivity while fulfilling their needs? This blog will provide tips for managers to lead their members in this situation.
As managers, it is important to remember to always maintain flexibility within the team. On our previous blogs, we highlighted that employees value autonomy to decide where and when they want to work. With that being said, managers should make clear adjustments through internal communications to make sure that the team knows their responsibility and goals every week. For example, the team can host a weekly Monday stand-up, where members must be present (physically or virtually) and schedule the most important tasks to be finished that week. After that, employees can then have their “personal schedule” where they decide how to complete their task and whether they want to be in the office or not. By restructuring the team coordination to be flexible, it will be easier to manage the employees in the hybrid setting. After setting clear goals within the team, the next step is to clarify each member’s presence in the office. It is important to communicate to the team who will be working onsite or from home.
Since everyone has different working orientations, it is important to decide how employees communicate to ensure that the dynamic is still present even though everyone is working in different places. Should people communicate via Slack? Or a daily 30-min Zoom call in the evening to wrap up the day? This must be specified so the communication is streamlined.
Set achievable targets and expectation
When employees are balancing their personal responsibilities and their work assignments, it is important to set realistic tasks in order to avoid burnouts. Weekly targets may be the same for everyone, but daily schedules will be different between employees who have different responsibilities. Even if the team goal is clear, each employee has different means to achieve that goal based on their own circumstances. That is why it's crucial to set a clear goal from the start.
Managing the team behind the screen is not an easy thing to do. As managers, you want to spread inclusivity to members and it's different when not everyone is in the same room. This can lead to employees who are in the building to get more attention from managers compared to the ones who are working from home. In order to solve this, you should keep attention to individual members and make sure that no one is left out. This may be an extra responsibility for managers, but inclusivity is essential in the team especially when employees are working in different places.
Another factor that needs to be put into attention is the wellbeing of the employees. During this time, people have different struggles they are facing, whether it's work related or not. It is the responsibility of the manager to make sure that everyone is mentally fine. For example, if there is an employee who acts quieter than usual or looks stressed, make sure to prioritise them first. Positive mental wellbeing leads to a better working environment and productivity. Thus, it should be prioritised at all times.
Proper leadership is essential in the workplace, especially when employees are working in different locations. When a clear structure is implemented within the team, employees will have a smooth adjustment when moving to a hybrid working culture.