One thing the pandemic proved to employers is that hybrid work is not only possible, but it’s preferable among most employees. And if a company doesn’t adapt, they’ll be left behind. An overwhelming number of employees say this is what they want. Everyone has proven you can work from home.
If you don’t have a flexible working policy, you won’t be able to attract or retain employees. There are companies that are allowing remote work, and there are companies that are embracing it. Your top talent will leave if you don’t embrace it. Over time, remote employees will leave if they’re not getting the promotions or the top projects. At best, you’ll lose engagement.
What Hybrid First Work Looks Like
The keyword is intention. The difference between hybrid-allowed and hybrid-first work is intention. Both employers and employees need to be intentional about what hybrid-first work looks like. Employees may decide they’re in the office once a week or three times a week versus asking for permission to work from home on occasion.
Employers must think of their hybrid workers first when planning an important meeting or assigning a project. They must be intentional when making important decisions like promoting employees and assigning projects, keeping in mind their hybrid workforce.
In the past, when an employee is out of sight, they’re out of mind. The people who were noticed and who got the plumb projects were the ones who were in the office. It was easy to overlook people who were remote.
When everyone works from home, it levels the playing field. Everyone is on equal footing when everyone is on a remote call. It will be tricky to ensure that the remote employees continue to get noticed now that some employees are returning to the office.
How to be Intentional in Making Hybrid First a Success
The decision to embrace hybrid-first work has to come from the highest level of management. If the executives are in the office, then everyone else will feel they need to be in the office, too. Plus, the executives will know what the experience is like for their remote employees if they are having that same experience. They will be in a better position to make good decisions regarding remote work.
Focus on leveraging hybrid work to make diverse hires. Without making hybrid-first work a priority, unconscious bias will slip back into hiring practices. If executives return to the office, the whole thing unravels, and employers will be back to square one in diversity hires.
Set your employees up for success while working remotely by investing in technologies that not only make it possible but make it collaborative. Always think remote-first when making technology decisions. Collaboration platforms have created a work model to accommodate hybrid work. Zoom enables calls that show each person as their own square whether or not they’re in the office. Cisco has a new product enabling asynchronous collaboration. Employees can record a short video and upload it to the platform. And everyone can watch it on their own time.
Embrace the asynchronous collaboration that has been around for a while. Google Docs and a shared Word Document allow employees to collaborate that is not in real-time. Whether or not they have commitments, remote work employees can still join in the collaboration. By not insisting on Zoom calls exclusively, employers can leave room for employees to work when they can. Digital whiteboards have been around for a while, providing shared canvasses and visual collaboration spaces. This allows traditional whiteboarding functionality along with new features like virtual sticky notes and the ability to upload files. There are both new and old technologies with new features where a team can be together without being together in “real-time”. And take the time to train your users.
While senior management may mandate that employees are in the office on these days, lower levels of management can engage employees and find what works for them. Learn the pain points of your workers and then find technology to address the problem.
Let Optimum Staffing Solutions Guide You
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