12 tips for hybrid work: make the future of work a success
By Annemijn Broek | April 26, 2021
We already discussed it in last week's blog: what will the future of work look like? How do we organize our organizations in a sustainable way if we permanently (partly) work from home? In this blog, we will zoom in on this. Once you know where you stand with your organization and have collected feedback from employees, how do you organize this policy? And what should you pay attention to? In this blog we would like to share our tips for hybrid work!
Recently, we have all practically become experts in remote working, and we are increasingly learning what works (and especially what does not). For example, TRT World recently wrote that working from home means that we are making longer working days. Microsoft even sounded the alarm bell for overworked employees. For example, research in which they analyzed the brainwaves of participants in video meetings showed neurological activity related to stress and overwork after just 2 hours (!). During their first annual Work Trend Index, the organization indicated that companies must come up with a well thought-out hybrid working policy if they want to achieve this successfully.
Time for tips: this is how you do hybrid work
Clear language, right? There are still many improvements to be made in the field of hybrid working. Last week we already discussed the five themes that you should keep in mind when making your policy. Based on these themes, we now give you 12 tips to optimize hybrid work in your organization!
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Maintain a healthy work-life balance
To prevent employee fatigue and burnout, it is perhaps even more important in a hybrid organization to prioritize employee well-being. The dividing line between work and private life is even smaller, and the temptation to continue working in the evening is even greater.
TIP 1: Make clear agreements with each other about working hours and breaks. Be alert to structural overtime together, and encourage each other to work as little as possible in the evenings and on weekends and to really get some rest and relaxation. As a manager, also set a good example in this regard.
TIP 2: Encourage each other to make healthy and good self-care a priority. For example, show interest if you know someone has just had a sports match. Or organize a walking classification, in which you as a team take on the challenge to walk as much as possible.
Many organizations have policies to promote employee well-being and health. For example, some companies reimburse gym subscriptions or the purchase of a bicycle. Bring this to the attention and stimulate your team.
(Re)define your organizational culture
In order to achieve a sustainable and future-proof hybrid policy, it is important to know what your starting point or baseline is. So everything starts with (re)defining your organizational culture: what are your values? And your mission and vision? Which strategy do you want to use? What might have to be done differently in order to work well in a hybrid culture? Subsequently, it is important to spread this culture as well as possible throughout your organization.
TIP 3: Since you no longer see each other at the office every day, you will have to find new (creative) ways to do this. Culture is spread through the interaction between people and the sharing of stories. Ensure good internal communication, and vary in terms of communication styles (for example informal and formal) that fit within your organization.
TIP 4: Share information through different communication channels. Think of e-mail, Microsoft Teams, the internet, in meetings or by post. Spread stories. Invite a colleague to share a story via a Zoom meeting or a personal video.
TIP 5: Take plenty of time to determine together what you're proud of, and spread this throughout your organization as much as possible. What's going well? What have you achieved together recently? Try to hold on to this as best you can!
Make sure to take look at what's not going well, too. How can you (further) improve this together? Bring this together in an overview to clearly map out what works and what does not work in a hybrid organization.
Find each other!
Make sure you stay connected with each other as closely as possible. Schedule conscious moments when you and your team will meet. Alternate in the way you interact. For example, you can schedule a weekly update in which everyone tells you what they have done this week.
TIP 6: Also take the time for informal moments. Plan an informal pub quiz or online escape room during the working day or give a colleague a call to find out what their weekend was like. Find offline contact within the possibilities. Agree to go for a walk with a colleague. As an organization you can also stimulate this by coordinating walks.
TIP 7: Do this with your entire organization, so that you also have contact with employees of other teams. Who knows, maybe a very nice colleague lives around the corner and you can meet more often for a walk!
Do your colleagues live further away? Call your colleagues while you walk the dog. Connect, laugh together and realize we are all human!
One-on-one moments and showing empathy as a leader
Leadership while hybrid working also brings new challenges. For example, it is sometimes even more difficult to have insight into what and how your team members are doing.
TIP 8: Be clear, but also empathetic. As a manager, it is your job to clearly communicate what you expect from your team members. Make agreements with each other and create an overview of who takes up which project. Also be clear in what you expect from your team members. A good way to check if everything is clear is to ask it directly. Is everything clear? Do you have any questions?
TIP 9: Create moments when you show an interest in the wellbeing of your team members. For example during a 1-on-1 moment or during the team meeting. Indicate that you consider the wellbeing of your team important, and that you would like to provide support where possible. Regularly ask your team members how they are doing and whether they are still struggling with certain things.
Many employees like being listened to. Even if the problem cannot be resolved immediately, the emotional well-being of employees improves enormously when they feel noticed and supported. So try to have difficult conversations from a distance. For the time being, going to the office is not an option yet, and postponing everything will eventually be a bit of a stretch. Voice irritations, and let each other know if things aren't going well.
Tips for setting up your hybrid workplace
Finally, it is important to jointly consider how you want to set up the hybrid workplace. After you have gained insight into whether, when and why employees want to return to the office, you can organize your policy accordingly. By gaining insight into the pros and cons of working remotely, you can get started in an action-oriented way. Do you not yet have insight?
TIP 10: Make sure that your IT system is in order so that people can work effectively from home. Make a clear overview of your information structure. Where should people go if they have a question for HR, for example? How can they submit a claim? Make sure this information is clearly communicated.
TIP 11: Explore different ways to stay in touch (such as Teams, Slack, Microsoft Outlook or regular meetings) and see what works best for you. Also make clear agreements and express expectations. How quickly should people respond to an email or Slack message?
TIP 12: Also make a plan for the office. Which tasks are difficult to perform at home and would employees like to do in the office? How can you set up your office for this? Perhaps there is a greater need for spaces where you can brainstorm together or work in teams. See how you can facilitate this as an organization.
More tips for hybrid work?
What are your tips for optimizing hybrid work? Have that conversation together (at home or at the office). Make a list and share it with your colleagues! Would you like to receive more tips for hybrid work in the future? Then sign up for our newsletter.
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