Not sure if you’re counting, but we’re now well into the fourteenth month of working remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Or was it the fifteenth month? We’ve lost track! Nonetheless, it’s clear to see that some form of remote work is here to stay, with many companies including the likes of Microsoft and Citigroup already switching to a remote-first or hybrid work model.
There are a few variations of the hybrid work model. Some companies might allow individual employees the flexibility to work on-site a few days a week and remotely for the rest. Other companies might have some employees working either remotely or on-site full-time. Some might have a combination of the two. As a long-time practitioner of the hybrid model, we can confirm it literally does give you the best of both worlds! We’ve definitely benefited from reduced overhead costs, less commuting, higher levels of productivity and employee well-being whilst still being able to maintain interpersonal relationships whenever we come together during the week.
That being said, the hybrid-remote work transition isn’t always easy. Following the slew of news involving backlash against various hybrid work policies over the last few weeks, we’re taking a look at the top mistakes companies make and share what not to do when transitioning to a hybrid work model.
Now, if you’re an avid reader of our blog, you might have seen our other article on the common mistakes companies make when implementing remote work. While there are certain commonalities, in this article, we’re focusing on companies who have both remote and in-office employees, or teams who divide their time between the office and working from home. So, let’s begin!
Or at least provide a good reason as to why it is necessary.
Instacart was one such company plunged into hot water earlier this month after its employees publicly complained that entry-level team members were told to return to the office while senior managers were allowed to stay home without providing a clear explanation for the arrangement.
Employees of another U.S.-based magazine and online publication, the Washingtonian, also went on strike after the company CEO penned an op-ed that most people saw as a threat to staff members if they did not return to the office.
Whilst it does make sense to require essential on-site workers or employees handling sensitive proprietary information or data to conduct their daily tasks in an office, organizations shouldn’t show preferential treatment towards certain groups when it comes to remote working, or can risk facing claims of unlawful discrimination!
It can get pretty confusing when it comes to differentiating how you keep both on-site and remote employees engaged and happy.
Companies that heavily rely on physical perks to define their office culture should reconsider the benefits they offer to encompass remote workers. For example, if your office has an on-site gym or masseuse, employees working from home will inherently miss out on the full employee experience. Instead, you might want to consider offering wellness credit to those who predominantly work remotely or even a monthly stipend to simulate the certain benefits of working in the office.
Another option companies can offer remote employees who have a long commute or a less-than-ideal home office situation is the opportunity to work in third-party spaces such as coworking spaces. You might find these little ‘extras’ are a great way to promote employee satisfaction and improve talent retention!
As much as we love hybrid work, we understand that not everyone is going to have the same mindset or have a comprehensive understanding of good hybrid-remote work practices.
So, if you’re making the leap towards such a model, it is important to prepare as such by:
1) Educating management and junior staff on the reasons behind your decision. Consider creating a handbook that acts as a guideline for new hires.
2) Creating a feedback system to ensure all employees feel heard and make the necessary changes to support a seamless transition.
3) Empowering employees with the right tools including collaboration platforms, cloud infrastructure and network security.
Last but not least, the entire process will require patience. But if you put in the groundwork from the beginning to foster a supportive, transparent culture in your hybrid team, you’ll soon start benefiting from the hybrid work model too!
We’d love to hear about it! Simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll include your experiences on our blog or social media channels. J
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