Everyone can agree that the pandemic gave the corporate world a makeover. It allowed most of the population the chance to work from home, and in doing so, it gave both employees and employers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redefine what working looks like. Today, over 51% of companies in the post-pandemic world offer a hybrid work environment, and 16% offer fully remote positions; that’s an 85% increase from pre-pandemic numbers.
The hybrid work schedule is regarded as the future of work culture, as it’s been proven to decrease the effects of burnout across the organization, increase efficiency and creativity, and increase the talent pool size. So, it’s generally understood that offering a hybrid work schedule is beneficial in many ways; however, that’s if it’s implemented and maintained correctly. Based on our experience in implementing a hybrid work schedule, we found these three tactics created the best hybrid work environment: empathy-based leadership, employee-driven flexibility, and designated intentional collaboration.
The basis of empathy-based leadership is to lead with people in mind. That means as a manager, you should be asking your employees what it is that they need to be successful in a hybrid work environment. This will require your organization to be flexible and willing to listen. You’ll likely hear how people today are looking for a ‘performance-based outcome’ environment instead of a ‘performance by input’ environment, meaning they want more autonomy over their work-life balance. Having this leadership style is critical, as it’s why companies are seeing efficiency and creativity increase.
Providing flexibility to your employees can look different based on your company or industry. For some companies, they’re flexible about when you start working on your days at home because they’re looking for tasks completed. And for others, this can look like offering ‘hotel’ seating, meaning employees can choose where they sit when they come to the office.
Regardless of what your flexibility is, it’s important to provide some type of flexibility within your hybrid model, as it’s what people are looking for in their job and career paths. The pandemic shifted people’s thoughts and beliefs on what work should look like and what they want out of their job. And for many, their perspective changed greatly. Today, people want to find their purpose, which often translates to a greater work-life balance, and feeling heard at work.
Incorporating these ideas into your hybrid model will likely change how you view your office space. Instead of it just being the ‘9-5 place’, employees will see it as a space for collaboration and learning, as days in the office will be scheduled around collaborating on important topics or learning new skills. However, it’s important to note that a physical location is not necessary to have collaborative meetings or to learn new skills, especially since we have the technology to have virtual meetings. Therefore, intentional collaboration is a mindset and tool organizations can use to better plan their meetings. And it will also take care of having meetings just for the sake of having meetings.
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