How To Keep Your Hybrid Work Teams Engaged
It’s been a wild ride the last two years dealing with the pandemic and its impact on the workforce.
While some regions and industries are expected to get back to some form of normalcy, others are still trying to maintain adequate employee numbers while still keeping them safe. It’s a balancing act that human resource leaders experience daily.
Two out of three corporate leaders are promoting hybrid work
The trend seems to be that employers are offering hybrid arrangements, which allow employees to choose to work from home or at the office when they need to.
The Thymometrics Remote Work Survey recently indicated 66 percent of corporate leaders would be promoting hybrid work moving forward.
It makes the most sense given this allows employees the opportunity to work when they are most productive, yet still have the option to join their peers face-to-face if they live near their office.
Remote work is never going away, in fact it has remained the most popular option because there is access to a much larger and diverse candidate pool for recruitment purposes and it reduces corporate overhead immensely.
It’s also better for the environment as less people are having to commute daily. Hybrid work is just another version of remote work, for those who prefer the occasional experience of working in a corporate environment.
With everyone job-hopping these days trying to get the best positions, hybrid work offers the best of both worlds. Large companies are leading the way for other employers to use this model. It supports retention efforts and can be highlighted as a perk for employees who do not want to work in-house or remotely all the time. It also supports the corporate culture because there can still be come face-to face interactions with peers and time spent immersed in the activities of the office.
The challenge that lies ahead for human resource leaders is how they will manage and keep their hybrid work teams engaged and productive?
How employees feel about hybrid work
It’s important to understand how employees see hybrid, remote, on-site, and other working arrangements.
A recent Gallup Poll has some solid data on these factors. Take note that the term hybrid has many interpretations in the workplace. Their poll shows about one-third of employees are ready to work on-site, half prefer hybrid options, and just under one-fifth are requiring full remote work. For those who want to work in some form of hybrid arrangement, 14 percent indicated they prefer working remotely “sometimes” and 15 percent say, “about half of the time”. On the other end of the hybrid spectrum, 9 percent said they prefer to be “mostly remote” and 13 percent said, “primarily remote”.
These variations stem mostly from the types of jobs, industries, and tasks that employees perform. It also has a lot to do with changing attitudes that the pandemic caused.
Many workers have become very productive working remotely and they do not want to lose this option once things get back to pre-pandemic conditions. For them, it would be too disruptive to their lifestyles. Others are just waiting for things to return to normal, which is not looking too promising given the recent waves of additional variants of Covid-19. It’s still a watch and wait scene.
Around the world, employers are held to certain laws that prevent harm to employees. Shah Qureshi, partner and head of employment at law firm Irwin Mitchel told BBC News, in the UK, "... the Health and Safety at Work Act states employers have an obligation to ensure that there is a safe working environment, a safe workplace, to which an employee returns". If an employee is putting themselves at risk of getting ill, the employer must make arrangements that protect their wellbeing.
In the USA, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration carefully oversees the health and safety of the American workforce, following the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for wearing masks, social distancing, and getting vaccinated or staying home.
If employees can perform work remotely, they should be encouraged to do so and supported. For those who must work in physical arrangements, employers can provide required personal protective equipment and limit the number of patrons inside their establishments to limit exposure. It seems clear that employers who put their employees first will see increased levels of engagement and loyalty even while things continue to change.
The main concern that employers should have is establishing psychological and mental safety for all employees. Employees need to know if they are at any risk of exposure and what precautions to take. The organizations that are adopting hybrid work models are supporting this goal by giving employees a choice based on their individual circumstances.
How can employers ensure they are creating a workplace that’s psychologically safe?
With mental health concerns on the rise, there is a solution for maintaining the productivity of a hybrid workforce. Accessible and responsive communication channels must be made available for all employees.
Employees may not feel safe airing their concerns directly to a supervisor or may have questions that HR needs to address. If they are switching from remote to in-office, or vice-versa, employees may find it difficult to adjust or make a connection with others. Employees who work in hybrid work arrangements may also fear that they will be replaced if they don’t keep up with others.
Thymometrics offers real-time employee engagement tools with built-in anonymous communication. So, not only can employees check in how they are feeling, but they can also create an anonymous message that goes directly to the best contact. They can receive a response securely too. By offering this, employees can experience the psychological safety of this new world of working.
Thymometrics provides tools that improve employee engagement whether in the office or working remotely. Through real time, always-on surveys and feedback solutions, we provide revolutionary yet simple tools to empower employees and monitor wellbeing whilst providing managers with deep and useable insights to improve business culture, productivity and profitability.
Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash