Hybrid working by Henriett Lisztes
Hybrid working means that some employees work from office and others work from home. It requires new habits and systems.
We have been teleported to the future by the coronavirus’s time machine. Tools and systems that ought to have developed for years before the coronavirus, after it, just took days, weeks.
Now, we are planning 2021 with hybrid working, so we can not use the old fashioned way. New working methods are required, which formed during the pandemic period. Developing the newly formed skills and expanding the good habits are essentials for the new working methods.
Chinese companies are ahead of the curve in hybrid working and maintaining the recovery. There is a team of 25 employee lead by Laszlo Kis at a car industry company which has been switched to hybrid working successfully. The article based on his experience.
What to pay attention the most?
We have to ask our colleagues ’What to do in a different way?’, which requires a kind of leader courage. We must recognize that some of the office tasks can be done at home then identify what to do in the office and what to do at home. We have to realize that social experience is very important to colleagues, like being together and public meals in the office. This kind of team-togetherness hard to experience during online meetings.
The purposeful improving being together is especially important, since we get to know less information of each other because of the small number of social contacts. It may affect the individual working. Strengthen the one team feeling and measure if anyone got a fear of missing out (FoMo) sensation.
Some employees make decisions hard, often visits the leader’s office for some feedback, but now, during the virtual working there is no possibility for personal feedback. Inquiring in writing is not an option, because in that way there will be visible sign of their uncertainty and it can affect their accomplishment. Identify these types of employees and describe the habits of normal communication. Strengthen the communication between workmates with common mini-projects.
Virtual leadership skils
Leaders must know the purpose of their employees and have to support them in accomplishing these goals. Some workmates appreciate the office being together, others are completly fine in the virtual space. Measure the demands of employees in connection with the workplace, and find the best way to re-involve them in the office work. If we can achieve, organize a day every month when everybody works from the office, in that way employees can meet with each other. These days are the perfect opportunity to hold face-to-face or small group discussions.
Purposeful change of attitude is essential to avoid the leader turning to micromanage. If it happens, we have to find its reason, and being more conscious is obligatory in the future. If we already lack trust towards our team, we are indecisive and/or (too)controlling leaders, it is worthwhile to ask for the support of a coach, and work on how to progress our problems.
Employees often reach out the leaders with their working problems because they can not communicate with their workmate. It also can occur micromanager. In this case information sharing and project handling steps must be regulated, and we can also create commonly working team or helping each other pairs.
The timetable must be planned carefully to ensure enough time for the most important tasks. Planning must be done by the leaders and the employees as well. Employees’ effectiveness indicator grew in the third quarter of 2020. It is the reason that employees take advantage of flexible working.
The challenge for managers is to understand what productive engagement means, then support employees in taking the time to take care of themselves and drawing a line between work and private life. Thus they can help avoid burnouts. It can also help if you manage your time efficiently by making work-free hours in your day (eg 12-13: 00), and spending some time with your family.
Let’s ask ourselves and our family too, what can we give up on in our day-to-day life? What is the thing that just makes our life so much harder? What are the stress factors in our daily work life that can be reduced (e.g., unnecessary ppt preparations for meetings that take a lot of time but don’t have much use)?
Extension of technology
What kind of systems and applications can support and speed up communication, the flow of information, and project work?
Laci has adapted the OneNote digital note-taking application. They sketch up there everything they are talking about at their weekly leadership meetings. They can see everything immediately there. Everyone can see and understand what they agreed on at their meeting. The application also helps to shorten their preparation time for the weekly meetings. When you organize a meeting, you have to make sure that everyone has equal time to speak up both those who are working from home and those who are attending a meeting in the office.
Due to the smaller physical coexistence and impromptu conversations, it is important to regularly measure the mood of the employees as a manager. The perfect solution for this is chatbots, on which we are constantly continuing to get feedback that our employees are satisfied and they can ask questions that concern them anonymously.
The important thing is what are employees capable of, and not what they have been used for. This is what has shown us the pandemic period.
The aim of the covid after hybrid working is to create a workplace environment where the potential is a precious skill. For this, the leaders and also the employees have to develop their own skills wittingly to hold the ground in hybrid working. In this way they can take advantage of their entire potential, and it will result motivation in creativity, in growth, and in innovation, in that way their returning to the future will be successful.
Almost every point is in connection with the communication. Communication is what it result. Leaders must keep in mind that the proven communication formulas are not available like the previously mentioned ’running to the office’, so the information must be given obviously and precisely. Also, leaders have to check that employees understood correctly the given piece of information, just like in the recent example, as the OneNote serves this function. Introvert employees must be encouraged for communicating. With the hybrid working we have lost the gossip talking on the corridor. The gossip talking had positive and negative side too. Earlier eg. we could be informed in this way about someone’s private difficulties, desires, which may affect the cooperation in the future, tiny things also, like favourite cake for birthday celebration…
Not only the amount of communication is important, we also have to take care its depth. We have to think about the known information in connection with our employees. Is there any circumstance what might reduces our employees’ work capacity? Are there enough respons from workmates? Are the dialogues active and appropriate enough? Are the number of dialogues and content enough proper?
If we can set up proper mechanism for the dialogues, teams will be more comitted and tighter keep in touching.
Henriett Lisztes ACC
executive coach, trainer