After nearly two years of working from home, the modern office and work life has dramatically evolved.
Now, organizations are starting to welcome staff back into the office, setting up hybrid work environments, or allowing employees to work from home indefinitely. Moving into 2022, it’s all about keeping your teams productive and creative regardless of their office space. After all, with 47% of employees saying they wouldn’t want to work for an employer that doesn’t offer a hybrid model, it’s clear that workers desire an environment that fits their needs.
To create a hybrid work environment that enables employees to thrive, take these four steps:
1. Coordinate in-office time for the whole team.
Culture is an essential building block to any company’s success. As an organization, you can structure your hybrid environment by designating specific days for employees to come in or letting them set their schedules. However, if someone decides to commute when the rest of the team stays in, your organization misses a face-to-face opportunity.
Instead, consider proposing regular in-person meetings for the team to collaborate openly and house open work sessions when a high-level project arises. You can also organize monthly or bi-monthly sessions over two or three days where the entire team comes into the office. Maximize this time together by organizing:
- Team bonding activities
- Training sessions or lunch and learns
- Performance and project reviews
2. Develop equitable performance reviews.
Your employees might be concerned that those who work in the office are more likely to receive career advancements and promotions than those who prefer the hybrid approach. While you can have more impromptu conversations on-site that lead to more face time, organizations should create a feedback process to ensure your entire staff feels appreciated and rewarded.
To get started, consider categorizing reviews in three ways: the individual job performance, the individual’s ability to work on a team, and how they demonstrate company values. This process allows managers to reward employees creatively instead of only focusing on the output.
Since productivity doesn’t always equal high performance and vice versa, the proper review process enables your employees to focus on developing innovative solutions to your customer’s problems that make a more significant business impact.
3. Make good use of video.
While you might be over attending virtual happy hours, hybrid work environments should still default to video use in conference meetings. Using video not only makes you feel closer to co-workers but also allows your sessions to be less interrupted and more productive.
With fewer interruptions, your team is more likely to chime in and participate, providing more perspectives and opportunities for those innovative sparks to fly. To avoid extreme “Zoom doom” with hybrid team members, consider having fewer meetings and making the ones you hold more productive with an agenda, discussion topics and specific action items.
4. Rely on asynchronous collaborations.
Instead of scheduling endless meetings, democratize conversations to help unlock creativity through better brainstorms. To be successful, allow employees to document brainstorms and enable colleagues to review, reflect and respond when they feel the sharpest.
Use these before a meeting to intake initial feedback and better understand the next steps. Not only will this allow more people to participate, but it helps guarantee more productive meetings and innovative solutions.
Kickstart team productivity–regardless of the office setup
Hybrid workforces are the future for organizations looking to optimize employee productivity, performance and creativity. Since it’s a relatively new territory for businesses, it’s essential to continue to ask for feedback so you can finetune your infrastructure and policies.
Your whole team will need to adjust to new technology, schedules and coordination, so provide the right support and resources to help everyone succeed as you go and grow.