It’s taken some getting used to, but there’s no doubt about it: The hybrid workplace is here to stay. After more than a year of remote work and all of the adjusting required, more and more employees have grown accustomed to ditching the commute and getting more done without leaving their home. A recent Bloomberg poll of 1,000 US adults found that “39% would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work.” Among millennials and Gen Z, “that figure was 49%.”
That doesn’t mean your company needs to cut contact with your employees except when collecting work done and sending out paychecks. It means that you need to thoughtfully build a hybrid workplace that empowers employees to perform at their best. Here are our best practices for doing just that.
Use Zoom or Webex Calls
This is kind of an obvious one. During Covid, Zoom became a household name. But whether your employees are gathered in a single building, scattered across continents, or all working from home, meetings still need to take place. It’s vital that your employees take time every day to touch base with one another––even if it can only be done virtually.
When done virtually, though, meetings do require a certain level of decorum. Here are a few sample requirements:
- Always having video on for all calls.
- Mute your microphone while others are presenting.
- Ask that participants close or minimize other windows.
You can find more best practices here.
Respect the Work/Life Balance
When employees are working from home, the work/life border will naturally begin to blur. You can respect or even encourage your employees’ work/life balance by taking steps like the following:
- Focus on productivity rather than hours.
- Regularly review your employees’ workloads and encourage them to support one another to lighten the responsibility.
- Establish and respect boundaries.
- Categorize your emails (e.g., include “Open Tomorrow” or “Don’t look at this until Monday” in the subject.
One fear that managers face in the rise of the hybrid workplace is that their relationships with their employees will deteriorate. However, this doesn’t have to be the case: Not if you work in different ways to stay connected.
Be careful, though: This does not mean that you should micromanage your employees when they are working from home, constantly checking in to make sure they’re being productive. Instead, schedule regular one-on-one meetings with them to see how they are doing. They can follow a specific checklist of questions, praises, and objective-defining, or they can simply be a few minutes to check in and talk about what’s new while reinforcing your company’s KPIs. However you choose to conduct your meeting, the key is consistency: That will show your employees that you are sincere and see them as people—not cogs in the machine.
Don’t Ditch the Office
With employees spending so much time at home, you may be tempted to cut costs by moving out of your office space. Don’t be too hasty. Your office still plays an important role as the central hub of employee activity. Building a hybrid workplace means that employees will be spending some time in the office.
With that being the case, you want the office to be a place they enjoy being in. Sure, you can cut back on space, but make the space you do have more inviting and welcoming.
As the hybrid workplace solidifies its place as the new standard of business, fear will be replaced with a desire to improve. Begin with these best practices as your foundation and see how much more confident you become in your new business model—and how much more your employees love to come into work.
Now that you’ve got your hybrid workplace down, here are three ways to manage virtual client relationships.
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