The year 2020 shattered all the norms of the world. With the whole world undergoing different stages of self-isolation, quarantine, and lockdown, there was no way for businesses to continue their typical office-based tasks. Hence, the world found temporary relief by employing ‘work from home.’
Now, when hopes of vaccines are finally showing the light at the end of the tunnel, and the business world is turning its gears for the ‘back to the office’ shift, precautions and safety still can not be neglected. Because it is not all about flattening the curve, employers have to come with smart solutions that pair the safety of work from home with office work efficiency, known as the hybrid workplace model.
Hybrid workplace model
A common question of employers all over the world is ‘How can workplaces implement a hybrid workplace model and make the back to office transition smooth and incident-free?.’ And, what does a hybrid workplace model mean, anyway? As the world is moving forward, a strict distinction between home and office work can not be seen as sustainable. An integration and sync of both home and office work can help oil the rickety gears of the modern-day offices, which is a hybrid workplace in a nutshell.
As some employees yet feel uncertain about commuting back to offices, and employers are not sure how to manage the throngs of willing employees who will come back to work and keep them in sync, a few techniques can help manage hybrid work models. A fact brought to light by SIEPR shows that 55% of US employees favor hybrid work models, wishing to create a balance between work from home and office.
Here is how:
1. Support your employees
Though all companies are undergoing great stress, considering how to implement techniques for new and refined work cultures, employees are facing certain predicaments, too. Many employees are parents who are managing their children’s online schooling, while others are providing care to their young children or old parents as they are reluctant to leave them with third-party caretakers in the time of a pandemic.
Hence, to effectively manage a hybrid workplace, you as an employer can hold socially-distant meetings with employers that come to the office and one-on-one virtual sessions for employees working from home.
You can use calendar apps to manage your meeting schedule, syncing up timezones, and always stay up to date on upcoming events.
2. Manage the inflow of employees
As different employees choose to come to the office or stay at home, it can be difficult for you to manage their inflow and outflow. Moreover, not getting to keep track of the numbers in each location, retail store, or office can lead to breaching the social distancing rules.
Thus, you will need to set up a routine where employees will first reserve their seat at the office and then check-in. This allows you to control the number of employees in each location and easily monitor them. Other employees can also get to know which days are safe for them to make an appearance at the office, maintaining the perfect cycle of working from home and going to the office.
A great office scheduling app can directly be a helpful hand to the companies. Employees can screen themselves for possible symptoms and reserve their spot at the office when positions are open and visit as they receive their entry pass.
You can maintain a record of all the employees who are back to work. Keep track of which employees are working on which location or floor of the office or leave the office building. You can assign a manager to each site by using the admin module of the app.
3. Make results meet expectations.
Because you already have to compromise on the working employees’ location, it will not do without compromising on your expectations, too. Employees comfortably working from home and eagerly using the office can create a very dynamic duo that can help you meet results in time and with increased efficiency and zeal.
All you need to do is manage your employees’ best features that arise from their work location choice. Self-motivated employees will help maintain high work ethics, create a well-functioning work environment even from remote locations.
Therefore, to implement this in your hybrid workplace, use softwares that allows workers to check-in remotely, and update their task sheets from time to time to show that they have worked. You can use softwares to sync remote and office employees’ work, integrate responsibilities, and create teams consisting of both office and home employees to keep the work flowing.
4. Facilitate employee communications
As employees have barely met each other for too long, it can be possible to fall out among otherwise tight-knit employee teams. Employees working from different locations also do not get many chances to interact and come with great ideas.
A survey conducted by BCG showed that employees who maintain social connections with their colleagues report a rate of 2.5 times more productivity than before the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, all the more reason to appreciate ‘watercooler talks’.
So, what you can do is set up chat rooms for employees. Both remote workers and office goers can converse, come up with exciting ideas, and make up for lost times and restroom chats. You could provide them with options to keep their talks public or engage in public topics. Thus, this will help them merge ideas, sync up the work, be active and mutually motivated!
5. Make a peaceful transition.
The pandemic was easy on no-one. Even the employees who choose to come to the office to brave the daily commute to make it to the office in these tough times. In fact, 67% of people that use public transport for work commute are stressed for the back to office shift, as reported by Global workforce survey.
Hence, a re-energized work environment laden with colorful decorations, motivational charts, fun-pandemic jokes makes the whole affair a bit lighter. You can slowly shift to full-fledged work by allowing time slots for employees to talk about their pandemic habits, hobbies, newly learned skills, and recipes, and everything else. Do speak yourself to provide some inspiration.
Implementing a hybrid workplace will require time and a lot of effort from all sides. Employees will have to work hard while you will have to be more patient than ever. Give time to the transitions, and things will start running smoothly soon enough.
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