While new digital communication technologies have made managing remote employees easier than ever, many companies continue to be torn between sticking with a dispersed teams and offering an on-site experience for all. A hybrid work environment provides workers with the best of both worlds—remote work strategies for those who can, and traditional on-premise opportunities for those who want or need to work in-person.
Offering a flexible work environment is less a compromise than recognition that the needs of a team can vary greatly. By going hybrid, companies maintain an approach that offers greater resiliency while maintaining Work from Anywhere. Yet there are pitfalls when implementing this new style of collaboration in a team that’s previously only been one or the other. Here’s how to manage remote employees as well as their on-site colleagues for a productive, equitable future.
Reassess your KPIs
Perhaps the greatest fear of remote workers and managers alike is that work-from-anywhere employees will fall behind when it comes to advancement. It’s not so much the day-to-day productivity that suffers as the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ workplace standard that affects remote staff.
Meanwhile, on-site employees—particularly those who come in every day—gain an advantage simply by being visible, even if their remote counterparts are putting in the same or even longer hours.
This common bias is known as the availability heuristic: Frequently seeing something (or someone) causes us to overestimate its impact. When employee evaluations begin, managers may give higher marks to the people more visible in their memory.
The solution? Better, more accurate data. Rather than making promotion decisions based on feeling, managers now have the opportunity to gain granular visibility into employee productivity and accomplishments.
The benefit of a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution is that it’s truly comprehensive, offering collaboration technology to workers throughout a hybrid environment. When staff use the same systems to work together from anywhere, they can be evaluated based on the same metrics, informed by data provided through UCaaS reports and analytics.
With the right data, managers can put quantitative backing behind their decisions, ensuring remote and on-site workers are evaluated on a level playing field. Overcoming the biases that have long influenced promotion and advancement opportunities ensures an organization’s hybrid work working environment is its best evolution yet.
Opt for Inclusivity
Some organizations adopting flexible work environments are now offering physical locations as collaboration spaces, defaulting to remote but allowing workers to come in when they like for in-person collaboration. This approach to hybrid work has some appealing upsides, providing the benefits of remote work with an extra coworking upside when they choose.
But what happens when one team member can’t make these scheduled or one-off meetings? Historically a recap email may have sufficed, but going forward in the work-from-anywhere world, every meeting should include a virtual call for team members who can’t be there in-person. Defaulting to this level of inclusivity ensures no one is left out.
These types of standard practices keep organizations from developing literal in and out groups, segmenting staff between those who tend to work on-site and those who work remotely. Differing capabilities and duties only manifest when teams are siloed in these ways—by ensuring every project is handled by a mixture of employees (fully remote, hybrid, and always on-premise), talent develops regardless of location. It’s a strategy that leverages the real advantages of work-from-anywhere for truly hybrid productivity.
Balance Synchronous & Asynchronous
One of the top benefits of a hybrid work environment is the ability to accommodate different work styles. There’s no need to maintain a one-size-fits-all approach to productivity, since staff have more control over how they approach workloads.
Remote staff with flexible schedules often benefit from hours spent out of non-emergency contact to focus on their workloads. These hours can boost productivity, allowing a deeper level of focus that caters to individual work styles.
Yet going silent for an extended period isn’t viable for any working organization. Teams must find a way to balance asynchronous work—the tasks that can be done while colleagues are away, or working on other tasks—with live, synchronous tasks.
One approach is to set hours each week that teams apply toward asynchronous work. These holistic project reviews can be synchronous and handled over Zoom or a live phone calls, but from there, the goal is to consistently reduce the amount of live time required to address workloads. More time spent immersed in preferred productivity habits means more great work gets done.
The Hybrid Experiment
For most organizations, the shift to hybrid work will be a unique experience. Companies throughout the world are trying this new approach for the first time—so there’s no single set path to efficiency.
Yet the potential benefits—ranging from global hiring to reduced office costs to boosted productivity —make effective transformation a worthy goal. At the end of the day, the hybrid environment is meant to serve team members—listening and implementing the strategies they suggest, and is the blueprint towards an all-encompassing future.
Hybrid’s place in the Work from Anywhere future creates more inclusivity for all types of workers. Organizations with remote and on-site team members working together benefit from greater flexibility, as well as more capability to implement new changes.