Hybrid work, where employees work both remotely and on-site, is becoming the new norm, and it is important for organisations to consider the impacts on human resources and leadership practices. There are several key concepts to consider when creating a framework for a hybrid workplace, including equity in opportunity and career development, redefining work, empathic leadership, regular check-ins, and rules for flexible working.
To ensure equity in opportunity and career development, it is important for organisations to eliminate proximity bias and offer equal opportunities for advancement to all employees, regardless of whether they are working on-site or remotely. It is also important to redefine what constitutes success in a hybrid work environment, including establishing core communication and collaboration hours and setting clear benchmarks for success.
To promote work-life balance and prevent burnout, it is important for organisations to establish designated offline hours and create a culture of non-hyperresponsiveness. Empathic leadership, regular check-ins, and rules for flexible working can also help to create a healthy and effective hybrid work environment.
Empathic leadership: establish trust and understanding
Leaders have a significant role to play in ensuring that the transition to hybrid work is smooth and successful. Empathic leadership, where leaders show understanding and concern for their employees' needs and well-being, can help to build trust and create a positive work environment.
To be an empathic leader in a hybrid work environment, it is important to:
Foster open and honest communication: Encourage employees to share their thoughts and feelings about hybrid work, and make an effort to understand their perspective.
Be flexible and adaptable: Recognise that everyone's needs and preferences are different, and be willing to adapt your leadership style to meet the needs of your team.
Offer support and resources: Make sure that employees have the tools and resources they need to be successful, whether they are working remotely or on-site.
Regular check-ins: maintain a sense of connection and community
Regular check-ins with employees, whether one-on-one or in a team setting, can help to maintain a sense of connection and community in a hybrid work environment. These check-ins can be used to discuss progress, address any concerns or challenges, and provide support and guidance.
Rules for flexible working: establish clear guidelines and expectations
In a hybrid work environment, it is important to establish clear guidelines and expectations for flexible working. This may include setting core hours during which employees are expected to be available, establishing rules for remote work (e.g., when and how employees should communicate with their team), and setting clear boundaries between work and personal time.
By considering these concepts and taking a proactive approach to managing a hybrid work environment, organizations can create a workplace that is effective, efficient, and supportive of their employees' needs and well-being.