Employers across the US are implementing hybrid work environments for the first time. This mode is advantageous because it assists workplaces in recruiting and retaining top talent. However, hybrid remote work arrangements also allow employers to reap the benefits of in-person meetings and interactions, especially between team members who need to collaborate. Employers with hybrid work models are also able to give their staff access to special technologies or tools and to hold in-person events to build employee engagement (a challenging area for those supervising remote employees). It’s important to note that developing (or moving to a permanent) hybrid work environment does require some comprehensive planning and strategy to be successful. These are five key strategies for an optimized hybrid work environment.
5 Key Strategies for Successful Hybrid Work Environments
1. Develop routines and structure.
This step will be different for every workplace. Every employer must consider what employees must do to achieve their goals. If employees need to meet once a week or quarterly, these meetings should be scheduled as recurring events everyone is prepared for. Fully flexible hybrid work environments are often not successful because they lack a structure upon which everyone relies. This lack of a system could result in missed communication and collaboration between teammates, delayed work, or even lost business opportunities. Setting meeting or co-working days will ensure that everyone has the ability to collaborate and communicate optimally because they plan for it. To ensure efficiency, workplaces should set (or request) agendas for meetings and never run them for longer than one hour (even this may be unnecessarily long).
2. Utilize the optimal tools.
Facilitating a remote work environment requires tools to overcome the challenges of remote work. Employers will need to implement tools to support some, if not all these items:
- Connect employees and managers
- Deliver and share work
- Train employees
- Delegate tasks
- Conduct video conferencing
There are many options for tools that will assist with these tasks. MP offers options for all of them that are accessed through a single platform. This streamlines workflow, is more user-friendly, and results in less confusion. Everyone will know the best tool to use for a task because everything is accessible via the same login there’s no duplication of functions (as there would be for an employer bought a few different kinds of software or services).
3. Update job descriptions for remote work or create them if needed.
Especially when supervising remote employees, job descriptions with clear expectations and KPIs are critical for success. Remote workers achieve more when their manager has articulated goals, whether for the day, week, quarter, or year. It’s easier to assist an employee in finding where they excel and where their performance should be improved when there are clear criteria to benchmark their work. MP’s HR services team recommends tying individual employee goals to larger company goals when possible. This will give the employee a sense of urgency and importance in their work every day. They will comprehend how their duties directly affect the company bottom line. Beyond measuring performance, updated job descriptions also assist managers in deciding when and how their staff will work remotely. There will be less concern of discrimination because a manager will clearly articulate why a worker can or cannot operate remotely (and at what frequency).
4. Write an exhaustive teleworking policy.
Without a comprehensive teleworking policy, employers will encounter more performance issues, as well as run the risk of compliance issues. A telework policy should include:
- How work will be delivered
- How and when meetings will occur
- How questions will be answered (whether urgent or routine)
- General scheduling and expected hours
- What technology and tools the employee will be required to use
A telework policy should include an acknowledgment page. Employees will sign it, and the employer will keep it on record with other similar files and resources. This acknowledgment process will ensure that everyone understands the expectations and requirements of remote work and there are fewer surprises and miscommunications.
5. Review workers’ compensation insurance policy.
For complete HR compliance, employers who want to allow remote work regularly must check that their worker’s compensation insurance covers claims from remote employees. Remote staff may still make claims, most frequently “trip and fall” or carpal tunnel-related. Another step that a hybrid workplace should take is to require all employees to maintain a clean workspace when working remotely, free of wires or obstacles one could trip over. There should be a working fire extinguisher easily accessible, and the employer should be permitted to visit the worksite within a few days after any workers’ compensation claims are made.
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