How to make a hybrid option work for everyone
The year 2020 made us all rethink how we work, and what we consider a work location. Some people who never considered remote work found themselves suddenly transitioned into a remote work or hybrid work location status. Others continued to work on site under new circumstances and restrictions.
What is hybrid work?
Hybrid work is when an employee works in more than one location, usually a combination of working from home and an on-site company location.
Now, some people who never considered a hybrid schedule find themselves thinking, “I think I’d like a hybrid schedule.” Others are thinking, “I can’t wait to return to an on-site work location full-time.” The experience of working remotely taught some employees that it is not for them, while others began to embrace the idea.
Supervisor and leadership approvals needed for hybrid work
- Step 1: Consider the position and the duties required. (Can the work effectively be performed remotely?)
- Step 2: Consider the impact on your team or the services you provide if you work a hybrid or remote schedule. (Can you maintain support for the department and your team without causing others to do more work to cover for you?)
- Step 3: Discuss the possibility of hybrid or remote work with your supervisors. (What is your strategy to stay productive? Create a possible hybrid or remote work schedule for review.)
- Step 4: Complete the online request form. Review and discuss the hybrid and remote work agreement statements with your supervisor.
- Step 5: If approved, communicate your new work schedule with your colleagues. Discuss a strategy for communications and collaborations. (What communication tools will you use such as MS Teams to collaborate and share projects or files?)
- Step 6: Regularly evaluate how the hybrid and remote schedule is working for the employee and the department.
- Some supervisors found themselves managing a team that was on-site only, remote only or both on-site and remote. Supervisors are tasked with evaluating the services of their departments to determine if workers can successfully work off site. They must review job functions to see if the job can be accomplished with some remote work days on a routine basis without negatively impacting the team or the services.
Benefits of hybrid work
Employees on a hybrid schedule can maintain healthy relationships with their team, manage their on-site and off-site schedules, create a productive routine, maintain effective work-life boundaries, complete tasks in a timely manner, and collaborate with their team or other colleagues. It may require a little more effort, intentionality, planning and check-ins, but it can be done.
Ultimately, if hybrid work benefits an employee, it also benefits their leadership, supervisor and colleagues.
What co-workers and supervisors need to know
There are a few considerations for supervisors who want to support hybrid work options. Plus, employees who work on-site play a role in continuing teamwork with colleagues who work remotely sometimes.
How supervisors can support hybrid work
- Discuss reasons to come to the on-site location (outside of the routine schedule).
- Share understanding about trainings, meetings, events, collaboration opportunities, access to equipment or documents, equipment maintenance.
- Make sure the employee has the technical skills, equipment and access to be productive.
- Discuss the importance of good time management, project management and communication.
- Make sure employees know hybrid work is not a substitute for child or elder care.
- Discuss on-site work space allocation, setup and maintenance (may have to share a space).
- Discuss parking permit options and expectations.
How on-site colleagues can continue collaboration
- Include the hybrid worker in projects, meetings, team-building activities and decisions.
- Select a communication tool for routine contacts and projects that is accessible by everyone.
- Make sure the hybrid worker has enough notice when meetings are moved to on-site locations.
- Create connection opportunities that engage all members of the team.
Considerations for the supervisor of the entire team
- Make sure everyone knows the entire team's work schedules or arrangements.
- Determine team communication and project management tools.
- Determine when and how meetings will be hosted.
- Discuss the team, projects and department goals regularly.
- Make sure all workers have the resources they need to be effective and productive.
- Make sure everyone knows the office or department expectations.
- Remember to prioritize and support your employees. Your employees will remember how you treat them.
- Be flexible when possible with projects and schedules.
- Have a process for changing work schedules and locations outside of a routine.
- Regularly check on the individuals’ morale and work load stress.
- Be aware of possible burnout, needs for extra training and boundaries with work time.
- Consider the ergonomics for all team members.
- Regularly check on the mental health and well-being for all employees.
- Discuss progress and other work related concerns or issues in a timely manner.
- Look for ways to reward employees and acknowledge accomplishments.
- Consider your impact versus your intent.
- Expect your team and yourself to need time to adjust to the new schedules and routines.
- Evaluate how things are going and make adjustments as needed; communicate about needs for improvements and celebrate successes.