But the cow is out of the barn, people! Most employees who have tasted productivity, freedom, and no commute time, want to continue to reap the benefits of working in a hybrid team. Technology has helped to make connection, interaction, and teamwork possible. Of course, many of us yearn for human connection, we just don’t want to be back in the office five days a week to get it.
Thoughtful organizations are developing policies and practices to support the new normal of working in a hybrid workplace. Virtual leaders must learn how to lead a virtual team or a hybrid team. The elements that need to be considered in these plans include:
Technology: Does every employee have access to the right equipment to work from home? Do people have access to reliable, high-speed Internet? Are enterprise-wide solutions available for collaboration and video conferencing? Are IT people available who can help troubleshoot problems with hardware and software? Are help desks staffed with knowledgeable service providers? Is the organization capable of hosting virtual events and producing online training?
Security: Have information security issues been adequately addressed? Has the organization developed practices to reduce the risk of stolen or lost information?
Flexibility: Are there defined days and hours when people are expected to be in the office? Or are there parameters for determining whether and when it is appropriate to work from home?
Health and Safety: Is the organization clear about health and safety requirements for employees? For example, is it important for people to prove that they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus? Will employees be required to wear masks at work? Is it acceptable to store food in the team’s refrigerator?
Career Visibility: What systems have been established to ensure that all employees, whether they work from home or work onsite, have career development and mentoring plans in place? How will the organization ensure that access to decision makers and senior leaders is provided?
Diversity and Inclusion: How is the organization creating a level playing field for all employees? For example, are closed captions available for hearing-impaired employees in virtual meetings? Is it acceptable for employees to manage their time, accomplishing their work at the time that suits them best? Or does the organization require work to be completed within prescribed hours each day?
Virtual Leadership: Have virtual or hybrid leaders learned how to effectively manage virtual teams? Have they been trained in effective approaches to delegating tasks and coaching people virtually? Do they know how to run an interactive team meeting? Are they able to deal with performance issues and challenges when everyone is remote? Are they skilled at leading virtual teams without micro-managing people? Can they lead a purpose-driven work culture that celebrates employees’ success?
We invite you to contribute to our understanding of these kinds of hybrid workplace issues. Please take ten minutes to complete our Hybrid Workplace survey when it is emailed to you next week. We plan to share the results of this survey in August or September.
Join us at our next complimentary webinar, After the Pandemic: Leadership in a Hybrid Workplace, on Wednesday, July 21, at 1:00 pm ET / 10:00 am PT as we dive into the latest research about hybrid workplaces and the challenges of leading virtual or hybrid teams.