As the world moves towards a hybrid work model, companies are left with the challenge of ensuring employee engagement despite the chaotic start.
This requires more adjustment and coordination than companies have needed in the past year to create new policies to promote inclusiveness and balance among all employees.
While most employees (82%) in hybrid work feel that their productivity is at the same or a higher level, 54% feel overworked, 39% feel exhausted, and 20% think their employers don’t care about their work-life balance.
It’s understandably an unprecedented challenge that many companies face, but you can do a few things to ease the transition for the employees and keep them engaged.
There is no doubt that the previous model for organizational communication in the in-house era is no longer adequate. You need a solid, transparent communication channel that reflects the company’s vision and instills belief in the employees, no matter if they’re working out of office or home.
It’s essential to create a culture of communication where people feel comfortable sharing their work status and whereabouts with their team — so people know when someone is available and when they are not.
But we need to remember that communication is a two-way street. According to recent research by McKinsey, 47% of the employees feel anxious and concerned due to the lack of organizational communication, making it 3x more likely to cause burnouts.
When you expect the employees to clearly communicate about their expectations and progress, companies should equally be open about the organizational changes, flexible work schedules and any other new policies.
Consider Individual Employee’s Needs
Companies need to be more empathetic and understanding of their employees. Be it a health issue, time-zone conflict or any other personal or professional difficulty, employees expect their managers to be considerate — which in turn reinforces their confidence and trust in the company.
You may have a team member who prefers working in the office over working from home or vice versa. Or there can be employees who are in different time zones or have serious health issues.
The best way to ensure their engagement is by respecting their preferences and giving them options regarding where and how they can work.
Discuss with them to find a solution that works for everyone, whether changing meeting times or scheduling one-on-one check-ins. Give everyone a voice in decision-making, like where to meet or what platforms to use in the future.
Check-In Regularly About Expectations
Because this is a new normal for many people, we’re all figuring out what we need from one another as we go along. Asking your employees how to communicate and when they prefer to get on calls is a start to making it easier for your remote employees.
The working hours can easily spill into their personal time for those working from home. So make sure to check in regularly with those employees, urging them to take lunch breaks, leisure time and vacations. You can schedule a video call every few weeks to discuss the current working style and how comfortable they are.
Checking in more often will reduce employees’ insecurities about their future in the company and will further make it easy for them to open up. Furthermore, it shows them that you care about them as a person and gives an opportunity to build a great working relationship.
Organize Virtual Coffee Meets
A hybrid work environment can breed disconnection, especially between employees. In the past two years, many employees have taken to social media to talk about how much they miss meeting new people and talking to their colleagues over coffee breaks.
To bridge this gap and bring the team closer together, companies can conduct virtual coffee meets, fun Fridays, and many other online interactive events that bring the employees closer to one another and the organization.
You can also give a free hand to those employees interested in organizing such fun virtual meets to create a sense of belonging.
Being empathetic, urging employees to set clear expectations and boundaries, communicating effectively and consistently, and encouraging can make for a more inclusive hybrid workplace.
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