Hybrid – Your Way 

leadership transition Sep 07, 2021

- By Sophie Pinkoski

When implementing a hybrid work place, there is always going to be a learning curve. We’re all wandering into the unknown with a completely new working office model. Suffice to say, things might not fall into place right away. Growing pains are natural in situations like these. Keep in mind that your vision for your hybrid model won’t always work in practice. This is a perfect opportunity to embrace creative ways to navigate when something doesn’t work out the way you hoped.

It takes trial and error to truly find out what’s most effective for your team. 

A significant aspect of implementing a hybrid model is ensuring your plan is advantageous to everyone involved. It’s easy for cliques to form among those workers who regularly go to the office and those who are generally working remotely, whether intentional or not. This is all the more challenging when introducing new talent onboarded during the pandemic who may have never met their team in person before.

But you shouldn’t just be considering your new arrivals when making people feel welcome in a hybrid workplace.

We’re all in the same boat; this is uncertain terrain for everyone and it’s up to you as a leader to set the tone for how things are going to be from now on. 

Here are some tips for a practical shift to a hybrid office: 

Come into the office with a purpose – As a leader, you have the power to influence when your team comes in and why. You set the precedent for what necessitates coming into the office.

Prioritize the types of meetings and projects that require gathering in person and what can be done remotely.

This will narrow people’s focus and maximize their time in the office, rather than having them come in for the sake of it. Using that time and space for deliberate innovative collaboration will increase productivity as well as your team members’ clarity in their individual roles. 

Avoid favouritism – With the variation of working styles being accommodated in a hybrid workplace, your team members are sure to notice patterns in terms of who is given more freedom to choose than others. Some might see this as special treatment.

Working remotely during the pandemic has helped individuals hone in on what’s best for their individual situation.

Be clear that the hybrid model is in place to best leverage everyone’s strengths in the way they work, which will look different for each individual. If someone feels they’ve been unfairly overlooked, however... 

Accept regular feedback – Feedback is going to be key to evolving your hybrid model. Foster an environment where team members feel comfortable enough to share their opinions and concerns. That way, when you set aside time during meetings to request feedback, they will be more open to addressing issues and open a dialogue on how to fix it. Once you receive that feedback, be sure to follow up with them with a plan of action for how you intend on applying it so that team members know they’re being heard and their contributions are being put to good use.  

Set up a buddy system – In a hybrid model, it’s easy for workers to fall through the cracks. They’re less obviously physically present in meetings than those in person, which means they may go overlooked. By pairing them with someone regularly in office, they’re kept up to date within the organization’s network. For new team members this is especially pertinent, as it will help them integrate more seamlessly into the office culture and socialize them within their team. 

Entering into a hybrid workplace is like the first day of school for most of us. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start. We’re all learning from this experience. All we can do going forward is grow and change according to that learning curve. If one well-intentioned plan doesn’t work out, there is always room to try something else until you find what’s right for you and your team. 

 

Further Reading: 

5 Practices to Make Your Hybrid Workplace Inclusive, Harvard Business Review 

Why Your Onboarding Process Needs to Adapt to a Hybrid Workplace, enboarder 

How Employee Onboarding Will Change in a Post-pandemic Hybrid Workplace, Willis Towers Watson 

How to Maintain Psychological Safety in a Hybrid Workplace, Trello 

Culture in the Hybrid Workplace, McKinsey 

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