One of the benefits of the coronavirus pandemic was the spike in the hybrid working culture. Today, more than 65% of remote working employees believe they are more efficient working from home, which signals that the hybrid working culture is more beneficial than the previously existing fully on-site.
A recent survey by Citrix, a workspace software company, revealed that compared to 63% of in-office workers and 60% of remote employees, 71% of hybrid workers have a strong connection with their peers, making them want to work harder.
One thing is clear from these – hybrid work arrangements will be the norm for the next couple of years. This creates the need for effective management of the promotion of happiness and health of hybrid workers.
Challenges in fostering a Happy and Healthy hybrid workforce:
According to the Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review, some management challenges of a hybrid workforce include getting staff motivated, coordination, monitoring performances, creativity, communication, nurturing trust and inclusion.
Regarding communication, the reliance on technology has spurred communication and bonding challenges. Forbes reveals that about 50% of human communication is hinged on physical body language, which virtual interactions eliminate. Also, the fact some people are more comfortable speaking up over screens than others create a barrier to communication in work settings. This is because when people resume back on-site, there is a loss of connection/communication chain is lost.
With respect to coordination, it has been noticed that collaborative work requires coordination, and hybrid working eliminates it. Small exchanges and minor decisions made when working in the office are limited in a hybrid setting.
Collective creativity, Staff motivation, and Monitoring staff performance are greatly endangered by hybrid working. While brainstorming and staff motivation and monitoring performance may occur virtually, programmed times and formats for generating ideas and the effect of these are usually fluid and are not often as fruitful as when they occur in person.
Pathway to Maintaining and Managing a Happy and Healthy Hybrid Workforce:
In addressing the challenges of a happy and healthy hybrid workforce, some action points will be appraised. They include:
- Conducting Surveys:
Hybrid working can be stressful, especially considering that children and pets may pose a great disturbance during work. However, conducting surveys can help employers understand how employees are coping from home and how active steps can be taken to ensure that their lives are made easier.
- Promotion of Technology:
One of the benefits of technology is the speed of performance. Samsung’s recent study with Oxford Economics indicated that a lack of technology devices poses a serious concern for employees.
Investment in consumer-grade technology permits data to be leveraged easily, capturing employee feedback frequently, detecting a potential problem with an employee, and enabling managers to act immediately.
- Team Rotation and not Individual Employee Rotation:
This can be done by rotating teams that will be required to work in the office for a particular week or month. For instance, if six teams exist in an office, Teams 1 & 2 can be required to come on Month A, while Teams 3 & 4 on Month B, and Teams 5 & 6 on Month C. The subsequent month, Teams 1 & 3 and so on. This will enable each team member to bond with persons outside his originally assigned team. This ensures that teams have the opportunity to meet physically and promotes a productive and collaborative workplace culture.
- Employing flexibility to improve Employee Morale:
When employees feel trusted on remote working days, their morale is boosted and stress relieved. Where employees have flexible working hours to allow for a longer time to do activities important for their mental health, they can deliver office work effectively.
- Encourage wellbeing initiatives:
Encouraging wellness initiatives contributes to the mental and physical well-being of team members in both remote and office environments. This can be done by providing fruit or office snacks for employees who are in the office, access to wellbeing apps, and the initiation of team-building events.
Considering all that has been discussed, managing a healthy and happy workforce is feasible. With the change in work patterns and the adoption of hybrid working, employers are compelled to ensure that their employees are happy while doing their respective obligations – as this will avoid a great resignation.