Although people have been talking about hybrid teams for many years the references to it were few and far between. The last year has changed that remarkably quickly with managing hybrid teams being on the tip of many people’s tongues. Many businesses have been really surprised by how successful remote working has been. They are also seeing and considering the long-term benefits of not re-opening all their offices or office space, even when it is easier and safe to do so.
Across a variety of businesses, it has been reported that overall productivity increased or at least remained the same, companies have seen a reduction in the number of sick days and as a significant by product; a reduction in their business carbon footprint as fewer people travel to work or will travel to work as regularly in the future. Who has used a photocopier in the last year?
For the business, benefits range from a reduction in overheads, not through losing people but reducing expensive office space, parking space and payment and business travel. Employers are recognising that they no longer must tolerate London’s high rents and cost of living for example. It is reported that The City of London are so concerned at the number of empty offices they are looking to convert them into housing to help revive the area. This is supported by a YouGov survey that showed 66% of London workers want to be able to work from home once the pandemic is over, which includes 19% that would want to do this full time.
Employees have, overall, proved to employers that working from home they can be just as effective if not more productive. The rapid necessary upskill in using remote communication such as Zoom, Skype or Teams has happened and, although not always reliable, there are few that now do not know how to change a virtual background, share a presentation and any anecdotes whilst still getting their message across? The achievement of a better home/work life balance proving beneficial to everyone and less travelling means employees are less tired and potentially more focussed.
There is a ground swell of very large organisations that are recognising that for their people their work life may never be the same. With future policies of ‘work from anywhere’, or ‘we expect you to work from home 40% of the time’ including financial institutions, tech firms, travel companies and professional services networks.
Some organisations are surveying their employees to see what they would like to do, and research carried out by YouGov survey and CIPD are finding that although some people want to return full time to the office, others would like to permanently work from home and a third category that would like to be able to work between the two. In fact, the CIPD ‘Embedding new ways of working post-pandemic’ shows that some 40% of employers said they expect more than half of their workforce to work from home regularly after the pandemic which stood previously at only around 5% (Office of National Statistics). The YouGov survey also highlights that 81% of people who had never previously worked from home prior to the pandemic will want to be able to continue to do so even if it is not every day.
So, for the organisation and the employee there are significant benefits but as a manager how complicated does this make it for you? For most organisations this will mean a significant culture shift, new policies and practices. Research has flagged that those who are working or chose to work from home feel they may get overlooked for promotion as they are not so ‘visible’ as someone in the office. How do you communicate effectively when you have a hybrid team? How do you ensure you allocate work evenly and fairly and make sure that even as a hybrid team, your team work as one, to achieve your business results? What does hybrid working do to the team dynamics? How do you avoid the ‘us and them’, the daily catch up, buying the team coffee? What if one of your managers is the one working from home but many of the team choose or must work from the office? Will this work?
At OnTrack we have worked internationally for many years and often in the remote environment, so not only do we have the knowledge and ability but the experience to help you manage this new situation of an en masse shift of work force away from the office.
We can help you and your teams embrace new ways of working, provide you with the tools and techniques to be an inspiring leader and ensure your hybrid team work as one, work effectively, productively and continue to deliver results.
Contact OnTrack today to discover more about our learning approach and how we can support with the transition to Hybrid working.