More and more businesses are calling employees back to the office as we work towards reestablishing a state of normalcy after more than a year of working from home. Many teams are defining a new normal as workers transition to a hybrid work environment.
The new hybrid work model maximizes the benefits of working from home without compromising the long-missed collaboration and team-building aspects of being in the office. Below are five tips for setting up a productive hybrid work environment:
- Maintain a virtual office
If you weren’t already in the cloud at the start of the pandemic, chances are you made the switch last year. But if you didn’t, now is the time to establish cloud-based file management and other systems that support working across multiple locations.
Consider whether current systems are still a good fit. Perhaps you made quick decisions to keep everyone fluid during the unexpected shift to working from home. Evaluating your existing online products and subscriptions may uncover providers that aren’t living up to promises or functionality that isn’t great. Many new services that support remote work came out over the last year; you may find a new product that is a better fit or the opportunity to combine services, thus reducing your overall accounts to keep up with and potentially saving money.
If you haven’t already considered going paperless, now is the time! Encourage your teams to utilize electronic notes and project management systems to reduce the risk of leaving something important at home or losing it in transport.
- Keep calendars up to date
Ask employees to keep calendars current so there is transparency in when individuals are available or away. If your team meets regularly, ask everyone to communicate large windows of unavailability so colleagues can plan shared work accordingly.
- Maximize in-office times
At one point or another during the pandemic, we all came down with Zoom fatigue. Now that face-to-face interactions are back in vogue, try scheduling internal meetings when employees are in the office. You may consider establishing required in-office days for teams to use as preferred meeting times. While this doesn’t mean you can’t expect a video call or two when working from home, everyone can perhaps be choosier as to whether one is necessary or not.
- Remind teams of office policies
Review your office policies and decide if any items should be revised to support the hybrid work environment. Once reviewed, resend the documents to your employees, letting them know of any changes or a shift towards stronger enforcement as everyone transitions back to the office.
- Check-in with employees
The last year was rough on all of us, and after finally settling in, things are shaking up again by being asked to report back to the office. While the extroverts are excited about personal interactions, the introverts in your office may need an adjustment period to get used to being around groups again.
Familiarize yourself with the signs of burnout (fatigue, decreased work quality, increased absences, conflict with team members) and keep an eye out. If you feel an employee is at risk of burnout, consider reassigning high-stress projects or clients, encouraging downtimes, and providing opportunities for mini-breaks throughout the day. Resist sending employees emails after office hours so they can unplug and recharge.
The team at Michael Mackenzie Communications wishes you the best of luck during this exciting transition. We returned to the office on July 19 and are thrilled to be together again!
This post is courtesy of MMC Account Manager Jessica Brewer