The world is continuously evolving, and so is the workplace. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, all the more that organizations needed to keep up with the fast-paced and demanding environment to ensure productivity and efficiency despite the widespread impact of the virus. Working at home has become the new normal, and so have hybrid workspaces.
Collaborating in a hybrid workplace
A hybrid workplace essentially combines office work with remote work. Different organizations may have their own definitions and strategies to call their office a hybrid one. But in general, there’s usually a core group dedicated to making sure office work remains fruitful. The rest of the organization, on the other hand, have flexible work schedules. Some might work at home permanently; some might need to come to the office every once in a while.
The challenge lies in ensuring collaboration and efficiency despite the flexible and mixed setup. Your team might no longer share the same office or meet in person daily. But collaborating effectively is a must for a smooth and efficient workflow. How do you do that? Here are some smart tips that can help you get started:
1. Provide flexible working spaces
A hybrid workplace means flexibility. Your organization might need to rethink and reinvent the design of your existing office, especially the common areas where the team collaborates and brainstorms to come up with new ideas. Consider the comfort and mobility of everyone in the company and not just the people who come and report in the office. (1)
There should also be enough fluid movement between your remote team and in-house team. You may keep your traditional conference rooms, but make sure they have everything you need to accommodate the fluidity and versatility of your new setups. An example would be video conferencing and other online tools to keep you connected with your remote team. Needless to say, when you think of a hybrid office, it should be all about modern workplace and how you can continue to reinvent it to benefit your organization as a whole. (2)
2. Establish clear communication
One crucial challenge of a hybrid workplace is establishing clear communication to make collaboration among employees easier and more effective. Keeping the team on the same page can be tricky since you have a mix of remote and in-house workers who have their own set of priorities and tasks to complete. To ensure everyone in the organization won’t have a problem communicating, establish rules that the whole team, including yourself, should observe. (3)
One rule you can implement is to always be online on your team’s collaborative platforms. Update your status if you’re stepping out, busy, or doing something not work-related so people will know when to reach out. Schedule weekly meetings and encourage your employees and colleagues to share their tasks, insights, and recommendations to make collaboration more straightforward and efficient. (4)
Another strategy is to identify which means of communication your team will use for specific purposes. For example, if the concern isn’t too urgent, email should work. For high-priority issues, video conferencing is the best way to reach out and get a response immediately. Assign a messaging platform where you can create group chats per department. These techniques might help you in establishing clear communication and keeping everyone in the loop. (4)
3. Utilize collaboration tools and software
Thanks to technological advancements, it’s no longer impossible or challenging to collaborate remotely. Your hybrid workplace should invest in these advancements that can significantly boost effective operation and collaboration. For instance, if you want to make sure everyone in the team commits to their deadlines and assigned tasks, you can use project management software. It keeps your projects organized no matter where your employees are. (4)
You can also utilize cloud-based tools to keep your business data and files in a centralized virtual location. Doing so makes it convenient for team members to gain access to files and other resources they need to do their job. (2)
4. Always be open to feedback and suggestions
One key aspect of maintaining a hybrid workplace is the openness to feedback and suggestions from staff and workers, be it remote or otherwise. Aside from seeing it as a way to improve your process and workflow, openness and transparency can also build trust in the organization. It gives the impression that, as an employer, you prioritize your employees and how they feel about the changes you implement in the workplace. In return, you can expect them to collaborate better and work harder to achieve the common goals of your company. (5)
A collaborative hybrid workplace isn’t something you can achieve overnight. It requires consistent improvement. But it’s manageable and attainable as long as you consider the key aspects that can make or break its success. Clear communication is one of those critical aspects. You should also always strive to provide a flexible working space for the team. Utilize tools and software that boost collaboration. And lastly, be open to feedback and suggestion to build trust in your team.
- “What’s the Future of Work? A Hybrid Workforce”, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/355442
- “How To Design Your Hybrid Workplace”, Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmosley/2021/07/16/how-to-design-your-hybrid-workplace/?sh=53b329991eb4
- “Four Tips For Communicating Successfully With Remote Teams”, Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2021/07/16/four-tips-for-communicating-successfully-with-remote-teams/?sh=266bd1a130bb
- “4 ways to prepare for success in a hybrid work environment”, Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/hybrid-work-success-best-tips-2021-10
- “What is hybrid work (And why do people think of quitting if you don’t offer it)”, Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/385258