Despite what President Biden said on 60 Minutes, COVID isn’t over. A quick look at WHO numbers don’t instill the general public with the same level of confidence with which he declared the pandemic over. Companies will still have to wrestle with their own approach to a return to the office – whether workers will continue to work remotely, go hybrid, or fully return – a decision that’s further complicated whenever a new variant comes along. For now, it appears hybrid is the clear favourite. While remote work is convenient and favoured by employees, forty one per cent of them don’t have a choice. A permanent hybrid scenario also saves the company quite a bit on overhead costs.
While remote work is becoming exclusively more infrequent, it’s still implemented by software and other companies who often have employees working in different places in the world. Whatever your job may be, your schedule has and will likely change in the coming months or years. Here’s a guide to navigating new workplace schedules and get the most out of workers.
Coordinate Your Time In Office
One of the common misconceptions from bosses is that since remote work is now an option, their employees don’t want to come in at all. To get the most out of the dual working environments, however, it’s critical to synchronize them. Rather than let employees choose when they come in, set up a regular schedule with a rotation of employees dropping by the office to meet face-to-face. Do a survey to find out which days they’d prefer and try to incorporate their preferences.
Maintain Connections with Employees
Working remotely breeds isolation. We’ve all experienced it over the past year, and it’s important to let employees know that even though they’re out of the office, they aren’t forgotten. Meet with them individually to brainstorm some ideas for the future of the company. Set up a virtual group chat over coffee or meet them in an actual cafe. It’s always important to make employees feel essential. Since COVID, perhaps it’s even more so.
Foster an Environment of Transparency
Hybrid schedules allow a little more freedom for your employees and coworkers, which creates the aforementioned paranoia. Being physically distant from your team requires a lot of trust, and trust goes both ways. Let your team know how best to contact you and when you will respond to messages, so they’re never alarmed if you haven’t gotten back to them yet. Set a daily start and end time for work each day and be available to your teammates when you should be.
Once you’ve set some guidelines, however, a hands-off approach is best. The temptation to micromanage your employees while they’re physically distanced from you may be great, but hands-off management has led to higher productivity and less stress for employees altogether.
Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer