We may be a tech company, but we’re a people-company first and foremost – which is why we understand that there’s much more to implementing a successful hybrid work model than the right technology! Here’s how management and leadership can create a healthy and productive hybrid work environment.
- Protect focus time
We’ve all had days (or weeks!) where it seems we’ve spent all our time in meetings and not really gotten much done. With hybrid working, this is even more of a risk because more communication is required, and meetings can be scheduled ALL THE TIME. Start by protecting focussed work time for your employees by giving them permission to block out parts of their schedule to accomplish these tasks. Introduce meeting-free days or timeslots where meetings can be booked – and stick to it as much as possible.
- Set work time expectations
If you’re available all day, the problem is… that you’re available all day. And with hybrid work, many people settle into a different routine – some like working in the day, some at night, some with set breaks. And that is actually a really good thing for productivity. After all, if you need an afternoon power nap to recharge and do your best work, that’s great! But there must be rules in place to keep everyone on the same page and avoid pushing people to burnout. For example, it should be clear that it’s fine not to reply to work emails and messages outside of set, core work hours.
- Record meetings
Allow attendees and hosts to record online meetings (with permission). Not only is this a good post-meeting reference that can cut down on time-consuming follow-ups, but they are a great resource for people to catch-up on if they are unable to attend. Record meetings with clients and send them out to your teams to guide their work, to include team members who are double-booked, busy on urgent tasks or who are ill, supporting asynchronous collaboration in a simple and effective way.
- Start signposting
Hybrid working can feel like a bit of a minefield for employees. For example, you might send a message to someone about a task, and they feel they must jump right on it, knocking other priorities down the list when it’s not actually that urgent. Oops. It’s all about clarity on prioritising tasks/replies and work hours. Have your work hours in your signature, tell people when they need to get something done by, and let them know if a reply is expected.
- Be open to feedback
This is a big change for employees – but arguably it’s an even bigger one for managers and supervisors. It’s important to create a culture of feedback and communication to support this learning curve for everyone. Part of this means actively getting to know what’s challenging for your team, get ideas on improvements, and stay on top of what they want and need. Management behaviours shape team behaviours and being out of office means that it’s essential to set the standards for what you want to see in your team yourself.
Developing, implementing, and supporting hybrid work models – that work!
Hybrid models are outside many people’s comfort zones, but that’s a good thing when it is supporting a more competitive, lean, and productive organisation. At Otto, we’ve worked with big and small businesses in every sector to develop custom hybrid models and implement the technology, training, and support needed to bring them to their full potential.