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Hybrid work is here to stay, but how can organisations best cater for it?

One of today’s critical organisational challenges is to enable teams to work in an efficient and sustainable way from a combination of office, home and co-working space.  

Hybrid work requires organisations to rethink how to structure work communication, digital and face-to-face presence among team members, and to consider how to manage long-term effects on individual and team functioning.

How should organisations accommodate to make hybrid work a smooth reality?

A challenge or an opportunity?

A recent study by Accenture, of more than 9000 global workers, showed that those who worked remotely 25-75% of the time, reported better mental health, stronger work relationships, experienced less burnout, and were overall somewhat better off than those individuals working either fully onsite or fully digital. Furthermore, 83% identified a hybrid model as optimal.

What this study tells us, is that when done right, hybrid work can have great benefits. However, succeeding with creating a hybrid workplace that works is not random luck, and is certainly not self-evident. It needs to be designed and carried out consciously.

Strategic implementation of digital solutions

For the companies and workers that have a high digital maturity, who are good at integrating technology into their work life and work routine, it becomes a resource, enabling efficiency and productivity. However, if integration of technology is dissatisfactory, or is hard for the workers to use, it becomes an extra challenge.

In order to create an efficient hybrid workplace, working strategically with integrating technology and good digital solutions is important. Make it a priority to train team members so that they see it as a resource. Consciously integrate it into the work routine, and into the work processes, so that it can be seen as a helping tool for the employees, rather than extra work. 

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Make sure team members don't isolate themselves

Research shows that we tend to communicate less when we work alone. This can lead to feelings of helplessness, frustration, and less team cooperation. The risk, which increases for those who work offsite much of the time, is that they end up feeling isolated.

We can not work one hundred percent collaboratively all the time, either. This would be very exhausting. It is necessary for all of us to have our ´me´ time, in order to process information, and lay out the work, before continuing the process of sharing and collaborating with our co-workers. However, one needs to stay mindful about not falling into the trap of not communicating, even though this tends to fall naturally for us when working from home. 

Create good routines for meetings, whether hybrid, onsite, or offsite

To succeed with the hybrid workplace model, having good routines for conducting hybrid meetings is essential. This is important to create good social bonds amongst team members, for effective communication, to provide - with essential information, for general brainstorming, and the opportunity for team members to ask questions, however big or small they may be.

The workplace must be optimised so meetings can be arranged easily and effectively, whether onsite, offsite, or hybrid. Routines such as always greeting the digital participants first helps involve them.

Creating and maintaining good team relationships can be challenging if the team members hardly meet in-person. Therefore, it can also be a good idea to arrange frequent physical meetings and events where coworkers can meet, whether it be in a social setting or work setting.

Be consistent with which communication tools to use, and how to use them

Most teams and organisations use several communication tools– Email, Slack, Teams, Canvas, Whatsapp– the list goes on. But team members may use these differently. Some are more chatty over Slack, others prefer informal and straight to the point emails.

This can lead to a lack of information flow, and groupings within the team. Therefore, organisations must be mindful about how to configure information inwardly.

That includes which tools and digital platforms that are used to share and receive information, and how they are used. You don't want to risk some of your team members falling out on essential information!

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