As another year of uncertainty draws to a close, it’s more clear than ever that flexibility is critical to ongoing productivity at work. Nimble organizations have thrived during the pandemic, while hidebound companies have struggled to keep pace. Hybrid setups may have began as a contingency, but they here to stay.
Forbes recently named hybrid work as its number one workplace trend of 2022:Expert Bernard Marr breaks down the reasons why a hybrid model has become dominant. “When it comes to where we work, there will continue to be three main models – centralized workplaces, decentralized remote organizations, and the hybrid “best of both worlds” approach. What’s likely to change in 2022 is that it’s more likely that we, as workers, will have the choice rather than being forced to align with whatever model your organization has chosen out of necessity.” (Are you wondering what else is ahead this year? Check out our roundup of 5 key trends for the post-pandemic workplace.)
While the emphasis is on employee choice — for the moment — employers are the ones driving the trend. “Organizations are clearly undergoing a change in their relationship with the idea of a centralized workplace. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, 69% of large companies expected an overall decrease in the amount of office space they would be using, according to research by KPMG.”
It’s important to remember that new safety requirements mean that companies need to increase the amount of square footage per employee at their offices, even if fewer employees are coming in overall. Even if your employees are “back” in the office, it’s not likely to be for five or even three days a week.
Although it can take some getting used to, the benefits of hybrid work outweigh the downsides. Whether your organization is working a hybrid schedule, embracing fully remote work, or calling staff in five days a week, Blueground’s stylish furnished apartments in major cities worldwide offer total comfort and flexibility. All of our move-in ready homes have everything our guests need to stay on task, including discrete work and living spaces and fast Wi-Fi. In addition, all of our apartments have fully equipped kitchens, making it even easier for your workforce to embrace healthy habits by cooking themselves lunch or ordering in from one of our trusted partners.
Both managers and employees are doubling down on remote work given the greater freedom it allows. Forbes cites a survey that shows an overwhelming majority of workers prefer remote or hybrid setups:
“A report recently commissioned by video messaging platform Loom found that 90% of employees surveyed – including workers and managers – are happier with the increased freedom they now have to work from home, suggesting that this is likely to be a trend that is here to stay as we move into 2022.”
As hybrid work gains in popularity and becomes the norm, managers need to adjust. It can be helpful to start by taking a team-wide approach to coordinating schedules and go from there. But whether or not an employee is physically in the office or working from home is only the tip of the iceberg.
Given that hybrid work is quickly becoming the new norm, it’s important to take a long-term planning approach to maximize the benefits. Industrious has put together a useful guide to leading hybrid teams that can help managers capitalize on time-management and increase flexibility for their entire team. Here are some key takeaways for managers:
If some employees are in the office for a regular meeting while others are teleconferencing in, the playing field may not feel equal. Industrious suggests upgrading technology so that telepresence doesn’t feel like being in the background.
In the interest of fairness, important team meetings or all-staff sessions should be virtual by default. Beyond that, be sure to schedule major meetings in a way that is time-zone friendly, especially if your employees are also acting as caretakers for children or older adults. It’s also important to check in after the meeting to see who spoke up.
Industrious identified performance reviews as another tricky gray area where telepresence can put an employee at a disadvantage. “Align performance expectations across employee groups and make sure performance metrics are implemented consistently across the board.” Instead of the once-a-year heart to heart in the conference room, managers should consistently note which workers are meeting their deadlines. In-office schmoozing is no substitute for actual deliverables.
Hybrid work is only going to gain momentum in 2022, so it’s important to make sure that your organization is ready to roll with the changes. Following these simple tips should help improve employee engagement and ensure continued flexibility through next year and beyond.
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