- Hybrid work is a large part of the future of work, but building team cohesion can be challenging when people are split between the home and the office.
- How do you ensure remote employees remain ‘visible’ and aren’t overlooked for new opportunities? How do you communicate effectively with everyone, regardless of location?
- In this Q&A with Allwork.Space, Rhiannon Staples, CMO of Hibob, an HR tech company, offers advice and actionable tips to help ease the transition to hybrid work.
Hybrid work is the present and the future of work. After a year and a half of working remotely, many workers are wondering what the new dynamic of hybrid work will look like, especially if not everyone will head back to the office.
Suggested Reading: Hybrid Work Checklist: What Have We Learned From Working From Home?
Among those who choose to keep working remotely, a common concern is how they can maintain rapport and stand out while their colleagues head back to the office.
Allwork.Space spoke with Rhiannon Staples, CMO of Hibob, an HR tech company, about how remote and hybrid employees can remain visible within their teams; how to maintain rapport with managers; and tips to ensure they are included equally for growth opportunities within their organizations.
Allwork.Space: Many workers started a new position remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. What are some things they need to keep in mind as they head into a new office?
Rhiannon Staples: Many employers and HR teams are finding the sense of culture and camaraderie created from in-person interactions can result in positive outcomes. Especially for young professionals who started remotely, it’s a great idea to keep in mind that going to the office has positive social benefits. Heading into the office will give you the opportunity to build a network of alliances and friendships that could help you throughout your career.
Additionally, having quick and in-person accessibility to your colleagues and upper management helps with collaboration and drives creativity. The real facetime experience brings quality to the workplace and can be valuable for mentorship and growth.
Allwork.Space: As more workers begin to return to the office, how can workers who choose to keep working from home ensure they stand out and remain visible with their managers and team members?
With the rise of hybrid work, developing good communication skills is critical. Good, open communication can help improve productivity and keep organizations and teams running smoothly. This includes offering help and raising a hand to support coworkers and company initiatives. Although you may not be in the office with others, staying in touch often — both about work and friendly conversations — will reflect positively on your ability to contribute to the team.
Allwork.Space: Despite the fact that we have been working remotely for over 18 months, many remote workers still feel like they need to work more to prove to their managers and colleagues that they are “actually working”. Many, as a result, believe they have less chances of being promoted. What are some strategies remote-first employees can implement to ensure that they are considered for new positions within their companies?
With a new hybrid approach, it’s important employees build in time for meaningful conversations with a manager at least once per week. These frequent touchpoints will help your manager better understand your strengths, areas for improvement and gauge whether your priorities meet up with the team’s goals.
Practice getting involved in setting your own personal goals for the quarter, and then work with your manager to come up with a plan as to how you’ll achieve and measure them. Find ways to promote your work — a weekly or biweekly roundup of what you have delivered and what you have planned is a great way to raise a profile with management and keep the business focused on the value you are adding.
Allwork.Space: How can employees and teams keep the rapport going between home working + in-office working?
In order to feel comfortable with virtual or hybrid work arrangements, employees need to be willing to participate in maintaining interactions with team members.
It’s easy to stop by someone’s desk for a quick question when you’re both in the office, and that idea can be replicated while remote with tools like Slack. Leverage Slack for quick questions, rather than relying on emails — this will keep shorthand discussions going even when you’re not in the same physical workspace as your coworker.
A lot of information is shared in the halls or at the water cooler at work, and that’s essential to connection and rapport. Find ways to stay connected and celebrate successes and news — both personal and professional.
Allwork.Space: What are some actionable tips for employees to succeed in a hybrid setting, especially if they are more used to remote work?
Think about how you can best balance your time between office work and at-home projects. Allocating time in the office for collaboration and group work will allow you to benefit most from being with others. Save independent work for when you are remote — you’ll have more control over your environment so you can work in silence if you need, or turn on music if that helps you think more clearly.
Consider how to be present in-person when possible, for meetings. It can be hard to be part of a meeting when you are the only one on Zoom. If you have the chance to participate in-person, do so. If not, discuss with the meeting organizer to be sure that you are included as an active participant in the discussion.
Allwork.Space: Any parting thoughts?
Hybrid work can be a positive experience, even for those who may be new to it. Hibob’s data shows that 73% of managers believe two or three days in the office and the rest working from home would be the preferred hybrid work model. Employees and leaders alike know that the office still has a purpose — socialization, collaboration, and building and maintaining company culture. Now, it is the responsibility of leaders and HR teams to make the office a place people want to return to so that everyone can strike a positive and productive balance.