A new study from the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) highlights the long-term impact the pandemic will have on the workplace and how leaders can adapt their practices to usher in the new ways of working.
The research finds that office workers perceive the workplace in a brand new light, with the key takeaway being that they no longer want to commute to the office five days a week.
Although workers have expressed missing the camaraderie of the office, having more workplace flexibility has become a priority. Managers agree too, as this way of working instills more trust in employees, leads to better quality meetings, and improves productivity.
However, any old hybrid work policy won’t cut it. The study finds that receiving employee feedback and applying their needs to work arrangements will be critical to a sustainable hybrid workplace.
More specifically, the research showcased six factors that can help organizations manage a successful hybrid solution:
- Inclusion: Employees must have equal opportunities within the workplace, no matter where they are working from. This avoids the possibility of in-person workers having an edge over those who are working from home.
- Job Analysis: Business leaders have a responsibility to review each team’s workstyle and apply work arrangements accordingly. For instance, not every project can be conducted with a distributed team, so being transparent about which hybrid arrangements can be applied to team members will be important.
- Technology: The past two years have taught businesses large and small that modern technology is essential in today’s economy. By investing into the proper tools, companies can ensure that their workers can effectively communicate and collaborate no matter where they are located.
- Well-being: The overall health of employees has become a huge priority in recent years. Leaders have come to terms that, without supporting the wellbeing of their employees, both their work culture and business suffer.
- Leadership and communication: Since hybrid work arrangements are a fairly new concept, leaders will need to adjust how they manage and communicate with workers. Opening a clear line of communication, taking a more personable approach, and conducting check-ins with workers will be crucial here.
- Human resources practices: Along with new leadership styles, HR departments will be required to adjust their operations to improve onboarding practices. Since workers may be operating asynchronously, HR leaders will have a responsibility to make sure that new workers fit in seamlessly.