It’s becoming a tedious catchphrase: the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we work. But the facts are clear: according to a Cisco survey of more than 3,000 organizations around the world, the number of companies engaged in remote work grew dramatically from 19% to 62%.
Now, organizations across the world are dealing with the fallout of the rise in remote and hybrid work arrangements.
One particular challenge that has arisen is how best to manage employees and teams in this new normal.
The question for companies is no longer whether they can successfully operate in a remote environment but rather how to ensure the viability of remote success in the long term.
In this article, we’ll explore how measuring success in a hybrid work environment will require new metrics, including the quality of your workspace, the amount of mutual trust within your organization, and reimagined employee accountability.
Hybrid Success Metric #1: The Right Set Up
One of the best ways to measure the productivity of your organization is to evaluate your current workspace. People do their best work in spaces they’re comfortable in.
When employees worked from home, they were able to control where, when and how they performed their job. Creating a successful hybrid model for your business will require you to ensure that when your employees come into your office, it’s the right setup for your team.
Here are three initial steps to take in evaluating—and improving—upon this metric.
Step 1: Ask your employees what they want
In building a successful hybrid workflow, the first—and arguably the most important—step is to ask your employees their preference on where they work.
For example, if you have 80% of your employees saying that remote work is important to them, this is your opportunity to listen and show that you trust them. Hybrid arrangements can help you offer all your employees options in terms of where they’d like to work.
If you don’t think that your employees are interested in remote or hybrid work, consider the study by EY that found that nine out of ten people want flexibility in where and when they work.
In addition, the 2022 Work Trend Index findings shared by Microsoft states that 43% of employees are somewhat or extremely likely to consider changing jobs, and that 54% of managers say leadership is out of touch with employees.
Step 2: Evaluate your company’s productivity model
The next step in building your hybrid structure for best success is to review how your team works.
For example, if you have a team that always produces the best ideas during in-person brainstorms, you’ll likely want to get that group together on a regular basis in an office environment.
By the same token, it’s important to understand the spaces in which your team prefers to work, so that when they do come into an office, there are areas they can be productive in.
At And-Co, we provide a wide array of different workspaces and seating options for this very reason.
With things like hybrid work becoming the norm, we believe that spatial diversity is the new open-concept. People can mimic their ability to work in whatever environment was most conducive to their best work at any given time of the day.
Step 3: Find a workspace that works for you
After you identify how your team works best, you’ll have a better understanding of how many days you split between remote and in-office work.
Hybrid arrangements have brought forth an entirely new challenge for leadership teams and HR professionals. Where and when should people come in?
One way to streamline your team’s schedule—and cut down your operational budget—is by committing to spaces that are more flexible.
That’s where dynamic workplaces like And-Co come in. And that’s not all shared office spaces have to offer.
For example, working at And-Co provides you and your team with an inspiring place that offers more than just an office ever could. Amenities offered by And-Co can help you get your team’s buy-in when bringing employees back to in-person work, including our:
- On-site restaurant for socializing and making informal connections
- A wellness centre that allows for team bonding
- Community events and professional development sessions that promote networking and mentorship
- Sustainability initiatives to make you feel good about where you’re working
Hybrid Success Metric #2: Two-Way Trust
Once you’ve created the hybrid work model that suits your company, the next important metric for you to consider evaluating is the mutual trust between leadership and employees.
It’s obviously important for managers to believe in their team. But it’s equally as important for employees to have faith in their leader.
Success during the pandemic saw employees who had been working together in-person for years—sometimes decades—shift to digital collaboration. And many did so with great success because there was well-established trust and social capital already in place.
But as your company evolves and new hires get brought on, people will become distanced from those experiences. It will be more and more difficult to sustain remote and hybrid work without new ways to build trust.
Here are a few ways you can help build better trust between colleagues in a hybrid work environment.
Create etiquette expectations
In order to foster trust within a hybrid team, everyone should feel valued, included and equal—regardless of where they’re working.
So, in order to avoid someone on video call feeling left out when an in-office colleague begins writing on a white board they can’t see, create formalized etiquette expectations.
These can include anything from using Miro to brainstorm with colleagues—instead of a white board—to guidelines on how to share ideas over a video call.
Check your leadership style
Many organizations used to thrive on a strict hierarchical style of management. But studies have shown that this form of leadership is a little lost in translation when not in-person.
If your team is remote or hybrid, ensure that the way you’re working with your team resonates with your set up.
Approaching your team from a place of inspiration or encouragement will likely help you motivate your colleagues more successfully in the digital age.
Foster informal interactions
With hybrid work arrangements, it’s important to take the time when you’re together in person to connect informally.
There’s a lot to be said about the small things we learn about colleagues while walking down the hall together or grabbing a coffee. These are the building blocks of social capital and trust.
In a flexible workplace like And-Co, you can leverage the on-site amenities that are ideal for this type of personal connection. You could head to NOX to get a quick bite with colleagues, or bond over the shared experience of a workout or meditation session at The Well.
Hybrid Success Metric #3: Reimagined Accountability
Measuring an employee’s accountability used to be a lot about their time spent in-office, at their desk. And even when your team wasn’t required to “punch a clock”, it often felt like the hours they put in were what you were evaluating them on.
Hybrid and remote work has helped shift the focus of what it means to be accountable. During the pandemic, managers were no longer able to clock when their team arrived and left the office. Instead, they were forced to trust that people were doing their jobs.
Of course, you could still monitor an employee’s “online status”—whether or not they were active on communication channels. But, overall, there seemed to be a realization that this metric wasn’t the best way to keep employees accountable.
Instead, accountability has been reimagined.
Transparency and communication
Holding team members accountable can be as simple as providing them with clear objectives. When people know what’s expected of them, they can focus on achieving their goals.
In addition, when leadership teams are transparent about company objectives, employees can better understand the impact that their work is having on the overall organization. This can help motivate and instill feelings of value among your employees.
By communicating what success looks like to your team, you can also properly evaluate your employee’s contributions to those outcomes.
This shifts the focus from measuring input and time spent as productivity, to outputs and tangible results.
Offer regular check-ins
With employees who aren’t in an office together five days a week, regular check-ins can help you keep in sync with your team.
By touching base with your employees consistently, you can provide the opportunity for your team to tell you of any roadblocks or successes they’re currently experiencing. If they’ve gotten off track at all, this is a great time to correct that.
Try providing a standing weekly meeting over video call with each of your team members. That way, you know it will always happen, regardless of where you or your employee are working that day. If you both end up in the office together, bonus!
Beware of digital burnout
Sustained screen time can be exhausting. And with remote work, the majority of us have experienced increased amounts of time in front of our computers.
The Work Trend Index reported that the average Teams user saw a 252% increase in their weekly meeting time since February 2020.
This means that it’s important to help your team maintain productivity by counteracting the effects of digital burnout. Make sure that they’re taking regular breaks, and encourage them to take walking meetings when they can—cameras off!
Being together in person is another way to offset digital exhaustion. For example, you could ask your team to come into the office whenever you have a project kick-off, or to celebrate a new quarter. Attending industry events or networking opportunities together is another way to ensure that you and your colleagues are getting face time with each other.
If you’re in search of a modern, full-service, and flexible workspace and community with sustainability at its core, book a tour of And-Co today.