The adoption of hybrid working in workplaces has proliferated in the post pandemic era. With the perceived increase in benefits that it brings about to employees, it is no surprise. Data from Gallup revealed that 59% of employees now work in a hybrid arrangement, an increase from 32% in 2019.
While it is clear that most employees have developed an affinity for hybrid work, it can blur the lines between personal and work lives. Gallup found that 4 in 10 employees prefer full autonomy on the ratio between time spent in office and at home and the remaining prefer some structure in place. This helps employees to manage their time effectively and plan their schedules, enabling them to work more productively. Whether your organisation has remote or hybrid work arrangements, here are some tips to help you work from home effectively.
Align on expectations with your manager and team
Transitioning into a hybrid work arrangement can be challenging in some workplaces, particularly where bosses are used to equate the amount of time spent in the office with productivity levels. To avoid the perception of you “slacking off” at work, communicate with your manager on his or her expectations. Discuss about work arrangements, the number of days he or she expects you in office as well as methods to define accountability and work tasks. Schedule biweekly meetings or even catch-ups to update your manager on your tasks, progress and work performance. Not only does this help to provide reassurance to your manager, it is also a good opportunity to seek feedback about your performance in spite of the hybrid work arrangement.
The same concept applies if you are managing a team. Set clear expectations and boundaries so that your subordinates are clear of your expectations when it comes to transitioning into a hybrid work arrangement. Similarly, check in with your subordinates regularly or schedule biweekly team meetings to check in on their work progress, challenges that they may be facing or if they need additional support from you as a manager. This enables you to keep abreast of each team member’s progress without micromanaging, while also ensuring that you are always there to lend them a helping hand.
Plan your work schedule around days you will be in office and at home
Make a routine of your workdays and working hours, particularly on days when you are working from home. More often than not, most of us lose track of time and end up working beyond our official work hours. This can develop into an unhealthy practice, particularly in the long run. After all, your personal life is equally as important as your professional life.
Plan your personal schedule as dedicatedly as you would for your professional schedule. Set clear boundaries on when you should stop working when at home. A useful tip is to focus on deep work when working from home – chances are, you will not have that occasional co-worker come up to ask you questions about a particular project when you are in the middle of something. Schedule discussions and meetings on days that you have to go into office. After all, numerous research has shown that face-to-face collaboration helps to encourage new ideas and solutions.
Build a support system for new and existing employees
Working remotely can sometimes leave employees feeling isolated and distant from their co-workers. This anxiety may heighten for new employees who are onboarded virtually and with few opportunities to know their co-workers beyond a professional setting through team lunches or pantry talks.
Build a support system to enable new employees as well as existing employees to assimilate into the hybrid work arrangement. Physical team bonding events, occasional team lunches, and even off-site business planning events are a great way for employees to interact. Likewise, scheduling face to face team meetings or encouraging in-person collaborative discussions can help to put your new hire at ease and enable them to work from home effectively.
Leverage communication tools to engage with co-workers
The adoption of hybrid work arrangement has also seen the proliferation of collaborative workplace tools such as Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. These tools are a great way to stay connected with your colleagues, clients and co-workers. After all, visibility is still an important factor in who gets promoted within the office. Hence, leveraging these communication and collaborative tools can be helpful to help you check in with your co-workers and managers.
The work landscape today has shifted and hybrid work arrangements are here to stay. While it may not necessarily sit well with everyone, a clear hybrid-work policy along with effective communication to employees may ultimately help to maximize employees’ productivity levels and increase the performance of the workforce.