In the last few years, we have seen seismic shifts in how, where (and why) we work.
The standard Monday through Friday office job is seemingly a thing of the past (for most), and there’s a new sheriff in town … the hybrid workplace.
Hybrid work is shaking things up and creating dynamic shifts in how managers and leaders work with their teams to continue to create cohesive work. There are new expectations and new challenges, so leaders must develop new skills and tactics to improve their leadership in the workplace.
So we’re diving in.
The New Normal: Hybrid Work
A hybrid work environment refers to a flexible workplace model that combines remote and on-site work options for staff and gives the employers a competitive advantage during recruitment.
In this setup, employees have the freedom to work from both their homes and physical office spaces, depending on their preferences, job requirements, and team needs. Contrary to popular belief, hybrid work still fosters work-life balance, collaboration, and leverages productivity and efficiency over time.
According to some statistics:
- 74% of people preferred hybrid work
- 20-25% of the workforce can WFH for 3-5 days a week without any decline in productivity.
- Organizations embracing hybrid work have a 35% increase in employee productivity
Crucial Skills for Hybrid Leaders
But hybrid work isn’t the preferred choice for everyone, so leaders working in hybrid positions need to make sure they develop strong soft skills to meet those needs:
- Communication: Clear and open communication is critical to bridging the gap between in-house and out-of-house staff. Keeping everyone connected and in the loop sets the foundation for a continued team atmosphere.
- Empathy: Demonstrating empathy towards employees’ unique circumstances fosters a positive work environment. Acknowledging and supporting their work-life balance (and challenges to that balance) will contribute to their overall well-being and job satisfaction.
- Be Approachable: Hybrid work environments can bring unpredictable challenges. Leaders must remain adaptable, embracing change and guiding their teams through transitions with a positive attitude.
- Active Listening: Listening is a fundamental skill that leaders must possess, and actively listening to employees’ concerns and feedback builds trust and shows that their opinions are valued.
- Conflict Resolution: Hybrid teams may experience communication gaps and misunderstandings. Effective leaders must be adept at resolving conflicts promptly and diplomatically to maintain a harmonious work atmosphere.
- Recognition and Appreciation: Recognizing employees’ efforts and appreciating their accomplishments, whether through virtual celebrations or personalized messages, boosts motivation and morale.
5 Ways to Improve Your Leadership with a Hybrid Workplace
Thriving in a hybrid work environment demands a blend of soft skills, adaptability, and tech-savviness.
Leaders in the hybrid era have the opportunity to shape a work culture that values employee well-being, collaboration, and growth, so in addition to the above, leaders should focus on a few key fundamentals:
1. A Clear Communication Strategy:
Effective communication is the backbone of successful leadership in a hybrid work setup.
Managers should establish a clear communication strategy that guarantees seamless information flow among team members, regardless of their physical location. Combining communication tools that meet individual employee needs, such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and email, keeps everyone informed and engaged in the way that suits them.
Schedule regular virtual team meetings to discuss goals, progress, and address any concerns.
2. Embrace Flexibility and Inclusivity:
In a hybrid work environment, it’s essential to embrace flexibility and inclusivity in your everyday policies and practices.
Acknowledge that employees have diverse needs and circumstances, and be open to accommodating them as much as possible. This may involve offering flexible work hours, providing the necessary tools and resources for remote work, and ensuring remote employees are equally considered for opportunities and promotions.
3. Encourage Collaboration and Team Building:
Foster a collaborative and connected team culture by organizing virtual team-building activities and initiatives. Activities help break down communication barriers and build trust among team members, even if they are physically apart. Encourage cross-functional collaboration and create virtual spaces where employees can share ideas, celebrate successes, and support each other.
4. Technology Proficiency:
As hybrid work relies heavily on technology, it is crucial for managers to invest in the right tools and provide proper training to employees. Ensure that everyone has access to the necessary software, hardware, and training to effectively carry out their roles in the hybrid setting. Create learning opportunities for you and your team when introducing new technology trends and tools that can enhance collaboration and productivity – and most importantly, ask them for feedback!
5. Trust Building:
Trust is the cornerstone of successful hybrid teams. Leaders must trust their team members to deliver results regardless of their physical location and empower them to take ownership of their work. Building trust virtually can look like:
- Touching base with each employee 1-1 every week
- Recognizing efforts and achievements of employees regularly
- Putting tools and systems in place that give employees a non-threatening way to share their opinions
- Acknowledge employee’s ideas, innovation, and improvements often
Getting used to the new norm isn’t easy… and it takes a little time, effort, and dedication to the process. And if getting your hybrid team on track feels overwhelming …
Just know that StellaPop can help.