In the Office or Out: Tips for Making a Hybrid Work Environment Work

It looked like the pandemic was nearly over – at least over enough for companies to consider bringing their employees back to the office. The past several months saw employers focus on the Return to Office (RTO) debate: require employees to return to the physical office, remain remote or something in between? Recent studies from Mercer, Gartner and others indicate a combination of required in-office time and remote work has emerged as the preferred workplace model, and companies are preparing their facilities and their employees for the next normal.

Well … who knows what the next normal will be. The recent rise in COVID-19 cases has some companies delaying the return to the office. But in office or out, over the next several months, companies will continue to face challenges with managing a work environment that we haven’t experienced before. While a hybrid work model offers many advantages, it also increases the potential for confusion, frustration, work silos and decreased levels of connection among employees who are working from different places on different schedules.

One thing is certain: the work environment will continue to evolve. Returning to the pre-pandemic “normal” is no longer an option. Smart companies are now accepting rapid change as part of the new normal and finding ways to create equal (but not necessarily identical) workplace experiences for employees working in different locations. Here are some tips for making a hybrid work environment work better – whenever it’s implemented.

Preparing for change and unforeseen challenges

Building the hybrid work experience

Your company values should guide your actions and decisions. It’s a good time to re-examine your values and the behaviors that support them to identify any adjustments that need to be made to support new ways of working and changes in employee expectations that have emerged from the pandemic.

Overall, offer flexibility and provide guidance, but empower teams to determine what works best for them. Listen, experiment, learn and adjust. It’s going to be an interesting year.

Contact us for more information about hybrid work environments and employee engagement.

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