Hybrid working | Productivity in a changing working world

Productivity in a changing working world

Hybrid work­ing is the sub­ject on everyone’s lips at the moment. How will it work? What’s the most effec­tive office to remote split? Will it be per­ma­nent? And, of course, will staff be pro­duc­tive when split­ting their time between locations?

So what is hybrid working?

Hybrid work­ing is a way of com­bin­ing office work and remote work­ing to bet­ter fit the needs of the organ­i­sa­tion and its staff. It can look dif­fer­ent depend­ing on the organ­i­sa­tion, some may choose to have set rules such as ‘all staff come into the office 3 days a week’, whilst oth­ers may let staff choose which loca­tion they work in on a day to day basis. How your hybrid sys­tem will look should be con­sid­ered care­ful­ly, so you ensure it works as well as pos­si­ble for your staff and your organisation.

Staff pro­duc­tiv­i­ty is key for an organ­i­sa­tion to suc­ceed, so if staff are dis­tract­ed, unset­tled or stressed at work, this can have a huge knock on effect. But how can you com­bat this? How do you ensure your staff are pro­duc­tive in a hybrid work­ing environment?

Whilst we don’t have some mag­ic for­mu­la for pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, we do have some use­ful hints and tips that can help your organ­i­sa­tion boost pro­duc­tiv­i­ty dur­ing hybrid work.

Have reg­u­lar check-ins with your staff

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is always impor­tant in an organ­i­sa­tion, whether work­ing ful­ly in the office, remote­ly, or a bit of both. Clear and reg­u­lar con­ver­sa­tions are key to ensur­ing that every­one is aligned in their goals and per­form­ing as they should be. By man­agers and staff hav­ing check-ins at least once a month, your organ­i­sa­tions can keep a clos­er eye on its peo­ple, so if any­one is strug­gling, steps can be tak­en to help.

Lis­ten to what they’re saying

If staff are strug­gling / have any block­ers, be sure man­agers and HR are lis­ten­ing to them. It’s no use hav­ing a month­ly check-in for staff to talk to their man­agers, if noth­ing comes of it when they raise issues. For some, hybrid work­ing will be a strug­gle for many dif­fer­ent reasons.

Some peo­ple will want to work from home full time, oth­ers may be strug­gling with a less than ide­al home work­ing set up, and then there will be those who don’t like split­ting their time between two places.

Make hybrid rules as clear as possible

What­ev­er you decide to do around hybrid work­ing, be sure there is no ambi­gu­i­ty around your hybrid work­ing rules. All your staff need to know what is expect­ed of them, and why you have made these deci­sions for your organ­i­sa­tion. This way there will be no room for mis­un­der­stand­ings with­in teams.

Ensure they have every­thing they need

If your team is split between two loca­tions, ensure they have every­thing they need both in the office and wher­ev­er they are work­ing remote­ly. A lot of staff will have moved pieces of equip­ment from offices to their home. Prac­ti­cal­ly speak­ing, they won’t be able to move large pieces of equip­ment (such as chairs, mon­i­tors etc.) back and forth every week.

Some­body who is uncom­fort­able in their set up is unlike­ly to be as pro­duc­tive as pos­si­ble, so if your organ­i­sa­tion is imple­ment­ing hybrid work­ing, you’ll need to pro­vide your staff with every­thing they need to work com­fort­ably at both work­ing locations.

Con­sid­er staff mem­bers dif­fer­ent home set ups

Whilst you may be hop­ing you can find a one size fits all solu­tion for your hybrid work­ing mod­el, this may not be pos­si­ble. Whilst many peo­ple enjoy work­ing from their homes, and find it a pro­duc­tive place to work, oth­ers don’t feel this way. Con­sid­er par­ents who have chil­dren at home dur­ing the work­ing day, or younger work­ers who have house mates, or are work­ing from their bedrooms.

If some­one is telling you their remote set up doesn’t allow for a pro­duc­tive work set up, lis­ten to them, and if pos­si­ble, allow them to be in the office as often as they need.

Think about tasks, rather than days

Rather than ask­ing staff to come into the office, for exam­ple, every Mon­day and Thurs­day, or a min­i­mum of 3 days a week, instead you could ask them to be in the envi­ron­ment that best suits the task they are car­ry­ing out.

If staff have meet­ings that would bet­ter be per­formed face to face, or they’re work­ing on a project that could be ben­e­fit­ted by co-work­er input, then it makes sense for them to be in the office for these tasks. But if they are writ­ing up a report by them­selves, or mak­ing a call that requires a qui­eter space, work­ing from home may suit this better.

There­fore staff should review the tasks they have on dur­ing the week and ask them­selves based on this, would this day be more suit­ed to office work­ing, or remote working?

In con­clu­sion, to dri­ve pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in a hybrid work­ing envi­ron­ment, man­agers and HR should be aware of their staff’s needs, lis­ten to their issues, and do all they can to sup­port their team. In 2019 research by Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty deter­mined that staff are 13% more pro­duc­tive when they are hap­py, so mak­ing sure staff are hap­py in their work­ing envi­ron­ment is key to productivity!

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