2020 was a year of huge change. Overnight, almost every business on the planet had to overhaul their operations, with many embracing remote ways of working for the first time ever.
Now, a new day is dawning in the world of work. Following the success of remote and flexible working, hybrid models are rapidly becoming the ‘new normal'. But this comes with its own challenges. Will hybrid work stifle creativity and communication? Or will it present more accessible opportunities for employees to come together and do great things?
Here are three tips for how leaders can become champions for communication and collaboration in their hybrid workplace.
1. Reimagine your culture
While the initial switch to flexible working models was borne out of necessity, it’s now time to refine and stabilise those practices.
Communication and collaboration happen effectively when employees feel confident and empowered to contribute. If your current culture doesn’t encourage that then you run the risk of employees (and their good ideas) fading into the background, especially if they aren’t physically present during the working week.
Before you change a single thing in your organisation, look inwards. Do employees put forward ideas and give feedback? Are they clear on business goals and the value of their input? If not, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
2. Be the change
As more employees return to physical work locations, the communication dynamic will change again. It’s important to remember that, while not everyone is in the same room or office, they are present and working.
Therefore, leaders should ensure that they include all employees in every aspect of work-life from meetings to communication methods. They must also practice what they preach to ensure this ethos trickles down to the very foundations of their teams. Otherwise, they run the risk of their remote employees becoming less engaged or, worse still, voting with their feet.
3. Embrace technology - but keep it human
Work tech is a great enabler and the pandemic saw the adoption of digital technologies advance by several years in just a few short months. But not every platform or piece of software is the silver bullet to hybrid working. In fact, the rise of digital workplace platforms shows us that employees want more streamlined ways of working rather than just more tech. With this in mind, leaders should be intentional about devising new ways of working and the tech they choose to facilitate it.
While hybrid working is most definitely here to stay, clear processes, procedures, and tools need to be in place to make it a success. Crucially, business leaders need to be sensitive to the needs of their human workforce in the wake of dramatic digital transformation to ensure that communication and collaboration doesn’t fall by the wayside in this brave new future of work.