Posted in Industry Trends

It’s the summer of 2021 and we are all still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. After the creation and distribution of the COVID vaccine, we are seeing more companies bringing their employees back into the workplace part-time and this produces an array of questions as we adapt to our new hybrid work culture.

What constitutes an at-home work responsibility, and what should we be doing when we are in the office? How do the higher-ups gauge our productivity when we are not working under their supervision all of the time? How does this affect salary negotiations, performance reviews, promotions, etc.,? If some people on the team are fully remote, how are they sure the people coming into the office aren’t given an unfair advantage? What do you do to incentivize people who prefer working from home to entice them to come back into the office?

The bigger picture here is that employers need to devise a dynamic that optimizes employee output and productivity without taking away the flexibility that many employees have come to expect. When the pandemic had just begun and companies sent everyone home, it was the same setup from everyone: they worked completely remotely and met via a video-streaming platform like Google Meet or Zoom. There was a steep learning curve for many as they scrambled to learn these new technologies while making sure their day-to-day workload and responsibilities were uninterrupted. Now that some of us are back in office, how do we know how to delineate our tasks that up until this point, have only been done entirely at the office or entirely at home?

Organization. This seems like a simple solution but it’s up to the employee to figure out what is necessary to handle in a collaborative space, like project work or meetings that involve multiple people or departments, and what can be done without input from others, such as admin-based tasks like checking email and logging your time.

Furthermore, how do you quantify the added value of all the social cues and dynamics gained from working in a group setting that can’t be recreated digitally? Studies show that younger employees could benefit from working in an office setting as they tend to work on self-directed assignments and have less interaction during their workdays than previous generations.

Martha Bird, a business anthropologist at ADP, advocates that a good solution to mitigating the lone-wolf workstyle of millennials and the younger generations is to arrange for a yearly retreat or summit that requires in-person interactions. She stated, “The dynamics of in-person team collaboration will always remain vital. You know there’s really something wonderful and energizing about coming together in the same space.” This will encourage positivity and familiarity among teammates who don’t work with one another in the same space full-time. Studies have shown that employees who have respect for their coworkers and satisfaction within their jobs are more productive.

One way for employers to increase employee efficiency in a hybrid work environment is for companies and managers to focus on the responsibilities and workload of the individual instead of focusing on policy. As companies adapt to post-pandemic life, the policies that we used to follow — for example, everyone is in the office from 9 am to 5 pm — are becoming less important. All employees have their own priorities and pressures. Allowing them to decide what items get handled where is a personal decision and one that will differ depending on the individual. It’s more important than ever that employees hear that their managers are sensitive to their needs.

As policies change, we will see new rules and the evolution of a new American workplace. Instead of the view that collaboration only happens in the office, we will see the creation of huddle rooms and collaboration spaces. We will see companies give their employees the flexibility to work when and where they want to. As we start to adapt to our less rigid work structure, companies will ultimately decide what is working best for them post-pandemic.


Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/90657901/how-to-maximize-productivity-in-a-hybrid-work-environment