This detailed article is especially of interest to you if you are responsible for HR, a manager, a team manager or the owner of a company where before the pandemic the policy was for in-person work.

This guide on how to implement hybrid work plans will help you.

Now we have a few months of experience to be able to share what works and what doesn’t in other companies that have already tried it. As a consultant, I am observing what my clients are trying, what already works for them, and in the cases where I am advising, we have decided above all to take everyone’s opinion into account and communicate to the teams that new ways of working are not ” forever,” or coffee for all, that hybrid implementations will be subject to change as people learn what works for all stakeholders. If you need knowledge or ideas for your own company, I encourage you to read this article.

To a greater or lesser extent as we move forward and adapt to the pandemic, companies globally are grappling with how to bring their employees to the office and how to do so after working from home for so many months.

According to various surveys, most people want a combination of in-person and remote work.

So how do you successfully design hybrid work plans? It’s not just about hours and office space: leaders must consider inclusion, performance measurement, trust, CYBERSECURITY and more. To help you with this delicate and important topic, avoiding talent drain, poor performance and frustrations of both managers in charge and their staff, I have translated the Harbard Business Review article where expert Tsedal Neeley answers the most pressing questions of corporate leaders on the shift to hybrid work.

Tsedal Neeley is a professor of business administration and senior associate dean for faculty and research at Harvard Business School. She is the author of the book Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere and the HarvardX online course “Remote Work Revolution for Everyone.
A large amount of survey data indicates that most people want flexibility, that is, the opportunity to be able to do their work in a hybrid way, a combination of in-person and remote work. For example, Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index, a study of more than 30,000 people in 31 countries, found that 73% of respondents want remote work options. FlexJobs surveyed more than 2,100 people who worked remotely during the pandemic and found that 58% would leave their jobs if they couldn’t continue working from home at least part of the time.

The reasons are simple to understand:

  • Remote work has allowed people to eliminate stressful commutes
  • Enjoy more autonomy and more flexibility
  • Reduce daily expenses and increase quality time with family and friends

At the same time, many workers miss their colleagues, the camaraderie of the office, and the learning opportunities that arise from interactions. Questions about whether physical presence in the office is necessary for career advancement also become important. Finally, the shift to hybrid work marks a radical change for organizations where before the pandemic people worked 100% at work/offices and someone was not even allowed to work from home one morning or afternoon for reasons of a medical visit to a hospital. untimely hour, for example, something that would have been more beneficial for the company and more comfortable for the worker, these types of gestures are what make people commit and boast about the company.

With the pandemic “under control” and the return to what we can call normality, expert Tseda Neely answers the most frequently asked questions here. They cover everything from inclusive hybrid planning to bringing new people into the company; measure performance to foster connection and trust; and the use of digital tools effectively, as well as cybersecurity and the transformation of physical spaces. It is an essential guide for any leader managing this transition.

1.-What is the best way to approach hybrid work plan designs?

Leaders must design plans that match the preferences of their workforce and the core work their organization needs to do well, and they must be prepared to adapt as they move. That is how:

Survey everyone anonymously about preferences and intentions to leave.Ask questions that will help you gather information about the tasks that employees believe require in-person versus virtual presence, and assess the number of remote days that people might want each week. Additionally, assess whether employees would want to relocate if they could work from anywhere; This will help you anticipate whether you should consider developing a policy for this.

You should also ask yourself questions about people’s intentions to leave the company if the work arrangements do not fit their needs: “To what extent are you considering leaving this organization? To what extent do you plan to look for a new job if you are dissatisfied with your work arrangement? ”

Identify the principles of hybrid policies. Based on your data analysis and the core work of the organization, determine and convey the operating principles for a hybrid policy. Examples of guiding principles may include expectations that in-person days are needed to onboard new employees, targeted collaborative efforts, regularly improving connections with coworkers, and conducting selected innovation activities. Of course, some companies may find that those same activities can be carried out virtually depending on their culture, products and services. The issue is that each organization can identify the approach that best serves its stakeholders. As you develop yours, keep in mind that people resent having to go to the office just to stare at a screen or be on video calls they could have taken from home.

There is no one-size-fits-all path, but having centralized principles from the top will ensure equity and consistent planning across groups. Teams will have to interpret the policy for themselves, although their interpretations must be equitable and in line with the principles and needs of the organization. PepsiCo’s Work That Works program, for example, is designed to give teams that kind of autonomy.

Convey that the new hybrid work approach will be adjusted over time.Hybrid implementations will be subject to change as people learn what works for all stakeholders. This way you prevent people from getting stressed as soon as they think that something they think is not going to go well for them is permanent. Recent adjustments by some companies include suggesting general percentages of in-person or remote days per week, rather than prescribing a specific number (Uber), and offering permanent remote options in addition to hybrid plans (LinkedIn).

Likewise, the ideal in-person activity options for a given group will crystallize through experimentation. For example, it might work better than a team that meets for several consecutive days in person for a product launch and then works remotely for the following weeks. People will inevitably test and improve their approaches. It is crucial that you listen and observe at this stage.

2.-How can we be as inclusive as possible in hybrid work designs?

Hybrid work can create inclusion issues for organizations. Leaders have to think creatively and come up with proposals to allow employees who are essential in their positions physically in the company to work remotely on some days. Even doctors have been able to do this. Here are two options that may include most people.

Grouping and rotating.If workers have similar tasks that must be done in person, one approach is to group and rotate work to reduce the number of people who must be in the company simultaneously. This requires evaluating the responsibilities of a group as an interdependent system. For example, if there are seven IT professionals responsible for control room operations, allowing each person to work from home one or two days a week while the others provide coverage can maximize opportunities for everyone and avoid jealousy and bad feelings. relationships with colleagues from other areas who are allowed a hybrid option.

Once this paradigm shift is in play, it often becomes apparent that everyone has some tasks that do not require in-person presence. In some cases, organizations have improved their technical capabilities to enable remote or virtual execution of tasks that have traditionally been tied to buildings, factories or offices.

Provide remote days and training. For team members whose jobs are inextricably linked to physical spaces, allocating remote learning days and skill development trainings has proven to be a powerful act of inclusion. The added advantage is that organizations are investing in all employees, which increases people’s capabilities and loyalty.

3.- How can we help people make the transition to a hybrid work environment?

All teams transitioning to hybrid work should begin with a formal launch by planning the team’s steps and “journey.” Managers should hold launch discussions so everyone is aligned in 4 areas:

1.      Shared goals that make clear the objectives pursued by the team

2.      Shared understanding of individual roles, limitations and potential to contribute

3.      Communicate available resources, ranging from information to budgets.

4.      Standards that outline how the group will collaborate effectively with digital tools and ultimately how the group will remain connected personally and professionally.

And since hybrid collaborators are dispersed, it is also a good idea to evaluate performance to see how the group is doing and at the same time address what can be improved. I advise you not to impose yourself and to listen to them. Expert Tsedal Neely recommends doing this every six to eight weeks, since we are constantly changing and aspects such as integrating a new digital tool, responding to a sudden change in the market or incorporating a new team member, They affect the daily life that you had designed.

4.- What are the best practices for remote onboarding?

Starting a new job outside of a shared office can isolate new employees, whether their teams are hybrid or full-time remote. That’s why having a solid one-month plan for onboarding and integrating employees is essential. In large companies, where several people are hired in a short period of time, it is a good idea for the welcome to be shared. However, a single newcomer can also feel well integrated with good planning/onboarding.

Welcoming new employees to the company and Culture is a team effort, not just HR.

During this one-month period, the new employee should never be left alone: every day they should have activities with other members of the company. Managers should provide a diverse list of key members of the organization that includes all areas, so that the newcomer is found beyond their immediate team, it is a way to establish an internal network.

What has proven to be very effective is assigning a regular partner, ideally someone on your team, who connects with them on a regular basis and can answer any questions that you might not feel comfortable asking. to boss. It has also been shown that these interactions generate cooperation and synergies that promote a feeling of belonging and retain talent.

Make sure the new employee also has sufficient technological tools. Although it may seem obvious, a company that has not invested in the technology necessary to onboard new employees, allow people to work well from home, or committed IT support throughout the process, makes a bad first impression for new hires. , can be alienating and frustrating as it does not allow the person to do the quality work they have been hired to do.

5.- How do we ensure that proximity bias does not affect career advancement?

For hybrid work to really work, managers must understand that being out of sight doesn’t mean less efficiency or engagement. Remote members of a hybrid team often wonder if they are seen differently than workers who are physically in the company, otherwise they will have a harder time getting the boss’s attention. For example, they may worry that they will be evaluated more harshly or given lower performance evaluations than their peers in the office. It is the responsibility of managers to ensure that these fears do not come true.

Providing adequate feedback, developing and promoting people without proximity bias is crucial. Thus working remotely will not have a negative impact on relationships or task dimensions of work performance.

6.- How do we measure the performance of remote or hybrid employees?

When managers are not in the same space as their teams most of the time, they must measure performance based on results, group cohesion, and individual development. Come on, not much different from managing teams in person.

First, evaluate whether people are getting results; In other words, if they are achieving the goals and KPIs that were communicated to them and established.

Second, make sure the team functions as a cohesive unit. Learning to work together as a group, rather than as siled individuals, is what creates a successful team. Finally, it supports individual growth based on being on the team. When team members have the space to grow, expand their knowledge, acquire new skills, and learn new perspectives, their job satisfaction increases and they become more capable and engaged.

Once objectives in all three areas are clearly established, managers must empower, equip, train, and evaluate performance based on results rather than micromanaging each task. If you do micromanagement, you are proving to be insecure or distrustful and you take on more work than if you delegate more.

7.- How can we foster trust between teammates who rarely see each other in person?

In-person teams generally start from a more natural and innate mentality of being cautious/skeptical and trust is generated over time, however with hybrid or remote groups it is more advisable to do it the other way around: start with a mentality and acts that build trust in each other from the beginning and work from there. Of course, challenges may arise that affect our confidence, in which case we must adjust our expectations. This is so, because trust inspires confidence. It is a virtuous cycle.

Two types of trust have been shown to be most effective in groups of people who do not routinely share the same space: quick cognitive trust and emotional trust. Rapid cognitive trust is the willingness of team members to depend on each other based on sufficient evidence of reliability and competence. While quick trust is not as complete as that which develops when people can get to know each other over time, it is sufficient to complete shared tasks effectively.

In comparison, emotional trust is based on the belief that coworkers and managers care about us. When that kind of trust exists, people feel a connection, a sense of closeness.

As Theodore Roosevelt said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” #emotionalintelligence

Empathic words, actions, and disclosures that occur in meetings, emails, chats, or online posts can foster emotional trust. Hybrid group managers can also build trust with activities such as virtual lunches, coffee chats, birthday wishes, or even online games.

8.- How can we eliminate technological exhaustion?

Leaders designing hybrid and remote work options must understand that different tools support different goals and have different benefits and limitations. To avoid exhaustion, headaches and even difficulty speaking if employees go from one video call to the next, you need to stop holding so many meetings, and those that have to be held, that are well structured and organized and are not so long.

Remember Parkinson’s Law: We fill the amount of time we allocate to meetings. If we plan to cover a topic in an hour, we will fill that hour to meet our goals. If we cut that number in half, we will achieve our goals in that reduced time frame.

9.- How do we match digital tools with work needs?

Technology experts place digital tools on a spectrum from lean media, such as an email, to rich media, such as a video call, and from synchronous to asynchronous. An email conveys less information and context, while video and face-to-face interaction convey more information and context. Lean media tends to be asynchronous and is most effective in situations that require the direct transmission of information. Rich ones are usually synchronous and are suitable for situations with more ambiguity.

Lean means tend to work well for teams with close relationships, because they already know each other and don’t need additional context, and for teams with tension, because they can minimize exposure to potential conflict. Newer teams without any history, on the other hand, benefit more from visual media.

Lean media is also great for routine tasks, such as record keeping, while rich media is usually better for non-routine tasks, such as brainstorming and creative development (writing, design, etc.)

Managers need to include the entire team in discussions about which one to use in the future.

10.- How should leaders rethink office spaces for in-person work?

Hybrid working is transforming the physical design of office spaces to promote connection, collaboration and innovation. The key workplace design question is: What kind of space will get people out of the comfort of their home desks and into the office?

The answer, according to Meena Krenek, CEO and director of interior design at architecture firm Perkins and Will in Los Angeles, is a holistic approach that seeks to create experiences that allow everyone to thrive at the intersection of people and technology.

As a first step, Krenek says, do the work of understanding the changing perspectives, needs and preferences of people in the workplace, through survey data collected by the company.

Let’s see what Krenek advises us in general, she emphasizes that the hybrid world requires that our offices become a destination. To make the daily commute from home worth it: less office cubicle and more cozy furniture, natural light, good ventilation, gourmet coffee, outdoor patios. Optimal conditions for video calls, such as state-of-the-art monitors, headphones and speakers, and studio lighting, will also be key differentiators.

A shelving unit on wheels or a semi-transparent curtain can become a mobile wall. Smart boards that function as writing surfaces float in and out of spaces as needed.

Like any change, what is done is that what is done is pilot and not so fixed, this type of “flexible” office spaces can help leaders know the patterns and preferences of employees when using them.

11.- How do we keep our data and systems secure when people work from anywhere?

A recent HP study of more than 8,000 office workers revealed that about 70% use their work devices for personal tasks and vice versa. As a result, employees working from home are increasingly targeted by hackers; Global cyberattacks increased by 238% during the pandemic. Phishing and scan-exploit attacks are greater threats when people are not within the physical walls of a company. The old “moat and castle” approach, where companies protect the perimeter of their local office network, is no longer sufficient for remote and hybrid teams. In fact, it has been counterproductive for years.

In a hybrid remote world, the access point for bad actors may be the employees themselves (think phishing emails), not just the network architecture (think viruses passing through a firewall). All non-work devices used at home are potential attack vectors, especially for executives. This requires an approach that addresses the full range of access points individually, from corporate laptops to personal smartphones. Centralized policies should be clear to everyone and flexible enough to protect many different devices while maintaining a baseline for protection.

Cybersecurity policies should also provide visibility into user behavior while balancing the impact on employee experience and privacy. Security experts urge a periodic review of who has access to data and for how long. This is called least privilege access, which sets clear limits for each employee’s minimum access to data.

Finally, hybrid leaders should prioritize training employees in cybersecurity, so everyone knows how to detect and avoid attacks.

12.- What would the future of hybrid work be like?

Hybrid work is not just about changing workplace location. It’s also about changing some of our routines to be more efficient.

This will include the evolution from leading and collaborating primarily with people to also doing so with machines. It means thinking more ahead about how to use emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation (RPA). It also suggests that the nature of work will evolve to include the automation of daily repetitive tasks that take time away from more open-ended, higher-concept innovation work.

In that sense, hybrid work will increasingly be defined by how we work with machines. Everything is at stake. Tsedal Neeley anticipates that processes that are most ingrained in a company’s workflows today will be dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up with new tools and goals.

 

Sidney Madison Prescott,Global Director of Intelligent Automation at Spotify, refers to automating repetitive tasks as it gives us more time to do things that only humans can do. : think, ideate, create. For example, the accepted workflow for an accountant may include many hours spent consolidating countless reports and triple-checking for human errors that inevitably creep in. An RPA tool can automate the entire process, freeing up the accountant for other, higher-value work and significantly reducing the rate of human error and making the task easier to share with teammates.

The migration to hybrid work is often framed as a question of in-person versus remote options, with time and space being central elements of concern.

The mindset shift that hybrid working requires, and the changes we make because of it, will serve us well as the digital revolution further changes the nature of work through data and technology.

I hope that this detailed article that I have lovingly translated/adapted for you has been helpful to you, at least as a reflection on this bridge and that you see more clearly that in the exercise of good leadership, you are the first to adapt, listen , be humble, empathize and respect: it’s your job.

In the exercise of good leadership, be the first to adapt, listen, be humble, empathize and respect: it is your job.

Do not resist change, introducing it on time means gaining competitiveness, efficiency and talent retention. It is useful to take into account the opinion of the people on your team, not impose yourself, listen more, delegate more , measure, evaluate and redesign more. I know that only some of you have made it this far and that among you, some of you have already imposed 100% in-person work. Well, you still have time to introduce changes and allow a hybrid solution in your company to anticipate, catch up and increase commitment, effectiveness and happiness that will make your company more competitive. Another consequence of allowing people to work remotely part of the time is their increase in personal leadership and co-responsibility. If you need advice or support to carry out the design and launch, you can always ask an external consultant for help. At Aprofitalents, we are at your disposal.