Last summer—in the throes of the COVID-19 craze—Gartner published the results of a survey of 127 company leaders from human resources, legal and compliance, finance, and real estate. Why? The global research and advisory firm had polled department heads to get a sense of what the workplace of the future would look like, and the results were clear: ready or not, hybrid workforces were coming.
To be specific, 82% of respondents said they intended to permit remote working at least some of the time, which meant the ability for employees to work from home was about to go from luxury to necessity. Clarke Executive Services Group has been able to help many companies smoothly make that transition but have heard from plenty of others who chose to go it alone about the challenges they encountered along the way. Using our experience, we’ve put together the below guide that can act as a resource, especially when it comes to systems for hybrid businesses.
What is the first thing to focus on as you transition?
One of the initial areas to break down when businesses move toward a hybrid work schedule is communication. In the days before COVID-19, most of us took proximity for granted. The ability to stop by someone’s desk or office to ask a quick question was both convenient and a welcome distraction. Now, the landscape has shifted.
Those side conversations and quick stand-up meetings must be replaced with written updates in software platforms and video chats (more on those later). Leaders of businesses operating in a hybrid schedule must not only over-communicate to employees—covering everything from goals and expectations to policies and procedures—but must also stress the importance of employees doing the same as they complete their day-to-day tasks.
What is the biggest pain point you’ll need to address?
The days of employees crowding into a small conference room and sharing a cake in honor of a colleague’s birthday are probably over. Like it or not, those little celebrations and departmental gatherings are instrumental in building and maintaining company culture. So, without everyone in the same office at the same time, what’s a company to do? The answer is the same thing you’ve always done—just virtually as necessary.
A company’s culture is not defined by the building in which its people sit. It’s defined by how the company treats its people, the way that it makes them feel, and how it empowers them to succeed. If you put the same effort into company culture with employees remote as you did with them in-office, your team’s morale will be just fine.
What are the most important tools and platforms to add to our mix?
We’ve already talked about the importance of both communication and maintaining a feeling of togetherness, so it stands to reason that the must-have tools will help you accomplish that. Zoom and Microsoft Teams are platforms that make video chatting among small groups seamless, but providers like ON24 and Orbits take things up a notch with virtual event functionality that supports hundreds of people. Meanwhile, virtual project management platforms like Asana, Trello, Basecamp and Jira provide documentation portals and keep employees on the same page regardless of location.
A successful corporate remote transition is possible.
Moving to a hybrid workforce with employees spread across multiple locations may seem daunting, but it’s doable. In fact, companies that do it right often find their employees to feel more satisfied and productive. As a remote company that has overcome the hurdles presented by telecommuting, Clarke Executive Services Group knows what it takes to get there—and we want to help you.
Learn more about what we offer and how we can guide you in transitioning to a hybrid business model.