The hybrid work model has become the standard return-to-office policy for a wide array of companies, ranging from Microsoft to Ford Motors. You will need to learn and cultivate ways to succeed in this new, largely untested work style.
The hybrid model generally entails employees coming into the office two or three days a week. While this may not be as autonomous as fully remotely working from home, it’s seen by many as a better option than going into an office five days a week.
Navigating a hybrid model will be a different and more nuanced experience, compared to the traditional five days a week in the office and, most recently, remotely. You will need to develop new strategies to manage your career. Since you will not be in the office full time, you may lose momentum in interacting with managers, colleagues and subordinates.
Here Is What You Need To Do To Succeed In This New Future Of Work
Politely request a time to speak with your boss to discuss what their plans are for this type of work style. It’s important to gain an understanding of expectations. Feel out your managers to ascertain what is important to them. Inquire about your goals, objectives and deliverables. Ask what they expect of you, so you can exceed expectations. You also want to make sure you have a solid understanding of how you can make them look good, as your manager is dealing with changes as well.
Since your in-office days may not be the same, it’s possible that you only see each other once a week. It’s too easy to find yourself out of sight and out of mind. This makes having a set routine of communications regularly one of the keys to succeeding.
If you are in the office more than your cohorts, you’ll benefit from the proximity bias. A person who is nearly always present, while others on your team are at home, will gain more attention. As you are around and available more easily, instead of your manager having to remember everyone’s schedules and then sending out invites for a Zoom call, it’s easier to offer the important tasks to the person who is right there at the time. It’s also reasonable to conclude that you’ll be offered higher-end assignments and considered first for promotions and raises, since management sees you considerably more than the others. If possible, a power move would be to ask for more days in the office for the extra face time.
When you are working from home, have a mutual agreement on how you’ll stay in touch with your supervisors. Since their preferred means of communication could be different from yours, set something up so there will not be the awkwardness of searching Slack, texts, emails and phone messages to keep track of the communications. Try to stay in continual contact, without being too clingy or needy.
Colleagues And Team Members
It’s not just the boss. Similar to keeping in touch with your supervisor, you’ll want to ensure regular interactions with co-workers to remain on the same page. If it has not been established yet, make sure you are in the office on the same days as the people you need to collaborate with. If not, it will be dispiriting, as you’re commuting several hours roundtrip each day, only to be by yourself sending out emails and going on Zoom calls, which could have easily been done at home.
With people missing each other, depending on their days in the office, it’s too easy to lose touch with one another. You can be the person to set up team activities, both in and out of the office. It could be as simple as ordering pizza to celebrate acquiring a new client, a team member’s birthday or a work anniversary. If you want to be more adventurous, plan a weekend hiking trip or beach outing. Cultivating a strong corps spirit will go a long way in building and maintaining a camaraderie for everyone.
If you are a manager, it’s imperative to keep in close touch with your team members. Set forth clear goals and objectives. Demonstrate empathy and patience, as the hybrid model is new to many people. The lack of routine could become a hassle, as people have grown accustomed to working independently at home for the last two years.
If the staff is composed of parents with young school-aged children, there will inevitably be conflicts that arise and you will need to show compassion and understanding. It would be helpful to offer flexible hours to help parents with dropping off and picking up their children from school.
Resist the urge to deploy invasive tattleware and surveillance software. This will cause your staff to distrust you and make them feel uncomfortable. Bear in mind, the United States is currently in one of the hottest job markets in modern history. There are around 11 million jobs available and 4 million people a month have been quitting their jobs in the Great Resignation.
If you do not show appreciation and gratitude, offer challenging work or a path to progress within the organization, it will be easy for a person to leave for a better opportunity. Once the person resigns, it will be challenging to find a replacement. It could take three to six months of searching, interviewing and onboarding a person.
The odds are high that the salary paid to the new person will be substantially higher than the person who left. Knowing it’s a hot job market and applicants hold the cards, expect that they’ll ask for a sizable premium to what they’ve previously earned. The candidates will also cite raging inflation, which has increased the prices of everything— from gasoline at the pumps to food prices. The odds are high that they may have another offer already in hand and their company will likely make a strong counteroffer, knowing how hard it is to attract someone new.
If you do not quickly replace the departed worker, the other people on the team will have to pick up the slack. Over time, they’ll feel resentful about the extra work without any increase in pay. This will cause them to become disconnected and not work as hard. When they’re working remotely, they’ll likely be spending a large part of their day seeking out recruiters and looking for a new job.
Do not worry too much if you are experiencing challenges. The country has been going through a tumultuous time and people are still stressed and anxiety-ridden. Have patience with your manager, co-workers and staff, as everyone is going through this new paradigm together.
After a while, things will kick in and you’ll feel more comfortable with the arrangement. There is also the chance that the hybrid model falls out of favor and both companies and workers start contemplating returning to an in-person model, where you are in the office, five days a week — or the company could come up with a new plan altogether.