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How to Create an Employee-First Hybrid Office

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The hybrid workplace is the workplace of today, tomorrow, and long into the future. It provides flexibility that employees love. Plus, it helps businesses simultaneously reduce their operating costs and boost productivity and efficiency. 

There’s a lot to like about the hybrid workplace. Yet how you build your hybrid office can have far-flung effects on your company’s success. 

An employee-first hybrid office is key. This office ensures the wellbeing of employees is put front and center. The office allows employees to feel and perform their best. It also empowers businesses to get the best results from their hybrid workers. 

Why You Need to Create an Employee-First Hybrid Office

The sooner you embrace an employee-first hybrid office, the better. Many companies are expected to adopt hybrid workplaces in the months and years to come. This is due in large part to the fact that the hybrid workplace of the future is safe, sustainable, and flexible

A hybrid workplace gives employees opportunities to complete work tasks in a traditional office setting and outside of it. If employees have ongoing concerns about the COVID-19, they can continue to work remotely. Or, workers who prefer to come into the office frequently can do so. 

Meanwhile, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint by offering hybrid work opportunities. They can provide tips and tricks to help hybrid employees limit their electricity use and fuel consumption when they work at home, too. 

A hybrid workplace can help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance as well. Hybrid employees can spend less time commuting to work and more time at home with family. They can do so without sacrificing their workplace performance.

Tips to Create an Employee-First Hybrid Office

There are many things you can do to establish an employee-first hybrid office that meets your workers’ expectations. These include:

1. Learn from Your Workers

Find out what your employees want from your hybrid office. You can conduct employee questionnaires and surveys to collect feedback from your workers. Next, you can use this feedback to create a hybrid office that suits your workers perfectly. 

Consider your employees’ workplace rights relative to your hybrid office. Your hybrid employees must receive the same level of support as your in-house workers. 

2. Establish an Onboarding Program for Hybrid Workers

Make it easy for hybrid workers to hit the ground running. Create an onboarding program to ensure workers receive the tools and technologies they need to thrive. 

Your onboarding program can include steps for employees to follow when they begin working in hybrid roles. The program can explain what resources are available to help employees adjust to working remotely. It can highlight who hybrid workers can contact if they have concerns or questions, too. 

3. Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Communicate and host meetings with hybrid workers regularly. Verify hybrid workers understand their roles and receive ample support. If workers need help, they should have no trouble reaching out for assistance. 

Offer hybrid workers multiple communication platforms. You can communicate with hybrid workers via phone calls, emails, and other communications. In addition, you can use Slack and other real-time communication platforms. You can also leverage video conferences for face-to-face meetings.

4. Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Educate hybrid workers about the value of a healthy work-life balance. Hybrid employees are expected to perform a wide range of duties. At the same time, they should take care of themselves. This ensures hybrid employees are well-equipped to perform at peak levels without putting their health in danger. 

Encourage hybrid workers to take regular breaks throughout the day. These breaks enable workers to step away from the hustle and bustle of work. When workers return, they can feel revitalized and ready to tackle any tasks. 

Provide flexible work hours and other perks to foster a healthy work-life balance among your hybrid workforce. That way, hybrid employees can use these perks to stay on track and be great at work. 

The Bottom Line on Creating an Employee-First Hybrid Office

An employee-first hybrid office can be a difference-maker for your business. The office can help your company attract and retain top talent and achieve its desired results. 

Start building an employee-first hybrid office today. You can establish a hybrid office where workers of all skill and experience levels can succeed. From here, your company can reap the benefits of your hybrid office for many years to come. 

This blog was printed with permission.

About the Author: Dan Matthews is a writer, content consultant, and conservationist. While Dan writes on a variety of topics, he loves to focus on the topics that look inward on mankind that help to make the surrounding world a better place to reside. When Dan isn’t working on new content, you can find him with a coffee cup in one hand and searching for new music in the other.


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3 Ways Employers Can Support Worker’s Mental Health When Working Remotely

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As millions of people around the world have discovered in recent years, working remotely can pose all sorts of challenges in both our professional and personal lives. Not only have workers had to contend with a new schedule and environment, but also the mental health impacts that have arisen as a result of this alien approach to working. In fact, one guide revealed that 82% of remote employees suffered some symptoms of burnout whilst working remotely. 

While there are many things individuals can do to help keep on top of their mental wellbeing, employers can also play their part in supporting their workforce, even when that workforce is operating remotely. 

In general, companies are looking to do their bit to support the wellbeing of their employees. Research shows that 96% of employers have actively adapted HR policies in recent years to provide more mental health resources for their staff. But, only one in six people felt fully supported by these measures. 

So, what more can management do to better support their employees?

Establish effective communication channels 

With hallway meetings and water cooler catch-ups no longer a feature of day-to-day office life, it has become easier for employees to feel alienated from the company. Perhaps it’s unclear what is being expected of them, or maybe it’s just the lack of face-to-face interaction that causes this feeling. 

As an employer, it is important to establish and maintain healthy channels of communication. When working from home, this can be achieved through regular video calls and meetings, or simply through instant messaging apps. If possible, schedule in regular catch-ups which give employees the opportunity to talk about anything else but work, giving them a chance to switch off from professional duties with their peers. 

Keeping in touch with the wider team will help to create a feeling of inclusion and give employees a greater sense of purpose and direction when completing their daily tasks. 

Organize regular social events 

Spontaneous after-work drinks and  similar  activities were removed from our routines in the midst of the pandemic but with the leisure and hospitality sector up and running once more, scheduling regular out-of-work social events can be invaluable to not only individuals’ mental health, but also the team morale as a whole. 

If lots of your staff live close by to one another, why not suggest starting a walking group to get people out and about and mingling once again on a regular basis? Exercise-based incentives will not only help to reduce feelings of isolation, but it will also fight against other mental health issues, with exercise proven to boost your mood and alleviate feelings of depression. 

Consider individual’s needs when working from home  

When the entire workforce is operating from the office, everyone will stick to similar working routines and have similar needs throughout the day. However, when working from home, different factors and commitments will make it more difficult to enforce rigid policies which may not take into account every individual’s needs. 

It could be a case of allowing for flexible start and finish times for remote staff, or simply being mindful that homelife can get in the way during the work day. 

What’s more, when working in an office environment, all of the necessary equipment needed to carry out professional duties will likely be available within the office. This may not be the case for everybody when working from home, so it can be valuable to implement a work from home budget, which will help staff to feel more comfortable and also aid productivity in the process. 

All in all, it’s important to consider the needs and mindsets of workers during such an unprecedented time in history. With small changes like the ones mentioned above, your team could thrive more than ever before, while deepening their interest and commitment to their role and a company that has their back.

This blog is printed with permission.

About the Author: I am a freelance writer with a particular interest in employee welfare, and have created content for established companies based all around the world. I have a degree in creative writing, and am always eager to expand my knowledge around different subjects.


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“Pajama Workforce”: Insult or Badge of Honor?

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Wayne TurmelRemote workers get called a lot of things, from “telecommuters” to “lucky so and so’s.” Recently, an article in Talent Management magazine gave them the label of “Pajama Workforce” — because the perception of many is that people can do that work without even getting dressed, or can pretty much disregard the rules of work place decorum (not to mention hygiene) that those who schlep into the office must adhere to.

This perception cuts two ways: either those who work remotely are not shackled by the normal conventions of the traditional office or workplace (this is the ” death to the necktie and all who wear them!” school of thought) or they are undisciplined and slothful (”they’re at home in their bunny slippers while we do the real work”). As with most such polarities, neither is entirely true — or inaccurate.

In defense of the pajamas

Different workers have different work styles, and much of what’s appropriate depends on the work being done. If the only thing you’re measuring is the output, it shouldn’t matter if the person doing the work is in their pajamas, a three-piece suit or a smoking jacket and ascot, as long as the work gets done on time and at a high level of quality.

Another reason managers need to worry less about what their people are wearing is that remote workers tend to spend more time actually working. This includes attending conference calls at all hours of the day or night to accommodate timezones and teammates scattered hither and yon. If you’re going to drag me out of bed at 5 a.m. to be on a call with the plant in Dusseldorf, don’t expect me to be showered. In fact, you’ll be lucky if I’ve had enough coffee at that point to even be functional.

Studies suggest that remote workers put in more actual productive hours than people who commute into an office or central location, so get off our backs and worry about more important things, like fixing the VPN so I can actually get some work done.

In defense of shirts with buttons

Of course, perception is often the better part of reality, and if you’re wearing a Motley Crue T-shirt on a video conference with your VP of Sales, odds are there’s some perception there that won’t work to your advantage. Your communication style and the messages you send still matter, and in some ways they matter even more because your colleagues can’t see first hand how hard you work, so your opportunities to create strong positive impressions are limited.

Moreover, everyone discovers what works for them, and habits help dictate behavior. For example, whether they can see me or not, on days when I’m spending time consulting with customers or  delivering training, I dress in what I refer to as my “big-boy clothes.”  The routine of showering, grooming and dressing like a professional helps put me in the right frame of mind to act like one. Sure, it’s a mental trick I pull on myself, but it works for me. (Be honest — without some level of denial and self-delusion, most of us would never get out of bed in the morning.)

It often takes a while for remote workers — especially those who are new to it– to find what works for them. As managers, we need to check in with our people to see how they’re coping. Are they finding a work style that works for them? What are the best practices that will help them strike the balance between the freedom and comfort of working remotely and the routine and professionalism that you expect in their work? There are plenty of slackers in Armani suits — and a lot of hard workers in bunny slippers.

This article was originally published on Bnet.com’s Connected Manager.

About The Author: Wayne Turmel is obsessed with helping organizations and their managers communicate better, even across cyberspace. He’s a writer, a speaker, the president of Greatwebmeetings.com, and the host of one of the world’s most successful business podcasts, The Cranky Middle Manager Show, where he helps listeners worldwide deal with the million little challenges and indignities of being a modern manager. His book 6 Weeks to a Great Webinar: Generate Leads and Tell Your Story to the World is the leading web presentation book on Amazon.com. Follow him on Twitter @greatwebmeeting


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Tech’s New Frontier

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Image: Bob RosnerFlash mob. I was faintly aware of the concept. Mostly it had to do with pillow fights and Michael Jackson tributes. Then on Saturday I stumbled upon one. It left me remarkably hopefully. Really. And there is even a business point here, but first more on the mob.

My daughter Frankie and I were walking across the Seattle Center grounds. We suddenly noticed that there were hundreds of people milling about. You just got the sense that something was in the air. So we wandered over. The energy was palpable.

There seemed to be a focal point, at one end of the park. We decided to check it out. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a gymnast started doing cartwheels and forward rolls across the field. It was incredibly dramatic.

Then approximately thirty dancers started dancing to the song “Don’t Stop Believing.” Clearly there were two star-crossed lovers. When the woman leaped into the man’s arms the crowd exploded in joy.

Now is when the really freaky part starts. Hundreds of people started dancing to the music. It felt like every aerobics class that I’ve ever seen, that everyone else was privy to dance routines and that I hadn’t gotten the memo.

Remember, I had no idea what was going on. It was like a Broadway show suddenly burst upon us. Amazing, intoxicating, but most of all very fun.

Later I learned that this was called Flash Mob Seattle. That there were videos online that taught the dance moves and that the core group of dancers that started off the festivities had gone to a rehearsal. But that didn’t diminish the remarkable energy from the young kids, old people and everyone in between.

What does this have to do with work? I saw the power of our technology not to isolate people, but to bring them together. In a remarkable way.

Tools are tools. But I felt a sense of community in that gathering that I’ve hardly ever felt in my life.

Here is a link to another gathering that happened on the same day. Unfortunately you miss the initial gymnast, but you’ll get the rest of the performance (there is an ad at the beginning of it, but it’s for the local paper not me). http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/flatpages/video/mediacenterbc3.html?bctid=77243206001

Community, the amazing thing, once you get a taste of it you just want more and more. At least I do. It got me thinking about all the ways that people have to communicate, to collaborate and to create community. Here’s to an amazing new set of possibilities.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Also check out his newly revised best-seller “The Boss’s Survival Guide.” If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com.


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