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How to Engage Employees in Hybrid Work Models

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Hybrid working models are becoming increasingly popular for companies transitioning out of the conditions of the pandemic. With so many employees preferring to retain flexibility and work remotely, at least some of the time, many businesses are striving to find ways to make this ‘new normal’ work.

One of the key factors for success with hybrid working models is finding ways to keep remote workers feeling engaged, enthused, motivated, and satisfied with their job. The good news is that remote staff can feel just as enthused and motivated as in-office staff, but it takes the right management approach. 

Here are six ideas to create and maintain employee engagement within a hybrid working model:

1. Communicate clearly, regularly and authentically

These days, we can be instantly connected to people remotely in a variety of ways, such as via email, direct message, Zoom calls, online work platforms, and more. Of course, it is still typically easier to communicate regularly with someone sitting on a desk in your office. Nevertheless, in this age of hyper connectivity, it’s never been easier to touch base with someone regularly.

Some remote workers likely enjoy some solace more than the next employee, but they still need to feel included, considered, and connected to their team and management. 

To make up for the lack of in-person communication nuances, such as non-verbal body language cues, it’s vital that management communicate with remote workers in a clear and authentic way. This means taking the time to ensure that a rapport is built to foster positive communications at a distance is essential to making a hybrid model work. 

Ensure that you stay in regular contact even if it requires setting reminders or creating regular scheduled check-ins for any staff that you otherwise would not connect with regularly. It can help to create meaningful reasons for the contact, such as wellness checks, setting goals, giving feedback, and acknowledging achievements. 

2. Mix it up

While communication between remote workers and their regular teams and managers may be in-hand, it also pays to make sure that they feel connected to company staff in a broader way. Organizing group chats between teams and departments can help, as well as encouraging staff with similar interests to participate in social group discussions. Other ideas include:

  • Weekly video calls (potentially to include a compulsory video-on rule to foster greater connection between participants)
  • Arranging conferences between different teams to include an ‘Ask Me Anything’ segment – this can help to create new connections and collaborations while assisting everyone in better understand the inner workings of each department

3. Include remote staff in all employee perks

One sure-fire way to make a remote employee feel excluded is to leave them out of the company perks. It may not always be possible to include remote workers in all office-based events, but it’s important to consider how to do it wherever possible. Even if you have to create unique ways to keep them involved, such as conferencing them in on an office ‘happy hour,’ they will surely appreciate the inclusion and feel more engaged in general.

Of course, you can (and should) always seek to include them in out-of-hours business events, but wherever possible, think outside the box and ensure they never feel unnecessarily excluded. For example, if you are treating your employees to a lunch, send your remote workers a voucher for some uber eats.

4. Develop an inclusive employee culture

It is imperative that your in-office employees also adopt an inclusive approach to your remote workers, and the best way to do that is to create an inclusive culture across the board. Additionally, ensure that your remote staff have all the same access to support, training materials and all other resources. 

A remote worker may overlook difficulties in accessing resources once or twice, but before long, they will come to resent feeling excluded, which will inevitably result in disengagement. 

So, ensure that all departments and teams foster an inclusive attitude to all employees whether in-person or remote, and check in regularly to ensure that remote workers are not coming up against any barriers within the company; asking them directly can be the best way to establish just how inclusive your employee culture is. 

5. Centralize platforms and set shared goals

A lack of organization leads to a lack of productivity, eventually resulting in frustration and disengagement.

When managing a hybrid work model, it’s imperative that your remote workers can access information and collaborate with in-office staff in the simplest and most effective way. Centralized platforms that are easy to access assist all employees to share data, goals, project updates, and more – all in real time. 

In addition to improving productivity and efficiency, creating a platform upon which staff can share their goals, challenges and triumphs encourages accountability, team work, and a supportive, inclusive culture. Cross-company goals can also be included to help keep the broader body of staff connected and working towards common objectives. 

6. Include remote workers in all company opportunities

It can feel extremely discouraging for a remote worker to feel that they have missed out on career opportunities because they were not physically present. Therefore, whenever handling promotions, upskilling, and project lead opportunities, be sure to include all remote workers fairly. All staff deserve the same opportunities regardless of their remote working status.

Final thoughts

Hybrid working models can create a dynamic company culture that has everyone feeling professionally motivated and fulfilled, but it does take some careful management. When leading a team that includes remote workers, managers must work diligently to ensure that those staff continue to feel included and valued to keep them engaged. 

This blog was shared directly with Workplace Fairness by an anonymous contributor. Published with permission.


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Top 6 Workplace Issues Facing Remote and Hybrid Workers

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Dan Matthews, Author

The world of work has changed dramatically in recent years, and the pandemic only accelerated a shift that was already well underway. Today, millions of Americans find themselves working remotely at least some of the time.

Remote and hybrid work models offer many benefits to employees. Parents and caregivers may not need to worry about finding or funding elder care or childcare. Staff doesn’t have to incur the food and fuel costs of working in the physical office. Employers enjoy reduced overhead and a truly globalized talent pool.

For all its advantages, however, there are several issues of which remote and hybrid workers should be aware.

The Risk of Loneliness, Isolation, and Burnout

Despite the convenience of remote work, there can be a psychological toll. Employees may feel lonely and isolated when working from home because they don’t have the level of personal interaction with their colleagues to which they may have grown accustomed.

In addition, employees are likely to experience higher levels of stress and a greater risk of remote burnout because, ultimately, when you work from home, you never really get to leave your office. 

This means that remote and hybrid workers must prioritize self-care, including establishing firm boundaries around their work hours. Remote workers must commit to turning off their phones and computers and disconnecting from work when they’re officially off the clock.

At the same time, it’s also imperative for those who work from home to enjoy frequent social activities with colleagues, whether through a weekly online game night or a bi-monthly dinner out. Employers should support employees’ mental health by offering up social activities. However, you may need to take the initiative to increase your socialization time.

Digital Privacy

Digital privacy is a concern for any business, but it’s particularly important for employees who are working from home. Cyberthreats, from phishing scams to malware attacks, are a constant threat. Employees may also be concerned with the amount of access their employer has to track remote-work activity. Employees need support in ensuring the security of their systems and personal information when working from home.

For this reason, employers should equip work-from-home staff with the systems they need to protect their own data and that of the company, including VPNs, antivirus software, password-protected routers, and firewalls. You may also want to use a webcam cover to prevent camera hacks. Also, make sure you have a solid understanding of how your employer intends to track your work-related behavior.

Communication and Collaboration

Another significant issue remote workers can face is problems with communication and collaboration. Your staff can’t just walk to the next cubicle or knock on the manager’s door to ask a question or get a status update. 

This can lead to significant delays in workflow if the employee has to jump on the phone to try to reach the person they need to speak to or track down the document they need to complete a project. In addition, without a clear plan for ensuring that all employees are up-to-date on project statuses, home-based workers may find themselves doing redundant work or using outdated processes. 

For this reason, remote workers must have the tools they need to remain in constant communication with their colleagues. This might include internal instant messaging platforms, such as Slack; project management tools, such as Asana; and document sharing tools, such as Google Docs. It’s also helpful to use visual aids, such as a flowchart, to help overcome problems associated with communication and collaboration in remote and hybrid environments. Regardless of what tool you choose, everyone in the company should have frequent, unrestricted access.

Difficulty Unionizing

When you’re working from home, you can feel like you’re on your own. That can make it hard to navigate workplace challenges, particularly when it comes to the need for collective action. The good news, though, is that momentum for the capacity of remote workers to unionize appears to be growing. The bad news, however, is that traditional ways of organizing are often inaccessible to remote workers, placing the onus on employees and unions to discover innovative strategies for integrating work-from-home employees.

Restlessness, Distraction, and Lack of Focus

Working from home is often a lot different than working in an office. This is especially true if you have children or pets at home. Many remote workers report feeling restless, distracted, and unfocused when trying to work remotely. It’s possible to overcome the challenges of remote-work distractions, however.

Try creating a designated work space — ideally a room with a door you can close during your work hours. You will also need to establish clear guidelines for family and friends as to when you will be working and unavailable for personal time.

Tech Issues

Some remote or hybrid workers may feel anxious about being able to use work-from-home technology effectively. For instance, newly remote workers may find themselves needing to install and use more advanced systems than they’ve ever deployed in their homes, from printers and copiers to routers and VPNs.

Employers are obligated to help set their remote workers up for success not only by providing them with the tools they need to do their work effectively but by providing them with the training and support they need to install and use them.

The Takeaway

Remote and hybrid work models can be ideal, particularly for employees who are also caregivers, have medical conditions, or live in remote areas. However, those who are working from home often face an array of challenges they may not have anticipated. Workers and employers alike must take a proactive stance toward understanding and remediating these issues to support employee performance and well-being.

This blog is 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.


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