Opportunities and challenges for leaders and managers in hybrid work models
The Covid-19 crisis has revolutionised the way we work. Working from home has given companies the opportunity to reinvent themselves, becoming much more flexible or hiring talent from anywhere in the world. However, as we move closer to normality, more and more companies are embracing hybrid working, a model that combines remote and face-to-face working and seeks to take advantage of the benefits offered by both models.
Although this model is full of new opportunities, it can create a climate of insecurity in terms of talent management, which is why it is so important to train in new skills and competencies those who lead these teams. In addition, they will be responsible for leading and transferring all this new learning to the group, thus defining a joint roadmap that will lead to success.
Therefore, we want to show you those points to which we must pay special attention to get the most out of this new working model.
Hybrid work has doubled the workspaces, so we have to ensure that both collective spaces, as well as those more domestic, are ergonomic.
When we talk about ergonomic spaces, we are not only talking about ensuring that they guarantee correct postures but also allowing us to have mobility, luminosity, the ability to concentrate, etc.
In this sense, it is very important to work in spaces that adapt to the needs of our professionals and not the other way around, as equipment in which employees feel comfortable will exponentially improve their physical and emotional well-being.
When we talk about business culture, we refer to the set of norms, values and beliefs that form an inherent part of a company and the way its professionals think and act. In this sense, and with the transformation of the workplace, more and more companies are working on building a culture that represents them and that all their professionals should carry as a flag.
Corporate culture is key to retaining talent, as it is the key to building a sense of belonging among employees, who become the best brand ambassadors, not only for our clients, but also for attracting new talent.
Although we are in a historical moment in which communications are more developed than ever, remote working has led to a loss of connections between employees, as the spontaneity of the workspace is lost. Therefore, in order to strengthen this feeling of belonging with the employees we do not see every day, we have to work on:
- Trust. It is important to build a relationship with our professionals in which we approach all the people who form part of our team in an understanding and non-judgmental way. In this way we will be closer to them and it will help us to get to know first-hand how all the members of the team act, think and feel. This plays in favour of the company with group resolution of possible problems or conflicts, and also helps us to make the most out of the potential of each of the people in our teams, offering them a greater potential for growth and job satisfaction. Active listening is crucial to building a culture in which everyone feels represented.
- Recognition. When working with people we do not work with every day, giving continuous feedback on the work we are doing is crucial. In many cases, this feedback is intended to identify areas for improvement, so we should give our opinion in the most constructive way possible. On other occasions, the purpose is to celebrate the successes of our team members (either individually or collectively), which helps us to provide a sense of achievement, and to turn professionals into crucial members of the activity we are carrying out.
- The capabilities of our team. Each of us has skills that differentiate us from others, so it is important to know them and work in group dynamics in which we learn from each other (either remotely or in person).
When we are in a 100% face-to-face model, each manager is clearer about how to communicate most effectively with each team member. However, in work models where part of the team is not together for a long period of time, we need to develop strategies to maintain active communication. To do this, we believe it is important to focus on these three aspects:
- How we communicate. Although we now have many communication channels that help us to be in contact with each other, often, due to the casuistry of these channels, we lose a vital part of the communication, as we are unable to locate those key aspects of non-verbal communication. This can lead to misunderstandings with the team and loss of relevant information for the achievement of tasks. !! Therefore, it is very important that everything we want to communicate we do it in a transparent, clear, direct way and, above all, adapting the way we communicate in person to these new channels, encouraging all our team to participate in a two-way communication.
- What channels we use. Firstly, we need to know which tools we have and which we feel most comfortable with. Once this is clear, it is crucial that there is a channel where the manager can communicate with the whole team, and that those who work remotely do not feel that they are missing out on a crucial part of the communication. It is also important that at least once a week the whole team gets together so that they can discuss how their week has gone and what challenges they will face in the coming week.
- Keep a constant eye on the teams. As we rotate the medium we work in, we realise how important it is to maintain communication. But in this case we don't just want to talk about the development of projects or strictly work-related tasks, but about the need to hear what colleagues are feeling, so that we can anticipate and prevent more serious problems such as burnout or lack of motivation. Informal communication is a value that should not be lost, but encouraged by the company. !! Therefore, it is important to have a communication space in which we have those more informal conversations that we have in the office, and that are transferred to the remote team. In this way, we encourage contact between colleagues and help to find common ground that brings us together as a team. A good first step is to make these chats a routine in the first/last few minutes of group meetings.
As we have learned in the pandemic, we have often failed to draw the line between work and leisure time. In order to ensure that our professionals comply with the digital disconnect, we need to manage working times.
- Working times. By managing them, we are in time to prevent problems of stress or burnout syndrome. To do this, leaders should not only be aware of the volume of tasks that their workers are handling, but also be supportive; offering them different training in time management, having individual meetings periodically to see how they are managing and where they may need help. Finally, we must encourage rest times during the working day, as well as a disconnection that helps us to reconcile our personal and professional lives, and what better example than for us as leaders to be the first to carry out good time management and a correct digital switch-off.
- Set work objectives. In more traditional work models, one of the biggest problems has been presenteeism, understood as those people who are at their workplace but spend part of their working day on activities that are completely unrelated to their work tasks. However, with remote working, presenteeism is not something we can control so easily, so work by objectives becomes more important.
We must clearly and precisely define the objectives, times and processes of each of the tasks to be carried out; we must be able to decide which are urgent and important in order to create a hierarchy of priorities to work on. It will also be good to hold regular meetings in which we discuss the status of these tasks and, once they have been completed, we can give our feedback to see what we need to improve or reward.
When we talk about employee engagement, we refer to the commitment of an organisation's employees to give the best of themselves, which helps us achieve professional success and reinforce their sense of belonging. It is essential that leaders know how to motivate their teams, as this is the way to retain the best talent. There is nothing like feeling comfortable in a job to make you want to stay.
Through a system of benefits, such as health insurance, training and even mental health care for professionals, we will get all team members involved. This also has indirect benefits, such as a reduction in absenteeism.
Furthermore, it is necessary to work on the growth of both the leaders and the other professionals, and for this reason we have to encourage new challenges and commit to involvement in projects, while at the same time integrating self-care into everyone's routines.
Working on motivation is something that we have to do on a daily basis and that will bring us advantages in the long and short term, both for companies and on a more personal level.
New leadership models give us the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and, as managers, we are facing a new challenge: we are the ones in charge of leading our teams and revolutionising workplaces.
If you want to improve the emotional well-being of your employees, we can help you.