The shift in work back to the office is now starting while the remote work continues to play a significant role in organizations. The change from remote to office work may be bigger to some employees than the change 1,5 years ago to complete remote work. Hybrid work should be planned together so that it works well for both the employer and the employee and the mutual goals can be reached.
Returning to the perhaps open office from one’s home office can be frightening due to the covid-19 pandemic. It may also be interpreted as a vote of lost confidence. ”Why am I no longer allowed to work remotely?” It is therefore important to discuss how returning to the office feels, how it can be arranged safely and why coming to the office to meet others is seen important.
Remember to include the remote workers into discussions
In the management of hybrid work, especially from the point of view of interaction and communication, it is challenging that some employees are present, some remote, but both groups need to be reached and interacted in hybrid meetings and in other ways. The ones that are remote should not be forgotten from discussions and cooperation. This easily happens e.g. during meetings. Therefore active leadership, contacting and discussion is necessary both at the team level and 1-to-1.
It is also good to remind what the mutual values and goals are and what is wished by the management. In remote and independent work, successes and the positive effects of changes are easily left unmentioned. They are worth highlighting. And always occasionally ask how people are doing. More on interaction and leadership development, read here.
Of course, the organization needs to ensure that there are adequate connections and programs for the hybrid work, as well as sufficient training.
There is no return to the ”old normal”
There is no returning back to the old “normal”, don’t even try. It no longer exists. Joint planning will create better, flexible practices that work now and help you meet the future changes. As part of the new normal, you should review your meeting practises and move from tight meeting schedules to slightly fewer but more well-prepared meetings.
1. Create together rules for office and remote work, which enable safe, individual work that meets the requirements of one’s tasks, both independent work as well as cooperation both in the office and remotely.
2. Create together rules for the meetings, starting with the invitations to the meeting, where the purpose and agenda of the meeting are clear and those who have a good reason for attending are selected to be invited. Share and respect calendar bookings. It doesn’t make sense to attend multiple meetings at the same time.
3. Make sure you also have time to develop your own work and take care of your own endurance. At the same time, you set a good example for others. It is a good idea to wait and send the work messages of the night during the morning.