Keeping hybrid workers in sync, digitally and in person

Working in a full-time office can be an inconvenience, but full-time remote work also has its issues, such as social isolation and invisibility. The best approach is hybrid working, in which workplaces operate more like college campuses, providing flexibility, as well as places to collaborate and learn.

At least that’s the ideal. The reality is that hybrid working can be more complicated.

Consider the stress of finding information. For more than three out of four managers and employees, this means daily stress, according to a recent survey of 27,000 managers and workers around the world, published by OpenText. With an ever-increasing number of data sources, difficulty finding information, and not having the right digital tools for hybrid working, all impact stress levels, performance, and job satisfaction. employees.

A large portion of survey respondents, 26%, say they need to use at least 11 accounts, resources, tools, and apps on a daily basis. Additionally, 41% of employees say they spend an average of one hour or more per day searching for files or information on corporate networks or shared systems. This makes things more difficult for hybrid workers.

“It remains to be seen where the balance between remote work and office work will be, but there’s no denying that hybrid will be a permanent feature in the future,” says Kim Fulton, Chief Change Officer and organization at Kearney. “Employees have seen the value of increased autonomy and flexibility in their lives and employers recognize that productivity has remained stable or even improved with hybrid working.”

For hybrid employees, however, the issues of information sharing are magnified. At least 43% of hybrid workers in the OpenText survey believe that they are “not or poorly equipped with the right digital tools” to work remotely. These workers feel they face a wide range of other challenges, with more than a quarter (26%) saying they can’t collaborate or share files with colleagues as easily when working from home. Another 26% say they can’t access corporate file systems and content as easily when working remotely. Almost a quarter (21%) struggle to transport devices between homes and offices.

Another obstacle to hybrid working “is doing asynchronous work synchronously,” says Amy Williams, human operations manager at Mission Lane. “When everyone was in the office at the same time, people were working on things at the same time and could easily go to a teammate’s office to ask a question or discuss a project. We want our people to be able to work independently and where they thrive the most, but the challenge is to make sure the synchronicity doesn’t get lost in the flow. »

Yet, with extra care and attention, hybrid working can be accommodated – if things are kept in their proper perspective. “With the myriad of technology solutions that streamline communication and business processes – email, Teams, Asana, Target Process – we are able to work effectively in a hybrid and remote environment,” said Brian Macias, President of Embrace Pet Insurance. “But productivity is just one key performance indicator in life and in business. There’s something to be said for stopping to chat with a colleague in the lobby or walking into their office to ask a few quick questions. It beats 10 emails back and forth to get the same answers and it forges a more personal connection. As humans, we need social connections. We spend a lot of our week working , it’s natural that we bond with our team members, and it’s harder to do through Teams or video calls.

The key to successful hybrid working “is applying a people-centric approach and allowing individuals to work as they thrive,” says Williams. “For example, to address the challenge of asynchrony, we encourage teams to set up online group meetings to work together asynchronously, allowing employees to take the pulse of a colleague or take the pulse of ideas. Another challenge and opportunity of hybrid working is keeping employees connected to the company and its mission by supporting them holistically – and employers need to take this seriously. »

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