The recent Covid-19 pandemic forced thousands of CEOs, managers, and employees to re-evaluate how they work, and in most cases, it had to be figured out quickly. During the early phase of the Covid crisis, teams who would normally be in an office setting now found themselves forced to communicate over video calls instead. This may not have been the most ideal setting in the beginning, but most people understood that this was the situation millions of people were now in and chose to make the best of it.
Many found themselves wondering if they would be working from home permanently. Would they return to the office soon, or would there be a mix of both remote and in-person work? As the pandemic wanes and many offices have reopened, it appears that hybrid working is here to stay and is the future of how organizations will conduct business going forward.
Challenges with Hybrid Working
This future-forward way of doing business does have its complications, however.
According to The Accenture Future of Work Study 2021:
- 83% of workers interviewed prefer a hybrid work model.
- only 25% of respondents worked fully onsite throughout the pandemic and are likely to remain onsite, whatever their personal preferences may be.
- 40% of workers felt they could be healthy and effective whether they were onsite or remote.
- 63% of high-growth organizations have enabled productivity anywhere workforce models.
- 85% of people who feel they can be productive everywhere say that they plan to stay with their company for a long time.
As office spaces have reopened, many organizations have implemented hybrid working to provide employees with the benefits of both working from home and in the office. As more businesses move to a hybrid work environment, however, problems can arise that have not had to be dealt with before.
Depending on the style of hybrid model an organization puts in place, it is very likely that some team members will be working together in the office, while others are working from home. There are a few possible problems that can result from this. One such issue is team dynamics. A team member may feel left out of the loop if a majority of their co-workers are working in the office. During team meetings, the conversation may not flow as well or be as productive when some members are physically in the room, while others are required to join via video chat or phone call.
Team dynamics play a vital role in how any organization functions. When coworkers don’t communicate or work together efficiently, problems will start to occur. Tense relationships can result in an unwillingness to ask for or offer to help, resulting in poor quality work. On the same hand, poor communication can lead to mistakes and late or missed deadlines.
It’s important to keep team dynamics strong, but achieving this can be challenging when all of your team members aren’t in one place.
Benefits of Hybrid Working
Working remotely gives employees the freedom to work from anywhere with an internet connection. The new world in which we now live has expanded the talent pool tremendously. As businesses have been forced to embrace flexible work environments, many are beginning to realize the great potential remote working offers, allowing them to make the cultural and organizational changes they’ve been fighting for years.
No one fully realized how autonomous remote working would make the workplace. When no team member is physically in the room leading the conversation, suddenly every team member is virtually in the room. Everyone has a voice and the team begins collectively making decisions.
In spite of concerns that virtual meetings could leave some team members feeling left out, early research is showing just the opposite. People who previously had difficulty taking a natural turn talking in groups find that virtual meetings encourage them to purposely speak up more to avoid being left out.
Recent research by East Carolina University in NC has shown that personality traits are changing as a direct result of virtual meetings. They compared the personality trait scores of 58 business students before and after working virtually. This study revealed that students became more extroverted and open-minded, and were better able to verbally express themselves in order to reach overall team objectives as a whole.
Performance Management Tools for Hybrid Working
Even in the most ordinary times, performance management is critical. It is one of the few business practices that affects every employee within an organization, helping them to set goals and receive feedback to adjust their daily work practices. Performance assessments impact a variety of work-related opportunities, including promotions and pay raises.
When managers aren’t fully prepared to handle a hybrid working team they are open to unconscious biases towards certain employees, leading to the emergence of unfair inequalities among staff. Hybrid teams are vastly different from those teams that are completely remote or completely in-office. Without proper performance management tools in place, communication and collaboration across hybrid teams is difficult and unpredictable, resulting in poor performance and productivity across the board.
Performance management software ensures that your managers and team leaders are well equipped to properly and effectively lead hybrid teams, allowing them to fully manage two different workforces. Employees sustain a higher level of performance, despite being in various locations.
Performance management software can support a hybrid working environment by:
- Focusing on tasks, not outcomes.
By focusing on outcomes, managers set a clear end goal for their team by allowing them the freedom to determine how they complete a goal, instead of micromanaging every small task they need to complete.
- Developing a feedback culture.
Employee feedback is vital for keeping employee performances improving in a hybrid work environment. Feedback propels employee performance, improvement, and results. Regular and frequent feedback for hybrid work employees helps managers increase employee confidence and engagement while reducing employee burnout.
- Optimizing onboarding and training programs for hybrid workplace dynamics.
A hybrid work environment is likely a new concept for most managers and employees, and both require training to work in a hybrid workplace. Managers must learn how to manage employees and enable them to achieve their performance goals both in and out of the office. Employees need to learn a new way to work together without excluding one another. The entire team benefits from using performance management tools collaboratively.
- Combating proximity bias.
When working in a hybrid workplace environment, managers are going see some employees more than others, and proximity bias is much more likely to occur. Favoritism prevents employees from performing at their best, and will eventually result in low employee productivity and a high rate of employee turnover.
It’s vital that managers create an inclusive work culture that reduces the effects of proximity bias. One way to do that is with Performance management software that allows the entire team to operate as one, even when working remotely. Regular work performance reviews and clear communication allow managers to see how each employee is performing, regardless of where they are working from.
There is no doubt that recent events have changed the way workplace environments function. The hybrid working culture is becoming the norm, and it’s vital that businesses implement performance management software suited for this new environment. With intelligent software and superb goal setting framework in place, the hybrid work environment becomes much less complicated and easier to manage.
Transitioning to a hybrid workforce will bring challenges, but with the right performance management tools you can maintain and increase employee productivity and performance by setting each and every one of your employees up for success.
At AssessTEAM, we understand that employee performance management is a critical aspect of business management. Opportunities derived from performance management software often lead to massive improvements in team efficiency. Simply knowing who your top performers are and what products are executed most effectively by your team can lead to wiser decision making. Click here to learn more.