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January 26, 2023

5 Solutions for Managing a Hybrid Work Culture

Some companies had embraced, or at least tolerated, a hybrid-modeled workplace before 2020. Then the pandemic thrust it into the spotlight as a necessity.


Once employees got a taste of it, many don’t want to go back to the old way of doing things. A recent study reported that 90% of employees said they were as productive or more productive working remotely as they were in the office. Some even say they would take a pay cut before returning to the office.


The move to a more hybrid-friendly workforce leaves HR professionals with some big goals to tackle. How can you effectively manage remote employees? What needs to happen to maximize their effectiveness? Hopefully, we can answer these questions today by looking at 5 solutions for managing a hybrid work culture.


The Issue: “They can work any time, while the onsite people must clock in and out” 

If your workplace has remote and onsite team members, it may seem the remote employees have more freedom. How can team members who come into the workplace every day help but feel slighted by their remote counterparts?


The Solution: Develop an inclusive workplace policy

If your company is allowing (or even encouraging) remote work now and in the foreseeable future, the requirements and procedures must be addressed with everyone. These may include the hours that management expects employees to work and the places “remote work” includes. For example, it may include the employee’s home, but does it extend to a coffee shop or hotel while they’re on vacation?


Keep in mind the flexibility that's extended to remote or hybrid workers should be offered to the onsite staff, too. If remote workers can go to the doctor, pick up kids from school, or run errands during the day and make up the time, their onsite counterparts should be able to, as well.


The Issue: “My internet is out, so I can’t join today’s meeting”

While there’s no guarantee a storm won’t knock out the internet, it’s unacceptable for remote or hybrid employees to struggle through performing their jobs with equipment and tools that are of lower quality than their onsite counterparts.


The Solution: Provide remote employees with the necessary tools

HR pros and direct managers must work together to ensure hybrid and remote team members possess the equipment they need to perform all their work functions. This list includes laptops, printers, connections with communication apps like Slack, and a reliable and fast internet connection for starters. It’s vital to get IT involved to ensure they’re always practicing cyber safety, since they may be logging into proprietary company platforms. Companies should invest in remote and hybrid employees to create as seamless of a work experience as possible.


The Issue: “I thought (insert name here) was handling that”

The hybrid model can create confusion if there isn’t strong leadership. It can be easy for onsite team members to expect remote workers to perform tasks, and it can go the other way, too. Vague direction or a “figure it out for yourselves” managerial attitude will only exacerbate the problem.


The Solution: Set clear expectations

Managers are responsible for setting boundaries and communicating expectations to their staff, regardless of if they’re down the hall or around the globe. Every team member should know what they should be doing, their goals for the next month and quarter, and how they are expected to communicate and collaborate with other team members. A clear, cohesive, steady management style is essential for managing a hybrid team.


The Issue: “I haven’t talked to (insert remote team member’s name here) in forever”

“Out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t apply to a productive hybrid workforce. Just because a person works remotely doesn’t mean they can be absent from discussions and brainstorming sessions. Their voice needs to be heard just like everyone else’s.


The Solution: Schedule frequent check-ins

Use meetings judiciously to accomplish goals and successfully communicate with the team, not to micromanage your remote staff. That said, regularly touching base with your entire team keeps everyone in the loop and focused on the current projects. Whether it’s a weekly meeting, a quick one-on-one check-in, or a progress update on your team’s communication app, meetings help keep everyone connected.


The Issue: “Nobody told me that”

As we mentioned above, it’s easy for remote and hybrid employees to fall off the team’s radar. If they are left out of updates and plans their work performance can take a big hit.


The Solution: Avoid decreased communication 

Technology offers numerous ways to share information, ideas, and insights with co-workers. Video conferencing tools, emails, texts, and messaging through collaboration apps should be commonplace ways for teams to communicate, even if they aren’t located in the same office.


The hybrid workplace has emerged as an approach offering unique benefits that make it worth a company’s time to embrace. HR pros play a pivotal role in facilitating its success, because only by effectively managing all team members can the hybrid model succeed. By understanding the common issues, and proactively finding solutions for them, organizations can enjoy the rewards of a hybrid workplace without falling victim to its challenges.

Julie Henderson

Julie Henderson is the Chief Revenue Officer for Data Facts.

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