Off-site work has always been a thing, even before the pandemic. Despite the similar approach, working remotely in the pre-COVID days offers different work from home expectations from the current times. There are additional challenges with telework amid a pandemic.
From the level of flexibility and workload of employees to the logistic concerns of companies, there is no doubt that Covid19 transformed the future of businesses. While some businesses failed to stand this long to survive the economic downturn, some were able to emerge from the surface by adapting to the changes. Armed with timely strategy and a determined workforce, these companies quickly adjusted to continue hitting their target, whether on-site or off-site work.
As we slowly return to normal, many businesses across various industries may shift from remote work to a hybrid work management approach. Depending on the company, some may opt to balance on-site and off-site work since it’s still not ideal to risk the health of all employees for on-site work, especially in a community with significant cases of infection.
Some employees may also have reservations about fully working outside due to fear of contracting the virus or personal logistic concerns. If you plan to have both remote and off-site employees, you must know the nitty-gritty concerns and learn to balance both setups. Take a look at these four tips to help you manage your hybrid workforce.
- Assess the potential of having the hybrid approach
Before jumping into the idea of having remote and on-site employees, it is crucial to understand your company’s potential in handling both remote and on-site. Assess your team how prepared you are by checking the whole system and per department and job.
Know the logistics needed, such as the technology, the cost it may inflict, and the nature of the specific job to see if the work functions fit the whole remote concept. You need to weigh the schedule flexibility and the level of autonomy you want your employees to have. You also have to think about the workers and how ready they are to work on-site. If they prefer to stay remote, see if they have the necessary tools and skill level to perform off-site.
Since you have to consider the customers, you must also assess how it may affect the customer experience. When determining your work management plan, include customer retention strategies so you can have a better view of your company’s potential to either stay fully remote or start transitioning to a hybrid workforce.
- Build a long-term plan to support the remote setup
After completing your company evaluation, the following agenda should address workload and business process, the employees’ support system, and context. Whether you are creating or just refining an old strategy for remote work, you may start by addressing the employees’ return-to-work preparedness by zeroing in on their concerns and reservations about working remotely.
Devise a holistic plan considering the difficulties that remote setup may entail to your employees. Include a sound support system from a professional standpoint, such as providing training, fair and just policies, and financial aid for your employees. Moreover, since most of your workers may be parents juggling different responsibilities at home, you must also consider their situation to address or mitigate their issues.
One of the main concerns when switching to a remote setup is planning a strategic shift to the work processes. You must think of ways to divide the workload among employees: which tasks can be handled asynchronously and which ones need to be done on-site. You might also consider hiring a virtual assistant to help you manage routine activities.
You must also look for ways to simplify your workflow by eliminating unnecessary steps. This can involve improving your technology use by looking for the best productivity tools for more accessible communication among the team.
- Avoid micromanaging; focus on results
Not seeing your employees work in person does not mean that you have to worry about them all the time. Remember that every employee has their responsibilities, so don’t expect that they have all the time for work just because they are at home. Others may even have to share a workspace with a family member or have children to attend to every minute. Regardless of the difficulties, it is better to trust them and avoid micromanaging them.
Trust is essential in a remote setup. Instead of meeting every day to report the progress, you can conduct short meetings once a week or when necessary. Daily tasks can also be reported through a project or time management tool or spreadsheet. Have an outcome-based approach and let your employees complete the tasks at their own pace, as long as expectations are met.
- Make sure that everyone receives equal opportunity
When working, ensure that you don’t build an antagonizing notion of on-site workers vs. off-site workers. The issue is likely to happen if your employees feel that one group has more benefits than the other or is more favored by the team leader. The on-site employees may have the upper hand regarding opportunities, especially since the manager may be working in the same office.
Despite the distinct advantage of on-site workers regarding more accessible communication and rapport, you must level off the playing field about assigning workload, the support and reward they receive from your company, and the criteria for qualifying for promotions. Be wary of showing favoritism, even if it’s unintentional. Make sure that the level of opportunity of your remote workers is equal to those on-site to avoid making it look like outsourcing.
Wrapping it up
Not all employees may adapt smoothly to working remotely, while others may find it hard to transition from work-from-home to on-site work due to the pandemic. Find the right balance among the workload level, the structure for communication, and the opportunities for both parties.
Remember, this is not your decision alone; planning a hybrid setup includes asking what your employees want and knowing which setup works best for them to promote job productivity and employee satisfaction
This article was written by Valerie Taylor, a lifestyle blogger on behalf of pursuitofpassion.com.