Thought Leadership|Trends|

Hybrid office teams should focus on several key habits to ensure office equality and reap the proper rewards of the workplace flexibility model.

It’s said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Yet, in the world of business, as it makes another monumental transition from working fully remote to a hybrid office approach, out of sight could mean out of mind for those professionals not in the office when big decisions are being made and greater trust forged. How will fairness and equality be achieved within teams spread out across multiple sites? And will resulting hybrid habits help or hinder the workplace flexibility model 

There’s a reason why firms spend 14 percent of total operating costs on change management. The only constant is change, which, everybody knows, got turned up several notches since the start of the pandemic. Laurel Farrer, the president of the Remote Work Association, wrote in Forbes that without intentional change management and equality support, hybrid work models can be “riddled with complications and potential blind spots.” Based on the research of veteran hybrid organizations, including Microsoft, Dell, and GitHub, she shared several key habits that all hybrid teams should be developing to assure and secure equality and unity from headquarters to the home office. 

First off, proximity and presence do not equal productivity, Farrer asserts. It’s time for organizations to transition from that outdated office-based line of thinking to measuring performance based on actual output and results, regardless of work location. We at infinitee liken it to a community grand opening where you need to staff the welcoming/sign-in table, the property tours, the food and beverage areas, and more. Though spread out in different places, each is essential to the whole mission and making the operation a success.

Also, managers and team leaders should focus on how to ensure daily rituals are inclusive and help to enable the connection of a distributed team. Thinking that culture building only happens on annual retreats is wrong as is the leader mindset that returning to the office equals developing company culture. What about the off-site team members? By offering a combination of physical and virtual culture development activities, nobody will be excluded from team development.

The “there’s some cake in the break room” mindset doesn’t work anymore in the hybrid work model, Farrer reminds us. To avoid that obvious location bias, it’s important to offer equal rewards. Issuing frequent announcements, gifts and rewards using mail, email and shared communications platforms establishes a sense of equal opportunity and equal reward, which keeps teams working efficiently and together.

Finally, managers should seek frequent feedback. What works for Karl in this hybrid work setup doesn’t necessarily work for Katelyn. And thoughts, feelings and opinions from early 2020 when the pandemic was new and especially unnerving definitely shouldn’t inform managerial decisions now. As Farrer maintains, employee satisfaction is dependent on so many x-factors, such as the percentage of team members in the office, a child’s learning-from-home status, internet speeds, or how company leadership embraces workplace flexibility. Stay in tune with the changing needs of your workforce.

Our firm is about people and our special personal touch,” said Tim Patton, infinitee’s CEO. “At the same time, it’s about having a ‘limitless possibilities’ customer service mentality. While the last couple of years – and resulting flexible work models – have altered the personal touch approach some, it’s strengthened our range through the new range of possibilities. At the end of the day though, it’s still all about serving people.”


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