As the pandemic continues pretty much unabated, many people are now working remotely. This has led to a hybrid workforce at many companies, where some employees are working remotely, while others are working from the office.
Managing such a workforce presents a unique challenge for company leadership in terms of communication and coordination.
If you have a hybrid workforce, here are some practices you should avoid to keep things running smoothly.
Managers tend to be concerned about the productivity of remote workers. The supervisors know that people working from home have to deal with a number of distractions. Some have children. Other household obligations may come up.
But managers should not give in to the temptation to closely monitor these workers. Instead, the focus should be on results. Schedule short meetings as appropriate, or check in with the worker in the morning to set the priorities for the day. Then, let the worker set his or her own schedule.
2. Not having ground rules for collaboration
The company leadership needs to develop collaboration policies for remote workers so that employees can work together effectively. That means training people on the communication software if needed and spelling out what kinds of things need to be handled by videoconference.
You should establish time frames for responding to email or Slack messages. Employees also need to know how to update their availability status, for example, whether they are in a meeting, at lunch, or on vacation, and know-how to incorporate it into the company’s scheduling calendar.
With people working different hours in different time zones, you also need to set up protocols for responding to messages if they are received outside of normal work hours.
3. Failing to keep remote workers in the loop
Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes, even if unintentionally. Employees working in the office are interacting continually with managers face to face. Remote workers, however, are just that – remote. It is easier for them to fall out of the loop and be overlooked when managers assign projects and give promotions.
So, you need to take precautions to avoid this sort of thing. You need to have procedures in place so that remote workers don’t end up with the short end of the stick.
4. Not getting enough personal time
When working remotely, work and home life often tend to run together. People find themselves working longer hours and sometimes begin to feel that work is monopolizing their life. A recent study found that remote workers are working 26 hours a month longer than usual.
So, it is important that people take time to get away from the laptop and the smartphone, to take time to unwind and reenergize.
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