Navigating the Hybrid Work Revolution: Strategies for Enhanced Engagement, Flexibility, and Organizational Success

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant shift in the way we work. While remote work was already a growing trend before the pandemic, it has become a necessity for many companies in 2020 and beyond. However, it’s important to note that remote work isn’t the only option available. Hybrid work models, which combine both in-office and remote work, have become increasingly popular.

However, the shift to hybrid work models is not without its challenges. One of the biggest is the lack of established norms in these settings. Without clear guidelines and expectations, employees may struggle with work friction and may be more likely to leave their jobs. In this article, we will explore how a lack of established norms can affect hybrid work and what employers can do to avoid turnover.

Lack of Established Norms in Hybrid Work Settings May Increase Turnover Rate

According to a recent research by Gartner, the lack of established norms in a hybrid work setting may make it 12% more likely that workers will leave. This is because without guidelines and expectations, employees may feel unsure about what is expected of them, leading to confusion and frustration. Additionally, communication breakdowns can become more frequent, and it can be more difficult to maintain a cohesive team culture.

To avoid these issues, companies need to establish clear guidelines and expectations for hybrid work. Gartner outlines three areas of norms found in successful hybrid work models: norms that support visibility, flexibility, and connection.

In a hybrid work model, it’s essential that team members can still see what their colleagues are doing. This can be achieved through regular check-ins or shared project management tools. By keeping visibility high, team members can stay informed and collaborate more effectively.

Flexibility is one of the key benefits of hybrid work, including the ability to work from home. However, it is important to note that this doesn’t mean employees need to be constantly available or work longer hours. Employers should establish clear expectations around work hours and communication, allowing for flexibility without requiring employees to be on call 24/7.

In hybrid work, it can be challenging to maintain a sense of connection between team members; however, it’s vital for team cohesion and employee engagement. Employers can establish regular virtual social events, in-person team-building activities, or other initiatives that encourage connection and collaboration.

Sharing Work Preferences Can Lead to Higher Engagement, Inclusion, and Performance

To help establish norms that support visibility, flexibility, and connection, Gartner recommends that companies should encourage employees to share their work preferences with their team. This can include information about preferred communication methods, schedules, work hours, and more. By sharing preferences, employees can avoid misunderstandings and work more efficiently.

Additionally, the practice of sharing work preferences can lead to higher engagement, inclusion, and performance compared to teams that do not do so. When employees feel heard and valued, they are more likely to be invested in their work and the success of the team.

Facilitating periodic in-person meetings and on-site work with managers can improve outcomes. While hybrid work models can offer flexibility, it’s important not to forget the benefits of in-person collaboration. Employers can improve outcomes by facilitating occasional face-to-face meetings and on-site work with managers instead of instituting more rigid in-person mandates, as suggested by Gartner. This can help keep teams connected and improve communication and collaboration.

Best hybrid work models offer three or more days of remote work

According to the company’s research, the best hybrid work models offer employees three or more days of remote work per week. This allows for a good balance of in-office and at-home work while still ensuring that team members can stay connected and productive.

Hybrid Work Can Benefit Workers’ Well-Being

Hybrid work can also be beneficial to workers by affording them more time to focus on their well-being. Employees can save time on their commutes, have more flexibility with family responsibilities, and enjoy a better work-life balance overall. This translates into a happier and more engaged workforce.

Some organizations have linked hybrid and remote work to negative outcomes for workers. However, in some cases, remote working can lead to increased stress and workload, feelings of isolation, or difficulty setting boundaries between work and personal life.

To avoid these negative outcomes, employers may need to address a lack of investment in employee connections. Companies can establish regular check-ins, encourage informal communication and social events, and prioritize employee engagement and satisfaction. Additionally, investing in employee training and support can help mitigate any challenges associated with hybrid work.

“As organizations create more formalized hybrid work models, HR leaders can reduce work friction and increase engagement by establishing and communicating new norms more intentionally and explicitly,” said Caitlin Duffy, research director in Gartner’s HR practice. By prioritizing norms that support visibility, flexibility, and connection, companies can create a healthier and more productive work environment for employees. Ultimately, this can lead to better job satisfaction, lower turnover rates, and a stronger culture overall.

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