Hybrid work could be a win-win — if employers handle it right

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There’s a way to structure hybrid policies that keep employees productive, Gallup found.Managers should explain their rationale behind return-to-office policies. Striking the right balance can help workers find a better work-life balance. 

Hybrid work may be the new normal for some, but employees say there’s a right way — and a wrong way — to structure in-office policies.

Eight in 10 remote-capable employees expect to work either in a hybrid or fully remote environment in the long term, Gallup wrote in a new article. Gallup’s insights come from a random sample of 16,586 adults collected in mid-June, as well as responses from 135 Fortune 500 chief human resource officers in late June and early July.

Among hybrid employees, 40% prefer being in the office two to three days a week, Gallup reported. And while some managers are eager to have employees in the office several days a week — in the hopes of increasing team cohesion and improving productivity — Gallup’s research found those days must be intentionally planned by employers for workers to see benefits.

When managers fail to communicate why they enacted hybrid strategies that may not consider the preferences and needs of employees, or explain the rationale behind return-to-office policies, productivity and team culture may erode, Gallup found.

The benefits of hybrid work can be significant, Gallup reported. Hybrid workers consistently report less burnout at work, a better work-life balance, and more autonomy. Over half of those surveyed reported increased productivity, despite risks of weakened communication and workplace collaboration. Gallup also found hybrid workers have much higher employee engagement, lower turnover intentions, and better well-being compared with fully in-person workers.

Rethinking remote work strategies

While the perks of including employees in hybrid work policies are notable, only 12% of hybrid employees surveyed say their team’s hybrid work policies came about from a collaborative decision-making process, Gallup reported.

Gallup noted that just going into the office may not be the determining factor in hybrid work’s success, especially since 60% of hybrid employees don’t get to set their office schedule. Managers should give teams time to adapt to hybrid work and employees should have the space to advocate for more flexible schedules, Gallup said.

When bosses push too hard to get staff in the office, or when they become too fixated on tracking employee performance when working from home, this could lead to increased tension in the workplace, according to Gallup.

To craft a strong hybrid workplace, Gallup suggests creating a “workplace value proposition” such that hybrid policies are intentional and designed for bettering team cohesion while also empowering teams. Additionally, instituting new training mechanisms and performance management tools could go a long way.

Gallup previously found that effective managers often give employees coaching, clear expectations, and opportunities for further development. Such performance management tools go beyond metrics and ratings and can involve frequent checkpoints and proactive coaching. Gallup recommends a “team reset” that includes check-in meetings where employees and their managers can review individual goals for excelling in a hybrid environment.

What are your thoughts on how hybrid work impacts your productivity and team building? Reach out to this reporter at [email protected].

Read the original article on Business Insider

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