Managing in Remote and Hybrid Work Environments
by Jackie Circkirillo | September 7, 2021
Our lives will be forever changed due to COVID-19 and its implications. Your business has felt those changes, too.
As if overnight, most companies made the switch from commuting to an office space to working from home. While adjusting to the new reality was sudden, it turned out not to be so bad after all.
Remote work had already been on the rise for several years. Companies who hadn’t yet adopted the trend simply no longer had a choice. After some period of settling, working from home proved to offer several benefits to employees and employers alike. In fact, most employees truly excelled at their jobs with the newfound autonomy and flexibility remote work allowed. And while global restrictions begin to ease, it’s becoming clear that if working from home was no longer an option after COVID-19, many workers would be less happy, less willing to go the extra mile, and more likely look for another role that allowed remote work.
Ready or not, the future of work is here. Companies that will ultimately succeed will find ways to embrace and benefit from remote work and hybrid teams. We want to highlight some of the benefits of managing in the “new normal.”
1. There are many ways to stay digitally connected.
It’s a common fear for many managers that they’ll miss out on opportunities for informal leadership development and forming connections with employees if they’re not able to interact face-to-face. Luckily, there are many, many ways to stay connected with your team virtually. And new ways are constantly being innovated to accommodate the virtual office. Use these tools to your advantage and build and/or maintain the cohesion and trust you imagine for your team.
2. Trust between management and employees can thrive.
Remote workers tend to feel a stronger bond of trust with their managers than non-remote workers. The reason? Working from home gives employees the autonomy they want from their role and breaks down hierarchical leadership norms. Managers must trust that their direct reports can be productive at their own pace and own schedule. The key is to define goal-based tracking rather than emphasizing hours worked. It’s not about the hours in the day, but the results achieved.
3. You can still support your employees’ professional development.
Your workforce now has different needs, but you can still give your employees the support they need to thrive. Pay attention to how employee expectations have shifted. Rethink the strategies, tools, and products currently in place so they may better support remote work and hybrid teams. Offer remote training opportunities and virtual meeting tools. Video calls can provide the same deep connection as face-to-face interactions.
4. A happier, more productive workforce can be achieved.
The reality is, most employees have felt less stressed, achieved a better work-life balance, got to spend more time with their family, and saved valuable time and money on commuting since working from home. Many even achieved increased productivity because they were able to work at their own pace with more flexibility and fewer distractions.
5. You can recruit and retain top talent—no matter where they live.
Your candidate pool no longer needs to be limited by geography. Companies can hire higher paid, better qualified employees through remote positions. According to Owl Labs’ 2020 State of Remote Work, the number of remote workers who made over $100k in salary increased from 26% in 2019 to 43% in 2020. Seeing as many potential candidates are seeking companies that offer remote work, your recruiters will have a much easier time finding quality talent if they can promote it as partially or fully remote.
Requiring employees to sit in a physical office space is now a policy of the past. Whether your company chooses to adopt a fully remote or hybrid work environment, it’s now your duty to “show up” in different ways than if you were interacting face to face. Define and embrace new policies and behaviors. Make the virtual space engaging for your employees, and you’ll realize these benefits and, hopefully, find success in the new normal.