With most companies going hybrid, we must ask ourselves… are our employees optimally engaged with their work? If not, how can we help them be engaged in the various and sometimes unpredictable environments that hybrid work calls for?
The hybrid work model is increasingly common among a variety of workplaces, and it’s one that Sammis|Ochoa continues to use. We are remote during the second half of Thursday and all-day Friday each week, although there are some exceptions since we highly value meeting clients in-person.
Working hybrid is a great way to encourage employees to switch up their work environment, as opposed to being in the same office everyday. It is refreshing and keeps morale high, and allows us to work with people in other cities, states, and beyond.
Although the hybrid work model is often favorable and more efficient than being completely in-person, there are a couple of tricks to excelling in a hybrid environment, specifically to keep people engaged and productive.
Clear communication is key when working hybrid. Managers must set clear priorities and objectives. These serve as baseline expectations for individual employees and the organization as a whole, and can be used to bring teams together and foster connection over a goal, even when the whole team may be remote. Managers must also allow the “space and trust to get the job done”. Heavily monitoring employees’ progress and productivity online can result in stress and frustration. A better way to measure the completion of goals are weekly, quarterly, and/or yearly meetings. Managers can also promote dialogue between employees by encouraging one-on-one and team meetings, as opposed to mass emails of overwhelming information.
There are so many ways to collaborate virtually. By now many organizations have adopted online networks that house hybrid work. At Sammis|Ochoa, we use Zoho Workplace, and it works phenomenally to not only keep the connection between those working hybrid, but also compiles all of our projects, schedules, and more, accessible to the whole company. When working behind a screen, it’s easy to feel as if you’re alone in your efforts. Organizations should embrace platforms that allow employees to work together, the most common being Zoom. Even just encouraging cameras to be on during meetings can help serve as a reminder that company success truly lies within the combined efforts of the team.
Feedback from employees can help managers understand what will keep them engaged. By providing feedback, employees can voice concerns and major pain points about working remotely, as well as communicating what works best for them. Feedback can also prevent disconnects related to inclusivity and equity. Not everyone is going to have the same remote work environment, and it is deeply important that employers hear how class, education, racial (and more) differences impact the hybrid work environment. By being asked to provide feedback, employees will also be reminded that their voice matters and that they are critical contributors to the organization. Often, employees have something to say. They just need to be asked. Modes of gathering feedback may take the form of surveys and small, casual group remote meetings.
The hybrid workplace is not going anywhere, anytime soon. While organizations and managers should practice communication, collaboration, and feedback among their employees, we need to be extremely flexible. Not everyone is on the same schedule, has the same hybrid work environments, or works productively the same way. It takes time to discover the strengths and weaknesses your organization will face while being hybrid, but we owe it to our employees to be our best for them, so they can be their best.
By: Paige Tangney
Sammis|Ochoa is San Antonio’s fastest-growing public relations and digital marketing agency. It is the 2020 recipient of the TinyAward for Happiest Employees in Public Relations. It also ranks as one of San Antonio’s best PR firms by Design Rush. The firm is headquartered in San Antonio and serves clients in Austin, Houston and San Antonio. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 210.390.4284 to amp up your PR game!