According to new data from MicKinsey & Company, 9 out of 10 companies are sticking with the hybrid workplace structure. This style combines onsite and remote work and is one of the lasting results of the COVID-19 pandemic. When implemented correctly, hybrid work can boost employee productivity, performance, and morale. But when employers fail to clearly communicate how the transition to hybrid work will happen, and what it will mean for employees’ day-to-day lives, they put their employees at higher risk of burnout, anxiety, and attrition. Recent publications in Fast Company and Harvard Business Review offer helpful suggestions that can guide employers through the shift towards hybrid work.
In his recent article, Fast Company author Adam Smiley Poswolsky points out that remote work inevitably leads to decreased opportunity for human connection. Rather than bumping into colleagues in the hallway and starting up impromptu conversations, we are now communicating through screens. This inherently does not leave much room for spontaneous, organic interaction, and we are lonelier overall as a result. To counteract this, Poswolsky suggests prioritizing mentorship, team building, and personal check-ins, as these can create more opportunities for empathy and friendship in the virtual workplace. Another offset for loneliness, Poswolsky writes, is purpose. Employees who feel that their work is meaningful and that they share goals with their colleagues are more engaged, less lonely, and tend to stay longer with their organizations.
Harvard Business Review authors James Citrin and Darleen DeRosa published an article all about onboarding new employees in a virtual setting. They recommend making the onboarding process as swift as possible, as this will help new employees feel welcome from the start, ease their nerves, and boost their confidence. Assigning an onboarding mentor can also have this effect, explain Citrin and DeRosa. It’s helpful for new employees to have a contact-person who they can go to with questions and who isn’t their manager. Another way to swiftly align a new employee with company culture is to clearly communicate that employee’s purpose within the organization, both in the context of what their individual success looks like, as well as the company’s broader values and mission. Echoing Poswolsky’s words, Citrin and DeRosa advise prioritizing purpose and human connection throughout the onboarding process and beyond.
The widespread shift towards hybrid work will carry with it many implications for day-to-day work and organizational operations. This shift is still in its early stages, so we are only beginning to scratch the surface of its longer-term meaning and impact. Stay tuned to our blog for more discussions about the future of hybrid work.