How to Create an Ideal Hybrid Work Environment

Will we all go back to the office…or won’t we? Remember predictions that said coronavirus wouldn’t last more than a few months? Others said we’d be back to the office last September. 

The list goes on and on. And really, it’s impossible to tell when COVID and all the associated restrictions will finally pass. They may not ever completely go away. This article from NBC News even says a full return to the office will never happen. 

Working from home

So, the best you can do to cope with it is to prepare for all scenarios. And that means making it feasible for your co-workers to work from both their home and office. 

But that unleashes a whole new set of challenges. So how do you make it work? Here are some thoughts: 

  • The Case For Working In-Office: Innovation

Remote work makes sense most of the time. However, you may need to keep your co-workers coming into the office to at least a minimal extent. 

This is because innovation tends to happen with chance conversations and encounters. Japan-based Fujitsu, and even our own Apple, have designed their offices to make such encounters more frequent. And both companies are leaders in their own right. 

Going forward, this may become less of an issue. Technology will continue to develop to make remote working more relational. For now, however, this remains somewhat of a challenge. 

  • Focus on People and Relationships 

The best way to alienate your co-workers lies in throwing down rules from on high without any of their input. This top-down approach can breed anger, resentment, and frustration. 

During chaotic times, you’re wise to prioritize your co-workers’ concerns. When they feel you care about them personally, they reward you with their loyalty and greatest productivity. 

It takes more time and effort to navigate the complexities of all your co-workers’ concerns. However, your bottom line more than reaps the reward for doing so. 

  • Don’t Let Traditional Thinking Hurt Your Co-Workers

It’s easy to think that because someone’s working remotely, they’re not as effective or useful. But is that the case? Does a co-worker’s utility really diminish because they’re a few hundred miles away? 

Truthfully, research has shown your co-workers only become more productive when working from home. So when you hand out challenging assignments or give promotions, make sure you consider your remote co-workers every bit as much as your in-house ones. 

  • Instill a Sense of Purpose

Ultimately, everyone wants to feel like what they’re doing serves a greater purpose. That drives lasting fulfillment for your co-workers. It leads to the highest levels of productivity. And of course, your bottom line benefits tremendously. 

But finding your company’s true purpose can be hard. So consider the example of DHL. They gave their co-workers a sense of purpose by having them deliver vaccines to the far corners of the world during the pandemic. Wow! That really sounds impressive when you consider it. 

The key is that your purpose has to be greater than money. Money is good. It’s a great reward, but it’s not as motivating as a sense of purpose. Employees won’t care nearly as much about where they work if they have a strong sense of purpose. 

When creating a hybrid work environment, this is what to focus on. Understand this is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process that you continually master, just like anything else at your office. Here’s to your success in a rapidly changing work climate! 

Need help moving your company to a hybrid model? Contact Pollock Orora today, and we’ll help you make SOLVED happen for your co-workers.