Setting the parameters for hybrid working

Video Conference. Smiling african woman having web call on laptop at home, talking at camera while sitting on sofa in living room, flexible working

Many people have started to work in a hybrid way. If you have, how is it going?

It is absolutely essential that it is set up well with everyone getting a chance to have their say and clear parameters being set. Without this happening, there will be many negative consequences – resentment, reduced productivity and negative behavior cycles – to name but a few. If you manage a team, it is your responsibility to make sure any overall company/firm guidance is used as an input for a team discussion; it is rare that there is one set approach that will work for every function, department or practice. If you aren’t responsible for others and no such discussion has been had then it would be a good suggestion to make to your manager.

The discussions and thinking which need to happen

As a team you need to discuss what each wants to do and discuss what you will use office time for. It is pointless to go to the office to be on video calls all day. Most people I know are using office time to collaborate with colleagues and to meet external people.

Agreeing communication channels is essential. It would be very easy for a manger to make an announcement in the office thinking everyone was up-to-date, forgetting the person who is at home that day.

Hybrid working shouldn’t mean hybrid meetings. Where possible important meetings shouldn’t take place with half the people together and half online. It is only if the key participants/influencers are online that the people online will get equal attention.

There is a challenge for managers to make sure they don’t rate those they have seen more in person more highly at performance review time. It is important to be visible and getting airtime with who you need to, requires planning.

Now is a good time to review the team systems and processes in terms of what needs improving to cope with hybrid working. A good starting point is what could have worked better when everyone was at home.

Where hybrid working starts is not necessarily how it will continue. So agreeing that you will review how it is working as a team is important so you can all try it and see. People will also then feel they can have more input as it is work in progress.

Three key things to remember

  1. People are different and will not necessarily see hybrid working the same way you do, so listening and engagement are required.
  2. Have the difficult conversations you need to as they arise, otherwise resentment only builds.
  3. Consider who you have not engaged with during the pandemic at work and how you can re-start/start that as you venture back to the office.

Using your time well

There is no handbook for hybrid working but it is essential that you personally think through how you translate the agreed team approach into your working life:

  1. Decide what sort of work you will do when and have clear boundaries both with colleagues, yourself and your family, where relevant.
  2. On ‘at home’ days, make sure you still get time away from your desk.
  3. Put aside some time for career management, many have neglected this during the pandemic. It’s all about small steps. You first need to think of what might be next for you – consolidation in your current role, going for promotion/a lateral move or moving to a new organisation. Subsequently, you can make a plan of what you need to do to get there.

If you want to talk over any challenges you are facing at work then feel free to book a short, no obligation call with me. I have helped hundreds of people with their personal impact in many scenarios and professional relationship challenges, to improve their career progression.

To think further about your career and the often neglected skills, click here to request my Nine Skills needed for career success.

About the author

Joanna GaudoinJoanna Gaudoin, Inside Out Image specialises in helping ambitious professionals and their organisations improve performance and achieve their goals.

She does this by helping them master and strategically use the business skills of Personal Impact and Relationship Management. These skills are required for professional success.

Before establishing Inside Out Image, Joanna worked in marketing and consultancy in large corporates. She understands the business world and its challenges. She now helps organisations and individuals understand how to succeed in it.

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