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Optimum Talks Blog

The future is hybrid: 5 elements to consider about this new work reality

by Optimum Talent
August 16, 2021

The question is no longer whether an organization should implement a hybrid model or not, but rather how it can be implemented in the right way so that employees can adapt to it and organizations can retain their top talent. To make the transition towards this new model as smooth as possible, it is important for leaders to assess several important factors.  To help, we are sharing five different elements to ensure success in the world of hybrid work.


Flexibility is Mandatory in a Hybrid Workforce

In this new work structure, the flexibility you provide your talent with will be your most important asset.

Although we mostly speak about flexibility in terms of location, providing time flexibility is just as important. It is not about how many hours are clocked during the day, but more about what tasks need to get done. This is the future of work. Individual reality outside the office varies greatly from one person to another. Whether it is a parent having to take care of their children or simply an employee for whom it is more effective to take many breaks during the day, this freedom of time helps to align working hours with each person’s lifestyle.

A clear hybrid model policy can have great impact on your employer brand. Offering flexibility is attractive to many top candidates and can become a competitive advantage when searching for new hires, especially over organizations who may not provide this. Talent from various backgrounds will be willing to work in your organization since the flexibility offers a fair opportunity to everyone, no matter what their reality is.


Focus on Work, Not Where Employees Do Their Work

For many, gone are the days when employees commute to the office, when the same tasks can be done easily from a remote location. This model is not aligned to the world’s reality anymore. Knowing that about four-in-ten adults who are employed full time or part time say that the responsibilities of their job can be done from home, they will need clear purposes before coming into the office. Whether it is to attend an in-person meeting with an important client, to have a group work session, or to attend a social event, employees need a compelling reason to be coming in. In addition, the office needs to be optimized to fulfill workers’ new desires. There may be a need for fewer individual offices and more shared spaces. Organizations will have to find ways to reduce their offices costs to align with the needs of a hybrid model.

There may also be a greater need for proper technology so that the whole team can be connected no matter where they are located. Such considerations will need to be addressed to make your employees’ place of work efficient and help them remain productive. Not only is this the future of work, but it is also the future of doing business.

Adding to that, working from home has led to hyperconnectivity. Stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout are serious consequences of having difficulty disconnecting. In a hybrid model, organizations must focus on their employees’ well-being, which should be part of your organizational purpose, and put in place mechanisms that limit working hours.

Thus, autonomy, empathy, fairness, equity, and recognition are fundamental between a manager and an employee. These relational goals will ensure a healthy and productive environment.


A Leader Is a Coach for Its Hybrid Team

Along with an effective environment, we also need effective teams. For that, we need to identify each individual’s strengths, areas of development, and personality with a trustworthy psychometric assessment. This allows for an understanding of each individual profile and helps to uncover how the team can cooperate, execute its business objectives, and manage potential challenges.

An effective team cannot be completed without a leader who coaches them throughout the journey. A great leader is someone who listens to provide support and understanding to their employees when they need it. Giving them flexibility, space for collaboration, time for social activities, and showing gratitude for the work that they do.

Lastly, the most important element for leaders to keep in mind is trust. If members fear being vulnerable to each other, it leads to an absence of trust. Yet trust is essential to manage remote teams because employees want to be treated with respect and dignity. Being a leader is not about giving orders. It is about showing others why they do what they do. It is about empowering your talent so that they can contribute in their own meaningful way.


Reconnect Your Talent with Organizational Purpose

Engaging teams around a purpose remains the number one internal communication priority. Purpose is not simply a statement that is hung on the wall. It is something that is present in every action. Employees want to contribute to something bigger and know that their work makes an impact. That is why authentically communicating a clear purpose is key in bringing your team towards a common goal, without forgetting that it is not only about only stating the purpose, but about living the purpose. The people that have the most influence in an organization are the ones that lead by example and properly demonstrate what the organization’s purpose is, which is then advocated by your employees when they feel connected to it.

Regular communication is especially important when your team is dispersed. Knowing that we do not see remote employees physically working in front of us, we may form biases versus those who we see in-person. We may not be able to fully acknowledge the work that they are doing simply because we do not see it. Therefore, it is important to be aware of this potential bias so that you can recognize both office and remote employees for the work that they do. This way, remote workers will not be left out of a discussion simply because they are not located near you, ultimately helping them feel connected to the organization’s purpose.


Reinventing Culture to Fit in the New Model

Great organizations start with great culture and great culture starts with great leadership. In an environment where culture is not defined by one location anymore, having leaders who can properly express and demonstrate culture is what can truly cultivate an organization’s identity. This starts with proper leadership development training. Stronger employer brand, greater employee engagement, and smaller turnover rate are some of the many benefits that arise after an investment in a leadership program.

Organizational culture is always evolving and should adapt with timely circumstances. One cannot expect to maintain the same culture as pre-covid, simply because people’s reality is not the same anymore. Now is the perfect time to redefine your culture for it to adapt to your employees’ new needs. This starts with listening to your employees’ unique perspectives. What do they believe in? What makes them come to work every morning? What are they most proud about the organization? They will be your best resource to obtain those answers, since it is ultimately about them.

An organization cannot thrive without its talent, so why not help them unleash the best of themselves? Remember to keep your people your priority so that you can make your team fulfill the best of their potential. With these 5 elements, you will be able to accomplish that, and your organization will be well on its way to adapt into our new hybrid reality.

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