Almost three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have permanently transitioned to hybrid models to provide employees with the flexibility they have come to expect.
Productivity anywhere is a strategy that allows employees to effectively work where they choose. It requires a modern leadership approach and sometimes a tricky balancing act.
Here are three tips for managers looking to successfully increase workforce productivity while maintaining employee satisfaction in a hybrid environment.
1. Customize your leadership approach and set clear expectations
With differing locations, personal obligations and levels of engagement, a one-size-fits-all approach no longer works. Having clear lines of communication with employees is essential to understanding how a hybrid approach may or may not work for a particular role.
Management must provide concrete objectives and measurements of success so employees can understand expectations. Leaders may need to reevaluate their management style to ensure they are being inclusive of all workers, regardless of location.
One way to help determine a customized approach in a hybrid environment is by utilizing activity data, which can provide valuable insights into employee productivity. Managers can evaluate and optimize operations with tools such as time logging and tech usage reports. These insights can allow management to evaluate the efficiency of their teams -- whether remote or on-site -- and adjust their approach accordingly.
2. Enable productivity anywhere
Mandated remote work in early 2020 required technology that spurred 10 years' worth of innovation in a short time frame.
In the hybrid world, mobility is king. Technology that supports the productivity-anywhere model enables staff to be as effective and engaged regardless of where they're working that day.
Businesses may want to research equipment that support these efforts, such as noise-canceling headsets and audio-fencing software, which reduce background noise to minimize distractions on calls. These technologies allow employees to mitigate typical work-from-home irritants like a dog barking or a garbage truck driving by. Not only should managers make their staff aware of available tech-enabled solutions, they should also consistently check in to see where employees may need support, technological or otherwise.
In addition, businesses must prioritize security requirements of any technology they use and make sure employees understand those requirements as well.
3. Ensure management is people-centric, not software-centric
For optimal employee experience, leaders must ensure a foundation of trust and flexibility. Without it, leadership may fall victim to "productivity paranoia," the fear that productivity is slipping even when metrics are up and employees self-report an increase in productivity.
Managers must be thoughtful about making time for casual connections with their teams. Without the conversations that organically occurred in-office, managers should plan virtual team meetings, check-ins, and one-on-one conversations to get to know their teams and understand what they need to remain productive and happy. When managed effectively, a hybrid model can strengthen both productivity and flexibility at the employee and management levels.
Ansley Hoke is a senior vice president of marketing at ScanSource, a hybrid distributor and partner, headquartered in Greenville, S.C.