Top Tips for Maintaining Efficiency in a Hybrid Working Environment
As lockdown restrictions ease and businesses across Northern Ireland continue to find ways to return to the office, the ‘hybrid’ model of working is emerging as one of the most popular – and flexible – ways to encourage employees back to work whilst honouring the diversity of personal situations, attitudes and comfort levels which exist within a team.
Centred around allowing staff to split their time between working within the office and working from home, or allowing some team members to return whilst others opt to continue working remotely, this flexible model of working is likely to survive the pandemic, with more companies realising their potential with regard to cost savings, team morale, and productivity by adapting new structures.
Whilst hybrid working is certainly providing a great route back to work for many, it comes with its own set of unique challenges, mostly surrounding keeping a team of in-person and out-of-office workers organised and productive. We’ve put together our top tips for maintaining a productive work environment as your team switches from remote-only to hybrid working.
Define your Hybrid working schedule
With some members of the team working from the office as others continue to work from home, or staff taking it in turns spending time in the office, tracking your team’s whereabouts could become an added task for your already busy to-do list. Try setting up a digital diary or other electronic system so your team can easily see who is in the office, and when. This resource will make tasks like internal and client meeting planning or simply having a chat with a colleague much easier to coordinate.
Try to agree a work schedule that has you in the office on designated days each week. By maintaining the same days each week, you can create a sense of routine and consistency in this ‘new normal.’ Switching up your days could not only be disruptive to your natural work flow each week, but could also prove a challenge for colleagues hoping to include you in their planning and scheduling. Knowing in advance that you will be in the office for three days each week, for example, will also help you to mentally plan to make the most of your time with colleagues, stepping up your productivity and ensuring you get all of the work easier done in-person sorted.
Implement a consistent call management system
An added challenge to a hybrid working scenario includes the management of incoming calls. You may find that there are now fewer people to help answer incoming calls, or that it might be a challenge to track down and divert calls to your out-of-office colleagues.
Titanic Suites’ Call Management support service can help you to significantly reduce the amount of admin required by incoming calls. Offering call transfer options, out of hours and weekend support availability, and a professional, friendly team member to help direct calls to the correct teams, this service helps your team focus on the job at hand and ensures that important calls don’t go unanswered – and is available to Titanic Suites clients and virtual clients like.
Ensure inclusive communications for all working scenarios
When Covid-19 disrupted our working schedules in March, organisations found ways of keeping in touch, both formally and informally. From daily stand-up meetings on Microsoft Teams to casual Zoom pub quizzes amongst internal teams, it sometimes felt like there was more communication whilst during lockdown than there had been in the office!
Now that teams are facing a new dynamic of staff split across multiple locations, be mindful of the added isolation that could be felt by those ‘missing out’ on office banter, catch-ups over tea breaks, or shared lunchtime treats. Maintain outreach to all team member to ensure that this ‘all in it together’ attitude continues through to the next phase of hybrid working.
Likewise, be mindful of including isolated workers in meetings taking place in-person. The best way to do this is by pairing in-person meetings with seamless live-streaming and video calling facilities to help isolated team members feel like they are part of the discussion and a valuable presence at meetings. Our meeting rooms feature state-of-the-art AV recording facilities as well as live-streaming and interactive touch-screens to provide a sleek technological experience for in-person and virtual meeting attendees.
Make information accessible for everyone
More tactile thinkers may prefer to scribble notes in a notebook or on post-its to track their progress on projects or write out important information and reminders. The trouble with this for those not in the office, is that the information is not easily shared and accessed if you are not in the same physical space. This lack of access to information could become a source of significant stress for staff when they can’t, for example, view the team Kanban posted on the office walls or access the flip chart brainstorm that took place during an in-office meeting.
Encourage your team members to go paperless not only for the environment, but also to ensure access to information is equal for your full team, whether they’re sitting at their desks or in their homes. Ensure staff all have equal and secure access to the shared office server and other project planning tools such as Trello, Planner, and Asana, and that team members are utilising best practice when it comes to updating and sharing documents to avoid localised versions being stored on individuals’ desktops.
Maintain a safe and sanitised office environment
Perhaps most importantly in today’s constantly-changing environment, it is crucial that the full team is contributing to maintaining a safe and sanitised office environment to ensure businesses can continue on the journey back to work and avoid further disruptions. Maintain social distancing and wear a mask when this can not be done, and make an effort to not touch unnecessary surfaces and items. Office spaces should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a day to limit the spread of germs, with more attention given to common areas.
The team at Titanic Suites have implemented many new policies and a rigorous sanitation protocol to help combat the spread of Covid-19 as clients come back to the building. Our clients are encouraged to make use of hand gel stations placed throughout our facilities as well as adhering to social distancing and other instructional signage in place for the health of our guests and clients. We will continue to maintain our high standards of cleanliness with a few additional enhancements, and are continuing to turn to Government for guidance as the situation evolves.
Keep in mind – we’re all in this together, as we navigate this ‘new normal’ of office working. Our team is in place to help smooth the transition for our clients returning to their offices. If you think we can help you on your journey back to work, contact Gary firstname.lastname@example.org or Catriona Catriona@titanic-suites.com to discuss our offering.