Fostering Trust in a Hybrid Environment
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we work, what we value, and how we spend our time, and companies across every industry continue to establish what this means for them going forward as many jobs leave the traditional nine-to-five schedule behind. For many, embracing hybrid work has been the path forward. Nine in ten Gallup-surveyed remote-capable employees said they prefer some degree of remote-work flexibility, and six in 10 specifically prefer hybrid work arrangements. Hybrid work permits employees to have a better work-life balance, less commute time, and more flexibility in their day.
“What about employee engagement, company culture, and team collaborations?” you may be asking. While many leadership teams are left worrying about managing employees that aren’t in the office daily, it is increasingly apparent that hybrid work is not going away. Instead, it is a popular compromise between traditional office schedules and fully-remote work, with 74% of U.S. companies planning to implement a permanent hybrid work model. Hybrid work structures can be mutually beneficial for both employees and management if there is trust between you and your team. Below are five ways to foster trust in a hybrid work environment.
1. Establish Clear Expectations
Prevent stress and disconnect by having clearly communicated boundaries and expectations with your hybrid team around work schedules, communication methods, and project timelines. When your team has more clarity around what is expected of them, they will be more engaged and motivated to meet and even exceed the set expectations.
In a hybrid work environment, employees have a greater responsibility to meet expectations without direct supervision. Provide support and feedback as needed, and trust that your team will deliver. When you are confident that your hybrid workers know what is expected of them and you have a company culture that invites productive questions and communication, you will be less inclined to micromanage how team members spend their time.
2. Encourage Open Communication
Communication is key. Your hybrid team members can’t read your mind, and you don’t want to leave room for any assumptions about expectations. As a leader, your team is looking to you to set an example of communicating effectively.
Consider scheduling quarterly check-ins with team members to see if they need any additional support in their role, listen to feedback, and get to know your hybrid workers more closely. By encouraging communication, you can avoid misunderstandings before they happen and help your employees feel more supported in their roles.
3. Provide Regular Feedback
Providing both constructive and positive feedback regularly will give your hybrid workers a better idea of the expectations you have of them and how they are contributing to the team.
The key to creating a culture of feedback within your hybrid team is to be intentional with your feedback and diligent about creating feedback routines, whether it looks like a traditional performance review schedule or something that fits your company culture in a better way. Craft incentives for your top performers and measure the success of your team members by outcomes on projects as opposed to how much time they spent on a particular task.
4. Use Technology to Support Communication
a team doesn't have to physically be in the same location to stay connected, thanks to video conferencing tools, encrypted messaging apps, and email. Use this technology to ensure your team has the tools needed for success, that important work-related data is kept safe, and that your employees feel that they are connected to the team.
5. Prioritize Face-to-Face Time
Virtual meetings can be a tactful way to incorporate face-to-face time with team members when they’re not in the office, but only when used strategically. For many hybrid workers, the appeal of remote work is that they can focus on their work tasks without experiencing the distractions of being in an office.
Consider having optional meetings that allow employees to get to know each other better when they are working remotely and save the more in-depth brainstorming meetings for when the team is together in the office. Make the most of the time in which your team is all together and make the effort to get to know every team member equally, regardless of how much of their time they spend physically in the office.
To learn more strategies to foster connection between your hybrid team members, contact Trinity Training & Development today.