Five Strategies to Help Your Organization Transition to Hybrid Work

What we do know, as we look toward the future, is that around 72% of workplaces plan to move toward a hybrid workplace (Steelcase Global Report). After surveying more than 400 employees who transitioned to remote work in 2020 and 2021, Dr. Aaron Barth from Dialectic and Bev Attfield from Jostle found – among other things – that working remotely has created new barriers to workplace belonging.

HERE'S WHY

The central insights found in The Impact of Remote Work on Inclusion state: 

 

  • The cost of short-term planning has a long-term negative impact on inclusion and connection at work
  • Working remotely has created new barriers to workplace belonging 
  • Remote work has muted the norms and practices of workplace culture that create inclusion and belonging 
  • Process and function-driven workplace cultures are alienating employees 
  • Performance is better but belonging is worse 
  • Relationships with managers are more transactional and less supportive 
  • Under-utilized sick time is hurting people 

 

If left unchecked, these outcomes may get worse as hybrid work becomes the new standard. Companies that are made up of isolated, burned out and disengaged employees experience higher levels of turnover. The question remains: What does your company need to do to avoid the negative effects of hybrid work on your employees and bottom line? 

Five Steps Companies Can Take to Improve Employee Connectivity 

1. Rebalancing Inequities and Fairness 

This includes:  

  • Looking for unfair and inequitable business practices, especially in hiring and promotion 
  • Looking for inclusion opportunities in day-to-day work, like your meeting culture. Are some voices being shut out? 
  • Opening channels of communication and learning (employee resource groups, cross-team collaboration, micro-habit training, etc.) 

 

2. Adopting a People-Centric Mindset and Actions

This includes: 

  • Caring about people as individuals, rather than as numbers or responsibilities
  • Reinforcing connection in tailored ways for different people and teams 
  • Asking employees about their needs often and being ready to change 
  • Training managers in empathy and the understanding of individual wellness. Make no assumptions about a manager’s ability to transfer in-person skills to hybrid skills. 

 

3. Shifting Attitudes From Transacting to Relating 

This includes: 

  • Asking managers what they need to help their team members
  • Asking employees what support means to them 
  • Helping individuals and teams understand how they contribute 
  • Adding (and normalizing) spur-of-the-moment interactions, like virtual coffee pairings 
  • Encouraging employees to share their interests and what they do outside of work 

 

4. Reinforcing Cultural Norms + Expectations 

This includes: 

  • Writing a hybrid work policy with contributions from all affected –  and treating it as a dynamic document  
  • Talking about and agreeing on how you work together (eg. meeting norms, office hours, asynchronous practices, etc.) 
  • Considering re-boarding for all employees 

 

5. Using Technology to Boost Connection and Belonging 

This includes: 

  • Treating technology as an inclusion aid for the hybrid world 
  • Giving equal opportunity to tech access 
  • Using the right tech for the right conversation 
  • Having a digital home base to keep everyone enabled and aligned 

 

How Dialectic Can Help 

In a hybrid workplace, it’s more important than ever to provide employees with effective inclusion training that meets them where they are. Learning Snippets empowers forward-thinking leaders and teams to reframe their thinking about inclusion. These microlearning scenarios, backed by learning science, help you and your teams to build inclusive habits and address cognitive biases. 

 

Hybrid work is still so new. As much as leaders and companies want to ‘flip the switch’ to this new way of working, the most important takeaway is that this just isn’t possible yet. Companies that experiment, adapt to new information, and who continue to listen to the needs of their employees will be the ones that best harness the power and opportunity of remote work. 

 

GO DEEPER

Want more information on how to support your staff using Learning Snippets? Try Inclusivity 101 for FREE. 

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Dialectic helps businesses and organizations improve the way people work, learn, and collaborate through person-centred design and the latest in social psychology, industrial organizational psychology, neuroscience, and behavioural economics.

Dialectic is based in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

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