C L A R I T I

Loading

hybrid work environment challenges

Even though flexible timings, better job opportunities and more family time have made hybrid work a post-pandemic favorite, it has its share of shortcomings. Digital exhaustion from Slack Channels and Zoom fatigues are taking a toll on remote teams. Poor internet connections, remote work expenses, loneliness, home distractions, tackling different time zones, taking vacations are some of the challenges of hybrid working.

This year, the entire world is reeling under the attrition tsunami where over 40% of the global workforce is planning to resign from their jobs. Having a strategy to adopt and implementing a hybrid work model will be critical for attracting and retaining the best talent.

A flexible hybrid work model can certainly offer many advantages to both organizations and employees, provided they can jointly solve the challenges of hybrid workplaces.

Major challenges to consider before adopting a hybrid work model

1. Self-discipline and motivation

Though remote workers are more productive than their in-office counterparts, self-discipline holds the key for hybrid working. Since employees are working from remote locations, they might tend to procrastinate things which might affect the overall team output and productivity.

Time monitoring tools deployed by the organizations will be viewed with suspicion and might create a lack of trust. So self-motivation will be the key factor in the success of the remote work arrangement. One such technique to sustain employee motivation when working alone is to dedicate 25 minutes of uninterrupted time to a task and then take a short break and then get back to another 25 minutes of work. Every employee can follow his or her technique that suits them best.

2. Impact of Loneliness when working alone

In remote work, every employee will be sitting before the computer and doing their work alone, except for brief online meetings. To overcome this boredom, companies can encourage employees to take short vacations or work from new locations. This will help employees to stay motivated. It is also a great way to improve employee engagement and improve productivity.

3. Communication guidelines

Since all the team members are working from multiple locations, organizations must have clear communication protocols and guidelines in place to facilitate a clear and fluid exchange between their team members.

Otherwise, teams will end up using multiple communication tools and channels that will result in ineffective communication or communication silos. Companies must identify the right tools and provide clear guidelines on how to use these tools.

4. Security risks

One of the major risks of hybrid working is data breach or leakage. Since hybrid workers work from different locations (office, home, coffee shops, vacation spots etc) they end up using multiple devices to do their work. This comes with great risk as these devices are outside the office network and are vulnerable to all types of security risks such as cyberattacks, phishing, malware, ransomware etc.

Organizations must establish the necessary security protocols to keep data & communications safe. Companies can install antivirus software on all devices, provide password manager tools, provide secure VPN connections and install device trackers so that the system can be blocked if it is stolen or lost.

5. Internet connection issues

When employees work from home, the most common hybrid working disadvantage is the lack of reliable internet connection. This problem will be more with digital nomads who keep travelling to new locations now and then.

To overcome this problem, companies should provide work from home allowance so that their employees can lease connections with reliable global mobile internet service providers. This will let the hybrid workforce access the internet and from anywhere in the world.

6. Work-life balance

Though hybrid work brings a very good work-life balance for a vast majority of the employees, it is not the same for all. Overcoming digital exhaustion is one of the rampant challenges of hybrid working. From attending never-ending virtual meetings, constant distractions from pings and notifications from chat channels may make it impossible for some employees to unplug after work. When employees work from the office, they are strictly governed by the office timings.

But when they work remotely it can be difficult to disconnect. Office work may eat into personal time causing employees to burn out. Companies should establish specific work hours for their hybrid employees too and treat them on par with their colleagues who work from the office.

7. Lack of personal connection

When employees work in hybrid mode, there will be fewer opportunities for remote employees to socialize and get to know their colleagues. Virtual meetings lack the personal connection that is usually present in face-to-face interactions.

Whenever a new member joins your hybrid team, plan a formal virtual meeting to welcome the new employee into the team. Assign him or her a virtual buddy, who can take them through the various tools and applications used within the organization.

This will not only make the new employee comfortable; it will also help them share an interest that is outside of work and build a personal connection.

8. Build remote culture

Most of the companies are new to the hybrid work environment. Back in 2005, just 1.8 million US employees worked from home. Today, that number has increased to approximately 39 million, that is 1 in 4 Americans are working from home.

To cope with this new trend, companies should create and maintain robust remote work culture. This means companies should invest in the training and development of their remote workforce. Building remote work culture is key for these companies to be agile, rapidly adapt to change, attract and retain top talent and stay competitive.

9. Lack of leadership

For most companies, remote work was more of a compulsion than a natural choice. Most of the leaders were not equipped to handle this sudden shift. When it comes to managing remote teams, managers require different skills altogether and most of them lacked these special skills.

Though some studies have proved that remote employees worked 1.4 more days every month than their in-office counterparts, managers were biased towards in-office employees. Employees who prefer to come to the office either due to habit or dislike for WFH should not doubt the integrity of employees who work remotely.

Employees who put in more work working from home wearing pajamas should not be undervalued when compared with their colleagues who work from the office. This will only create resentment and rift between the team members. To make hybrid work successful, managers must create a level-playing field between these two groups.

10. Invest in the right tools

To manage in-office and hybrid workforce effectively, organizations must invest in collaboration cum communication tools that everyone can use at home or in the office. Collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Google Hangouts, etc are useful for hybrid work.

Using these tools, you can call, chat or hold an impromptu meeting with anybody irrespective of their location. But the common grouse against these tools is you can get stuck in long and never-ending group chats that demand your attention 24/7. It puts pressure on the remote team members to be online & available all the time.

Also, since team members mostly use channels and not specific topics, context gets lost, and information gets buried. With a deluge of messages and notifications, you will end up losing some important information that can have serious implications on your work. Besides, these tools only focus on chats, but the information is shared in many other ways such as emails, online documents and social media among others. There is no way to bring active conversations in all these other forms in these tools.

With Clariti, not only can teams chat but they can also work with all communication forms naturally unlike Slack. Clariti supports email, chat, and shared documents among others to communicate. Not only does Clariti bring all the information in one place, but it also connects all the related information in TopicFolder.

Conclusion

If the pandemic has taught us one lesson about work, it is all about “how you work” rather than “from where you work.” Hybrid work offers various benefits for employees and about 30% of them are ready to switch their jobs if they are not offered flexible work.

Organizations are also realizing that it is necessary to offer a hybrid model to retain the best talent. Since the hybrid work model is fairly new, it is important for companies to analyze the pertinent risks of hybrid working prior to adopting it.

Subsequently, organizations need to work through the challenges of hybrid working by fine-tuning their policies, practices and collaboration technologies to best suit their working style and keep employees productive.

Bringing clarity to your world

If it's on our mind, you'll be the first to know!

Leave a Comment

Recent Blogs

instant messaging software
virtual meeting etiquette
save money using unified communications
improve internal communication in the workplace
benefits of unified communications