Hybrid Work Model: Time To Reinvent Managers' Communication Approach

Leaders will need to be more mindful and creative in their efforts to understand what every individual is working on, recognize the efforts, facilitate interconnection between work efforts, assess what support is required, and most importantly, check-in on how they are doing – personally and professionally


Covid has changed the way organisations operate and function. It has provided an opportunity to revaluate and explore creative, yet productive ways of working. Hybrid model is now evolving as the New normal of working. While it offers flexibility, freedom, and convenience to employees, it will be critical for companies to effectively communicate and engage with their workforce to ensure work productivity and efficiency is not compromised.

Good organizational alignment is important for a successful Hybrid work model. It is therefore imperative to maintain clear communication around an organization’s strategy, goals and culture. Here are some guidelines which if well implemented, will help maintain the fine balance between employee happiness and work alignment.

Build a Digital Culture to reach out

Email isn’t your only option to collaborate with team members when working remotely. In fact, there are many digital platforms and tools that can ease the transition to a remote work setting and create an environment that allows for better collaboration.

For instance, Teams is a collaboration tool where workers can chat directly, share files and documents, host voice or video calls and share their screens with each other, which makes working on projects more collaborative and easier from afar.

Invest in relationship building and personal connects

One of the biggest transitions that employees face when working remotely is the lack of human interaction and the lack of structure.

Leaders will need to invest more at the personal level to ensure relationships are nurtured across remote employees. Being mindful and creative in their efforts to understand what every individual is working on, recognize the efforts, facilitate interconnection between work efforts, assess what support is required, and most importantly, check in on how they are doing – personally and professionally.

Managers need to be more thoughtful about creating emotional connections to the organization and to their colleagues through planned social interactions. Make some time at the start of meetings to share and exchange personal updates or conduct other exercises which foster mutual trust, care and respect for one another.

Set clear remote work productivity standards

Work plans should be developed and communicated to the team members proactively with clearly defined performance standards and measures of productivity. To help employees maintain their productivity levels and not feel disconnected, regular virtual check-ins/ team huddles with managers should be encouraged.

Managers should be coached to set and communicate clear standards to remote team members and also ensure governance. Setting up periodic virtual or in-person all-team meetings is crucial to help everyone stay on the same page.

Communicate the common purpose

Distributed workforce needs to have a clear understanding of their common goals and purpose. When employees and groups have a good understanding of what is expected from them, the work location doesn’t become a hindrance in achieving their objectives.

It is imperative to share business news and updates regularly and quarterly via Town halls to increase visibility and company-wide alignment – one of the important step towards building employee trust.

Drive a culture of ownership

Regardless of title, ownership must evolve past philosophy and become strategic for hybrid work to function at scale. This means employees must own their projects and responsibilities; even individual contributors must have the structure and autonomy to manage their own time and skill development. Project managers, meanwhile, must oversee the workflow and communication among teammates, whether they are in-house or working remotely.

Employee feedback matters

Hybrid work requires better employee listening efforts. Managers and leaders must be open to understanding the impact of hybrid work on employees’ wellbeing, motivation, engagement, collaboration, and productivity. We need to create a culture where employees feel that their feedback is valuable.

Fostering a culture of knowledge sharing

Knowledge sharing among employees is beneficial for both company success and employee development. For remote teams or employees, fostering a culture of knowledge sharing and providing a learning platform is critical as they may have less opportunity for in-person knowledge sharing or social learning.

Host casual hangouts and happy hours

Personal interactions are essential part of each company culture because they make work meaningful and enjoyable. Such lighter conversations provide opportunities for team members to get to know each other better. Make time for happy hours, fun Fridays to keep employees engaged and excited to be part of the team.

In conclusion, my strong belief is that Hybrid Working is here to stay. Organisations need to invest in building a strong culture, technology, provide employees with all necessary infrastructure, engage and connect with them, and empower them to make this new paradigm a success.

(The given article is attributed to Melvin Gladstone, CHRO, Edelweiss General Insurance and solely created for BW People)


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