With restrictions around the world beginning to slowly ease, and home working set to become more normalised, many leaders have understandably been wondering how their teams will operate post-crisis.
Much of the answer to this question is currently unclear. However, it seems inevitable that many organisations will adopt more flexible working policies, allowing at least an element of home working to continue after the lifting of national lockdowns.
After all, employers have found throughout the toughest times during the pandemic that it’s possible for them to quickly set up huge infrastructure to allow for home working. In the process, they have also largely discovered that their people have remained engaged and productive, having adapted quickly to their new working lives.
But, how will this remote working shift impact teams more widely, and importantly, how best should managers lead their employees amid such significant changes in how they work?
After weeks of working from home, many employees have now found their flow and established routines that suit them well. Consequently, they have been able to both heighten their productivity and achieve a healthier work-life balance.
Yet there are also some workers who are struggling with the transition and missing office life. These employees are eager to get back into the office for the social interaction and clearer dividing line between their home and work lives.
Everyone is different when it comes to their attitudes to working from home – and employers will need to take the time to understand each employees’ own preferences in the new era of work.
It’s likely that a degree of home or remote working will become a longer-term part of our daily working lives, post-crisis. This might mean that – government guidelines permitting – many organisations contemplate the adoption of hybrid teams going forward.
Some organisations will inevitably leave the decision as to whether and when to come back to the workplace to each individual employee. It is likely that such employers will manage this process on a case-by-case basis, acknowledging that some people will be keen to come back to the office, while others won’t be.
Variations in employee circumstances, preferences or requirements within the same workforce could lead to the rise of hybrid teams, which are teams in which some members work in the one co-located workplace while others work remotely.
So, each day at your workplace could look very different, with part of your team coming into the office on some days, and others staying at home. This is an entirely new challenge for most leaders, so it’s important to think now about how you might best lead your newly hybrid team in the not-too-distant future.
Effective leadership of a hybrid team, in essence, comes down to practising fairness and inclusiveness with every member of your staff, irrespective of where they are working. You can achieve this in the following ways:
As we look forward to the new era of work post-COVID-19, it’s clear that our places of work may become more fluid than they have ever been before. Our traditional workplaces may have fewer people in them, as employers afford their team members the flexibility to come into the office some days, and then work the rest of the week at home. This may cause the dynamics of teams to change from one day to the next, which necessitates careful management.
As a leader, then, it’s important to put yourself on the front foot now, by starting to think about how you might best lead your newly hybrid team in the not-too-distant future.
Nick Deligiannis began working at Hays in 1993 and since then has held a variety of consulting and management roles across the business, including the role of Director responsible for the operation of Hays in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. In 2004 Nick was appointed to the Hays Board of Directors, and was made Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand in 2012. Prior to joining Hays, he had a background in human resource management and marketing, and has formal qualifications in Psychology.