How can your company make a long-term success of the hybrid way of working?
More and more professionals are now juggling working from home or remote work with working in the office. As a company, it's important to recognise that hybrid working isn't just a fad... it's the new normal. But if you don't get your policy right, you risk seeing employee wellbeing and productivity take a turn for the worse. The vital question is: how do you embrace this way of working, without sacrificing employee health and wellbeing?
We can't just copy-paste our office life to our home life. A real policy is needed.
Hybrid working is increasingly becoming the norm in the business world. Simply put, it's about the way work is structured: being more flexible with where you work and when, focusing more on output than input, and making the most of digital tools as a means to achieve this. There are three dimensions that you as an organisation need to leverage: bricks, bytes and behaviour. The office acts as social glue (bricks), and technology provides new opportunities (bytes). But just as important is the human factor, meaning that habits are the key to make hybrid working a success (behaviour).
Now, these first two factors are usually already under control, but as an organisation you should focus much of your attention on behaviour. This affects the social, physical and mental wellbeing of every one of your staff members, which can significantly impact the success of your business. Make no mistake: hybrid working is not just a combination of remote work and on-site work that you're already familiar with. It's based on clear rules and structure, and requires a real policy on hybrid working.
The five pillars of hybrid working
So, where do you start when it comes to setting your policy on hybrid working? First of all, you as an organisation should consider to what extent you want to allow work processes to run simultaneously or not. Traditionally, most companies work synchronously, i.e. almost all employees work the same hours. The opposite is working asynchronously, i.e. employees work different hours, recognising that everyone has a different work rhythm. With this method, employees choose themselves when to answer emails or chat messages, but meetings take place within the agreed time slots. The major benefit? Everyone gets a chance to find the right work-life balance for them, with a positive impact on their performance.
The second pillar revolves around connective communication. A healthy, hybrid way of working requires genuine communication between all members of the team. In other words, just be yourself, because that's the only way to build meaningful, long-term relationships. Try listening to what's going on in your colleagues' minds and take a genuine interest. You may be able to come up with new solutions to overcome the challenges you face together, making collaboration much smoother!
The third pillar is staying focused while working from home. When the coronavirus crisis hit, many companies suddenly had to ask their employees to work from home, simply taking the same old working methods in the office and applying them to the home environment. Yet, working from home requires a different approach, as the boundary between your work and personal life isn't always clear-cut. That's why it is crucial for everyone in the company to align their way of working with how their brain and environment function. This means that employees can work uninterrupted, without being distracted. Companies that fail to take this into account risk seeing a drop in productivity and even a rise in mental health issues.
The fourth pillar focuses on the future of each individual's work. The age-old cliché is true: your employees' attitude affects their prospects of achieving their objectives and ambitions. By changing their mindset and learning to see opportunities instead of difficulties, hybrid working can become a catalyst to further develop employees' skills. As we now rely on technology more than ever, the new way of working is an opportunity for you to enhance your staff's digital skills.
But these four pillars all hinge on the fifth pillar: healthy habits. If you manage to incorporate a number of habits in terms of diet, exercise and rest, you'll soon see that there's a lot for you to gain from the hybrid way of working.
The right guidance by experts
So, hopefully it's clear: there's more to hybrid working than you might initially think, and it's better to take some time to plan, rather than jumping straight into it.
“The first step is to thoroughly understand what it entails. The next step is to draw up a transparent, comprehensive policy with clear agreements. And finally, you need to fully support your employees as they make the transition.”
That's why we have developed the Healthy Hybrid Habits programme! A series of five workshops where coaches with a proven track record walk you through the different dimensions of hybrid working. Once you've finished the course, you'll be able to support your employees and boost their productivity, focus, wellbeing and authenticity.
Is your company eligible the financial incentive employment-services ?
With the employability voucher scheme (werkbaarheidscheques), you can benefit from a financial incentive to invest in initiatives that boost employee wellbeing. Through this scheme, the Flemish Government will subsidise up to 60% of your project (including hybrid working initiatives), capped at a maximum of €10,000. An important prerequisite is that the services have to be delivered by a licensed registered service provider such as AG Health Partner! You'll find our name on the list of independent service providers by entering "AG Servicing" in the search bar here.
To verify if your company is eligible, visit this page.
De deadline for your application is 31 december 2021. And now that the post-coronavirus era is approaching fast, it's worth getting started on your hybrid working policy right away!