June 24, 2021

 

Chances are your workplace’s reopening plan involved letting employees continue working from home a few days a week.

An employee that spends time working both remotely and in the office is a hybrid employee. Hybrid employees are more common than ever as workplaces emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

But now employers are asking what’s the best way to manage workers that use the flexibility to work at home on occasion?

 

Managing Hybrid Employees

Train your managers.

  • Managing employees rarely comes easy to anyone, especially when managing from afar. Teach your managers how to set realistic expectations and goals for hybrid workers. For example, just as someone might be away from his/her desk at the office, that individual may miss a call at home as well. Teaching managers to have realistic expectations and setting achievable goals for employees, not only assists the managers but also alleviates anxiety for the employee as well.
  • Teach your managers to be on the lookout for proximity bias. Managers should be on the lookout for unconsciously favoring individuals that they see on a daily basis rather than individuals with a hybrid schedule.
  • Managers need to be taught how to give negative feedback to those individuals, as well, before the frustration grows. Provide some scripting in the manager training that will enable the manager to feel comfortable having frank conversations with hybrid employees.

Train your employees.

  • Employees need to understand that hybrid schedules do not mean that individuals do less or work fewer hours. Everyone, regardless of location, must meet goals and expectations.
  • Employees need to be encouraged to add Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc. information to meetings, and if a meeting needs to be conducted in person, then to inform the recipients of that expectation.
  • Ensure that hybrid employees understand expectations and feel comfortable communicating with his/her/their manager transparently. For example, if an employee does not feel comfortable advising the manager that expectations are not realistic, then the hybrid arrangement may not be best for that manager or employee until communication can occur openly and transparently without fear of retaliation.
  • Build in the expectation that those who are hybrid may not have a dedicated workspace when he/she/they are in the office, if appropriate.

Trust your employees.

  • This is perhaps one of the most important things to do when managing hybrid employees. It can be tempting to micromanage, but it simply isn’t sustainable and practical. Just because your employee wants to work at home one day doesn’t mean they’re not working. In fact, they may have discovered during the lockdown months they are more efficient when they’re home and away from office distractions. However, address concerns sooner rather than later.

Have frequent communication.

  • Employees will always want feedback, and it’s a good way to keep in communication with them. Perhaps schedule one-on-one meetings during a hybrid day. It’s a way to show you haven’t forgotten about them, and they’re still a part of the team.
  • Have communication that is not just work-related even on days that they are remote just as you would if the employee was in the building. Building that foundation is integral to employee engagement.

Information parity.

  • Ensure that you are sharing pertinent information with hybrid employees.  What would normally be hallway conversations need to be communicated to the entire team.

Provide social opportunities.

  • It’s no secret teams are stronger when everyone has strong working relationships. If you have a few employees on your team that are hybrid, keep them involved through a group chat, and schedule remote-friendly team gatherings and activities.

 

That’s what employers are asking us. If you have a question you want to be answered, email us at askapex@apexbg.com.

Brooke Salazar

Authored By

Brooke Salazar, JD, PHR

HR Consultant, Apex Associate Counsel and DE&I Officer
Meet Brooke