How To Build a Long Term Remote / Hybrid Strategy

Jackie MacGregor

In early 2020, almost every company worldwide had to react and shift quickly to home-based working, whether they were ready or not. Now, we have an opportunity to take a more intentional, strategic approach to remote work. This not only affects company policies but also management practices. All indicators show that we will move to a working model which supports, or perhaps encourages, a significant level of remote working.

So, managers and team leaders, what is your long-term remote strategy?

In my previous blog, I had touched on the impact of hybrid working on leading a team. And whilst companies are looking at what policies will look like to achieve an optimal remote / hybrid work strategy, a recent PWC survey of 133 US executives showed nearly one-third described their approach to post-pandemic remote work as “going with the flow.” So, whilst HR specialists are looking at the policies and procedures to support this, what can we as managers be looking at and preparing for to allow us to perform in a long-term remote world?

How do we foster a healthy remote / hybrid working environment? We want a culture which encourages and supports those in the office, those working remotely and those juggling both.

Can you make a declaration to your team? In the early days of the pandemic, IBM employees created a “work-from-home pledge” that specified company norms – including how to communicate and treat each other while working remotely.  This declaration was supported from the CEO level down. Similar leader-led supportive statements can significantly impact on the remote-work climate that evolves post-pandemic.

Can we help our teams to better manage work and life priorities?  Speaking frankly, we can’t always find the perfect balance, however, this is an opportunity to help employees find a rhythm that works best for them. As a leader, your team may look for your lead and guidance on this – be it around advising on dedicated workspace, change in working hours, encouraging fake commutes or walking meetings or perhaps setting personal boundaries.

As managers, we are having to be more empathic than ever, and show real awareness on what goes on outside the 9 to 5.

Create a team that feels valued and safe.  After all, we are all in this together, was our mantra during the midst of the pandemic.  Ask questions, check in on your team, show your vulnerability (after all we are learning through this as well), and encourage risk. Now is the best time to pitch new ideas, new approaches and new technology – encourage innovation.

Can we nurture accountability and trust? This is time to re-establish trust with our teams, as it can be more difficult to understand a remote workers drivers, actions and motivations. Update goals and objectives, some will be the same, some will change completely, however it means everyone is on the same page moving forward.

As leaders and managers, now is the time to reflect on what you and your team have learned over the past year and use this new knowledge and experience to create your own optimal workplace of the future.

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