Working remotely or working in the office shouldn’t be considered separately. It’s very likely that your people will want a combination of both and a truly flexible approach to work. To make flexibility work, consider the need for certain points of consistency, such as work in progress meetings, status updates and the use of a central calendar or CRM system, which allows people to work their calendars around their colleagues. The right technology allows the possibilities of hybrid working and split teams to be a success.
Flexibility might be considered a given in light of pandemic working practices informing a hybrid approach for the longer term, but it’s still a benefit and will only work if your people take ownership of their time and have accountability for the impact of their work and deadlines on their colleagues and the business.
A back to work briefing or video conference before the workplace re-opens is a good way to lay out the management team’s expectations of everyone within the business. Your commitment to flexible working – and illustrating how it can look when done well – will demonstrate your investment in your people, which, in turn, will renew their enthusiasm for the next chapter in getting back to normal at work. Use this forum to answer any questions and then illustrate the positive impact on the business that hybrid working can bring when everyone plays their part.
Flexible working arrangements will then need to be decided on a one-to-one basis and communicated to the wider team so that everyone has the same respect for each other’s time.
With flexible working comes a real opportunity to recruit, retain and invigorate the best talent within your business. It also comes with responsibility, not only to your management team, but to each of your people; a responsibility to communicate more effectively than ever and to be visible within the business, even if you or they are not physically present.
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