Returning to work in a hybrid office brings a number of challenges for managers. During the pandemic, many companies focused on getting through the day-to-day work and didn’t consider long-term strategies. They also adopted any technology that already existed, even if it meant it was not a great long-term solution. Everyone thought it was a blip and we would all “return to normal” one day. As employers choose a hybrid office model, the way managers work will need to change. Managers will need to build both trust and technology into their teams to move forward.
Managers have always built up trust that their teams to get the work done right and on time. However, in a hybrid work environment, a manager may go long periods without seeing everyone on their team in person. Managers and team members in the office and at home will need to communicate and coordinate more to work together. Instead of overseeing tasks, managers will need to shift to an advisory role that provides guidance, ideas and encouragement for their team. Researchers at Gartner, an advisory firm that specializes in human resources, estimates that 30% of managers do not have the skills and capabilities to evolve into this new role. And, roughly 25% of managers do not want to try to develop them. Building these emotional skills will be critical in leadership going forward. Companies should evaluate their employees to see if they have some non-traditional leaders who are ready and willing to step into the new managerial role.
Many companies adopted Zoom meetings for all teams; but it was designed for small groups or one-on-one use. Large Zoom calls create many inattentive audience members who are just wasting time on the call. Redesigning meetings makes sense in the new hybrid office. Managers can adopt project-based meetings or break their team into smaller groups to be more efficient. Other technology such as digital whiteboards and collaboration tools can also create ways for your team to work together. Better meeting technology will also collaboration and working together easier for the hybrid office.
Instead of forcing a one-size-fits all hybrid policy, companies should develop an internal set of guidelines for managers to use. That way different departments are able to adapt the technology and build greater trust throughout the organization.
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