|“Hybrid work is here to stay”
“CEOs predict full return to the office within 12 months”
“Return to office mandates not going as planned”
Clickbait headlines like these can be really confusing and in many cases, simply not true. Instead of trying to make sense of pundits’ conflicting predictions about hybrid work, here’s a chance to learn success strategies from real-life leaders making the move to hybrid.
What hybrid strategies and practices are you proudest of? That’s the question I asked more than a dozen managers attending last month’s Insights Roundtables. Here are just some of their responses:
Meetings and meet-ups
❇️ When we have a large town hall in our main location, we also have viewing parties in sites that are within driving distance of other company locations. We provide a food budget for more remote employees.
❇️ People get a “meet-up” travel allowance so they can decide when and where they want to meet colleagues in person.
❇️ Our team takes “work-cations,” where we combine free time, social activities and structured work time in an offsite location.
❇️ We have two all-hands social events each year where we bring everyone in the company together, covering travel costs. These meetings are so much fun, and we collaborate more easily when we go back to our remote offices.
❇️ When we meet in person, we make the most of the relationship- building opportunities, rather than cramming our time with work we can do remotely.
❇️ We’ve moved toward asynchronous online meetings so folks can join in on their own schedule.
❇️ We use a sliding scale to agree how urgently we need to meet in person
Scheduling office time and activities
❇️ We ask new hires to spend more time in the office in their early days, as long as their leaders, colleagues and/or mentors are also present. We schedule meetings with important connections for them in advance, and they have weekly 1:1 meetings with their managers in the first months.
❇️ We’ve established a guaranteed meeting-free day each week and stick to it. This way, people can get focused work done without fear of interruption.
❇️ Team members have the flexibility to select the best days for members to be in the office. It can be one day, two days, or even more. And sometimes it’s none. This can vary week to week.
❇️ We have “anchor days,” where everyone in the department comes to the office, which tends to be on a Tuesday or Wednesday. This way, we have more opportunities to interact, either intentionally through planned activities, or spontaneously in the hallways, cafeteria, or meeting areas.
❇️ We have an internal community-focused team that facilitates volunteer opportunities for our thousands of employees all year. This helps people to make new connections and to give back — very rewarding and energizing!
❇️ Each group or office develops their own activities and processes for onboarding new folks, mentoring, relationship-building, etc. Different groups have different needs.
Sharing knowledge, staying connected
❇️ Everyone on the team completes a skills and interests form to share with the team so everyone gets to know each other, especially important for people who don’t regularly work in the same location.
❇️ Our leadership started “random coffee trials,” where pairs of team members are randomly matched to meet and greet, share project work, and to get to know each other. It’s a great way to create networks and encourage collaboration. Staff members are encouraged to share their experiences at the whole team meetings as well.
❇️ We have created a “Wiki-like” internal documentation portal to make it easy to find and add topical information asynchronously, so we’re not as reliant on real-time meetings or emails to cross-pollinate knowledge.
❇️ We make video recordings of news alerts, team meetings, learning activities and other important events and conversations so no one gets left out, especially those who aren’t working that day or who live several time zones away.
❇️ We’ve started to track our carbon footprints to help justify our hybrid and remote strategies.
❇️ We’ve redesigned our workspace so people can choose from a variety of physical locations and set-ups to get work done on any given day.
❇️ We accommodate differences between the U.S. and other countries regarding their how their respective cultures view hybrid or remote work.
Not all ideas work the same way for every organization, but many of these ideas can be adapted for most organizations moving to hybrid. As you speak with business associates, friends and neighbors working in hybrid organizations, be curious about what’s working for them, and share what’s working for you.
Our Insights Roundtables provide a great forum for learning and sharing across a virtual table with fellow practitioners and peers. If you’d like to be included on invitation list for upcoming Roundtables, please reply to this email or send me a new email, and I’ll keep you posted.