Remote and hybrid work are here to stay. As companies transition to and solidify remote and hybrid work practices, it’s critical to make sure this new mode of working works for everyone. In many ways, this will require a shift of mindset. It’s no longer enough to try and tweak the way things have always been done; companies must start fresh and entirely rethink work. Here are 5 steps to take to navigate the shift to remote and hybrid work according to the McKinsey & Company 2022 Women in the Workplace Report:
1. Clearly communicate plans and guidelines for flexible work
As the world of remote and hybrid work continues to evolve, it’s important that employees know what they can expect even as businesses face unfamiliar territory. If you share guidelines about who can work remotely and why, employees won’t feel like they’re being treated unfairly. It’s also important to give employees specific guidelines to navigate the day-to-day complexities of hybrid work, such as establishing specific windows during which meetings can be scheduled.
2. Regularly gather feedback from employees
Only about 50% of companies have surveyed their employees on their preferences regarding remote and hybrid work over the last year. This means that many companies may not fully understand how policies may be affecting their employees, especially marginalized groups of people. As changes continue to roll out, companies want to keep a regular pulse on what’s working for employees and what could use improvement.
3. Invest in fostering employee connectedness
To foster employee connectedness means to be intentional about working norms—for example, having all employees join meeting via video conference so that it’s easier and more normalized for employees working remotely. It also means finding new ways to build camaraderie. In a virtual environment, it’s great to make creative uses of technology in order to emulate watercooler-style camaraderie. Take special care to make sure all employees feel included and have access to company events.
4. Be purposeful about in-person work
No one likes to feel like they’re wasting their time. With the advent of remote work, employee expectations of work have shifted; many employees no longer want to come into the office to do work that they could easily do at home. Now companies have started to use in-person work to take advantage of the team being together, such high-level planning, learning, and development.
5. Make sure the playing field is level
It’s important that remote workers get the same level of support and resources as on-site workers. People managers play an extremely important part in this process which is why many companies have invested in additional training on how to foster the career development of remote employees as well minimizing stigma about working from home. Provide equal access to mentorships and sponsorships. Companies must also make sure that people who are doing remote work aren’t cut out of performance reviews. Managers must evaluate employees based on measurable traits—not when or where they work—and must closely track performance rating and promotions for all workers. If they see discrepancies between remote and on-site employees, companies should revisit their manager training, career development, and evaluation practices to make sure remote employees are being treated equally.