The world of working has changed completely since the pandemic. At the start, those who could work from home would do so exclusively and many offices closed their doors for good. However, as we start to operate in a world of ‘living with Covid,’ many businesses are encouraging workers to split their working hours between the office and working from home and be what is called a hybrid worker.
A recent study showed that 37% of companies expect that more than 25% of their employees will work in a hybrid model, so the way in which we communicate must be inclusive of those hybrid workers. So how can we improve communication with hybrid workers?
Have a Clear Communication Model Set Out, And Stick To It
As you would expect from working in an office pre-pandemic, having a clear communication model is essential for maintaining a structure for workers. It is the same principle for hybrid workers, lay out a plan for weekly meetings and establish when workers can attend remotely and when the meetings must be in person. Communicate with workers while making this plan to help employees structure their time accordingly. Hybrid workers run the risk of feeling excluded from their workplace, so building plans together can help hybrid employees feel part of a team as it will show the employers commitment to improving overall communication for everyone.
A communication model does not mean just having one line of communication, instead it is about building a structure which benefits all workers, including those who have opted for a hybrid style of working.
Ensure All Workers Have Access To The Same Resources
The switch to working from home was sudden, this left many workers underprepared. Not everyone had access to important things that were needed to work efficiently. As the world moves forward, and workplaces adapt to workers being hybrid, there is now time to ensure all employees have access to the same resources. Ensuring that hybrid workers can do their job equally well no matter where they are located is a good way to improve communication with a hybrid worker.
For a workplace that operates via a lot of virtual meetings, it may be that hybrid workers need high-quality headsets. Here is a helpful list of the best headsets of 2022. One of the most disruptive things during a meeting can be poor quality sound, so it can greatly improve your communication with your hybrid employees if they have quality headsets to work with.
Establish The Best Channel To Communicate
After working with hybrid employees for a while you will learn what communication channels works best for them. Once the best line of channel has been established, stick with it as constantly changing can lead to disruptions. Many workplaces find that it helps to have some sort of communication platform where you can have ‘watercooler’ chat.
Microsoft Teams is a good programme which works well in providing workers with an organised platform in which to communicate quickly. As a programme it always looks to improve the experience for its users. There are also third party tools such as Gamma, that you can use to ensure their lines of communication are reliable meaning that as an employer you can communicate easier with your hybrid employees via video call, voice chat or text.
Check In With Workers
Hybrid workers have a unique insight that other workers may not have, so it could be useful to check in with them and see if they find the current model of communication effective. Sometimes changes are needed but workers may not feel comfortable or may not have the opportunity to bring it up in a big group meeting so individual check-ins can be helpful.
It is also important to check in on your employee’s well-being. The working from home side of being a hybrid worker can have an impact on people’s mental health as they are isolated from their colleagues. A survey in 2020 showed that 25% of people said they were finding it difficult to cope with the isolation from their colleagues and the mental challenges that come with working from home. Checking in with your hybrid workers is important and can help improve your overall line of communication with them.
As we adapt to the new working world, it is important we always look for new ways of improving how we communicate. Hybrid workers are quickly becoming the most common form of worker, and two in five employers will embrace hybrid workers by 2023. This means companies need to be accommodating to the hybrid worker and work together to ensure communication is reliable and effective. Hybrid working is likely to be a permanent feature in most workplaces, and while it can be difficult to navigate through the new working structure, having a strong communication model can make it a little easier.