Updated: Oct 18, 2021
It’s no surprise that the global pandemic has impacted us in ways we couldn’t have imagined. We’ve seen some fantastic changes: less pollution, women leaders shining, disruption leading to innovation, and massive shifts to workplace norms changing from HQ offices to remote work.
Since March 2020, more than half of the workforce has moved to remote work, and interestingly enough, productivity has surpassed that of pre-pandemic office levels, dipping in summer months – but still well above in-office levels.
That productivity boost might be deeper than the physical comfort of, well, working in sweats. Wearing cozy clothes, for example, makes you happier, and being happier makes work more enjoyable, leading to increased productivity. The cycle comes full circle because productivity is proven to boost motivation and endorphins, making you feel even better.
But the benefits don’t stop there. We can achieve deep work more easily because we are less tethered to a fixed work schedule. Increased flexibility and autonomy make it easier to focus on results, and less on the need to be seen in the office for a fixed set of hours.
For many, that means having freedom for family, shortened workdays, finding dedicated time for passion projects, or even starting that side hustle you've been dreaming about.
Workers are embracing these benefits. Banter on social media platforms and recent surveys show a whopping 58% of workers will look for a new job if a hybrid model of work isn’t available. If you’re in an HR or decision-making role, it’s time to listen to your people.
How do you keep employees happy and productive in a hybrid workplace?
First of all, what the heck is a hybrid work model? Ideally, it's a utopian arrangement where workers can choose to work a few days at home blended with a few days at the office, thus enjoying the best of both worlds - collaboration with team members, and work from home days for quiet concentration. According to a recent Gartner survey, 82% of leaders plan to implement hybrid work as an option going forward. To make this model successful and retain employees, leaders and HR need to be intentional about how they manage their people while working remotely (home, coffee shop, beach in the Bahamas) and when they are in the office as well. Here are some points to consider:
Foster Corporate Culture. It’s entirely possible to have an equally amazing remote culture with a few considerations: take full advantage of chat software like Slack or Teams by including some fun channels for banter, jokes, contests, and of course, cat pics.
Build Foundations for Focus: Consider virtual coworking plans, like Focus Bubbles for individuals or whole departments. Help your staff protect their most valuable asset - focus and concentration.
Manage Moments that Matter: It’s no easy task, but understanding what's important to your staff in terms of their family-home life is key to supporting their productivity. Flexibility to design schedules in a way that accommodates their well-being will ensure everyone is able to be their most productive selves.
Re-invest the Savings: Turn electricity, buildings, supplies, etc savings into growth, innovation, or employee compensation. In doing so, communicate these efforts with staff for empowerment and corporate culture.
The transition to remote work was virtually overnight, but making meaningful, long-lasting changes to hybrid work will take time and understanding from everyone. Whatever side of the coin you’re on - management or employee - remember that we’re all in this together.
And reach out for help as needed. We encourage you to try your own Focus Bubble to see if it's right for you or your team. Contact us to learn how to build Bubbles into your successful hybrid model as a benefit to your staff, and boost company productivity in the process.
I have over 30 years of experience working with more than 10,000 clients in helping people unlock their productivity potential. Personal productivity is my passion! Every day I am curious and excited to learn what people are working on. I can’t wait to see you in a Bubble!