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How to Manage Remote and Hybrid Working Effectively

When the Covid-19 pandemic forced many people to work from home, the long-term impact of this enforced change to working practices couldn’t have been foreseen.

But as Covid restrictions eased, many people chose to continue working from home, or at least split their time between home and the office, citing benefits such as a better work-life balance, reduced commuting costs and higher productivity.

So today, countless employers who want to attract and retain the best people have had to respond to changing habits and offer either full-time homeworking or hybrid working as options.

But if employees aren’t in the office as much as they used to be, how can you manage them effectively to make sure you’re getting the most out of your team?

Here are a few key recommendations.

Provide the right tools

You have the same legal obligations to staff who are working from home as you do to those in the office, which includes making sure they have the right equipment.

Technology is crucial to ensure easy connectivity between remote and office-based workers, so make sure you provide them with everything they need, allow staff to request particular tools, and update their equipment when necessary.

Hold regular one-to-one meetings

Checking in individually with employees who work from home lets you find out what they’re happy with, unhappy about and any other issues they may have, be they large or small. It can be a fairly informal chat, but it really helps to keep the lines of communication open, so everyone can engage openly and honestly.

Remote workers shouldn’t receive less of your time and support just because they’re not in the office every day, so regular communication can also help you make sure nobody falls through the cracks.

Encourage video conferencing

When you work remotely, it’s easy to rely on email and instant messaging to interact with your colleagues. But face-to-face interaction is so important, so you can actually see and hear the people you work with every day.

That can make remote workers feel more like part of the team and strengthen relationships among your workforce, so we’d strongly recommend video conferencing as your first choice means of communication.

Set clear expectations

It’s important for every single employee to know what’s expected of them, so they can perform the tasks they’re required to complete on time and to the right standard. That’s equally true of both office-based and remote workers, so don’t expect different standards from people depending on their way of working.

Make remote workers visible

We’re not talking big brother here, with bosses tracking remote workers’ computers. But you can put processes in place to ensure everyone has a good idea of what everyone’s up to and where they are, for the benefit of the wider team.

That could be a morning meeting on Zoom where each person checks in with their colleagues to discuss their priorities for the day, setting up a shared calendar so everyone can see at a glance where and when someone is working, or using a project management system to keep colleagues in the loop about a particular task or project.

Hire the right people

Actively looking for people who are self-motivated, able to work on their own initiative and with a track record of being reliable and focused on results can help you make sure you get the best outcomes from staff who don’t work in the office full-time.

Communicate with your team

If a decision about the business is taken at a senior level, make sure it’s not just office-based staff who know about it. By sharing useful and up-to-date information with every single member of your team, whether they’re at home or in the office, you’ll give them a clear view of where the wider business is heading and they’ll appreciate that you’re keeping them in the loop.

Arrange physical meetings

Provide opportunities for hybrid workers to get together informally, such as quarterly away days or occasional evenings out. Not only can this be a great morale booster, it gives your colleagues a chance to get to know each other in a different environment, so they’ll engage with each other better next time they’re working from home.

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