There have been many articles lately about the impact working from home has on individuals. Are people craving and needing in-person interaction in their working lives? The mission is on for leaders of businesses large and small to build the best working environment for them, their team and their business objectives. But is a hybrid way of working the best way for everyone?

There have been many buzzwords and phrases over the past year: ‘un-precedented’, ‘pivot’ ‘new normal’….and the latest is ‘hybrid working’. This has been used to describe the mixing of working in the office and remotely and running meetings with both formats. For me, this is just terminology. Instead of focussing on how much we split in-office and remotely, we should see this as an opportunity to champion a whole new way of working. Can we finally lose the stigma associated with working from home?

Can working from home finally be taken seriously?

The jokes weren’t uncommon – someone was working from home which immediately meant they were skiving. But now, in the aftermath of lockdown, working from home has been experienced by everyone. Hopefully finally it’s being accepted as being just as productive (often more) as working in an office environment. Home working has seen some people thrive and others not so much. It has to be all about balance and having strong leadership who understand their team’s strengths and where they thrive best.

If someone is still perched on the end of their bed trying to run meetings, perhaps equal home/office working isn’t right for them. They may need more of a focus on being in the office. You may provide the best IT and desk set-up in employees’ homes, but if they just don’t thrive ‘WFH’ then why persist? Whereas for someone who enjoys or thrives working from home, this can be factored into their work balance.

The difference in being hired remotely

For those that have experienced hiring or being hired remotely, it can be an odd and sometimes deflating experience. There is no fanfare or being able to go out with your new team for a proper welcome. Layers of energy have been removed and being able to read body language is hard, so it can feel somewhat stale and lacklustre.

These feelings can also feed into anxiety and stress if we are not careful. It’s up to good leadership to ensure that the person being hired is made to feel as welcome as possible. It’s feasible to offer a virtual onboarding experience in line with what they would do in person.

There was a great piece in Courier recently all about this with some great insight for leaders on how to manage the process. It ultimately stems down to communication and transparency in order for the new employee to feel as welcome as possible. Where you can, try and get an in-person meet up in the diary as soon as possible.

Leaving with a closing of the laptop lid and then silence

In another piece in Wired, it tells the story of Paul:

“Paul had no leaving party. He says the strangest part of ending his three-year stint as a communications consultant in London was when he sent his old laptop back to his previous company, then received the exact same make and model of laptop in the post from his new employer a few days later. On his first day, he switched it on at home, “basically logging on to a new Zoom link,” he says. “That was my new job. Same chair, same desk. Quite odd.””

Sad isn’t it. But avoidable…

It’s about common sense

Sounds obvious but nobody knows a business better than the people in it. The businesses that thrive are the ones that have great people at the top steering the ship. Good leaders know their teams, have been working with them closely during the pandemic, know their challenges and have adapted accordingly.

Great leaders will build a working environment that suits everyone as individuals and a collective. This in turn, benefits the business in terms of commerciality and staff retention.

If you could do with a helping hand formulating your working pattern and getting it just right, please do get in touch

Photo: Unsplash