Some surveys indicate that knowledge workers, who make up approximately 40% of the total workforce in the Czech Republic, worked mainly in offices before the Covid-19 pandemic. Now they are interested in a hybrid way of working, similar to people at AVAST.
There are other studies that say that people do not know what form of work they will use in the future. Another study showed that the older generation is interested in returning to office space. Their decision is related to inadequate background in the home environment: small spaces (small apartments, there are approx. 1.6 million such people in the Czech Republic), lack of concentration (husband, wife, children, roommates = situation during a complete Covid lockdown) or poor internet connection. At the same time, it is precisely a well-equipped home office that reflect in good work results – productivity.
Leaders and companies should therefore respond appropriately to the mixed feelings and wishes of employees and offer real flexibility in the workplace wherever possible. Create such hybrid teams that are comfortable working from home, while others work in an office space or from anywhere.
People have overcome every crisis and always come out of it stronger and a little bit wiser.
Managing hybrid teams may sound complex, but multinational company leaders have years of experience with hybrid teams. The real challenge of leading hybrid teams is not the technological or logistical part, but the emotional part.
Emotional connection and building human relationships remotely significantly helps individuals and teams feel engaged, which improves overall profitability by more than 20%, according to a Gallup survey. Emotions are the key to getting motivated and satisfied employees.
Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, employees formed relationships with colleagues and executives in a natural way: through brainstorming during meetings, chatting in the corridor or random ad-hoc meetings in informal zones, kitchens or rest/relaxation areas.
In the future, thanks to the hybrid way of working, it will become customary to separate the executive and creative parts of the business.
Hybrid team leaders will need to take more interest in, support and develop individual hybrid team members. Leaders need to be more empathetic, open, humble and in constant contact with all employees, not only in the office, but also with those who work from home or from the place that is most convenient for them.
Care for people and develop their digital skills (using technology), professional skills (continuous learning) and soft skills (communicating openly, collaborating across remote teams and realizing the importance of empathic concern). Developing soft skills is crucial for understanding self-discipline, engagement, company values and culture. The main goal of leaders is the “development of people”, their personality, expanding awareness of emotional intelligence, realizing the potential of communication, cooperation and way of thinking.
Emphasizing the “human factor” is key for hybrid teams and the form of working/collaboration from anywhere. As social meetings return to an acceptable normal, leaders should provide enough appeal to attract employees back into the office space. These are mainly joint activities, team meetings, workshops or informal team discussions, even with remote participants, which remove the walls between all team members. However, this will also depend on the technological equipment of the work spaces. People will expect some experience from the work performed, and technology is essential to a true digital experience.
Advantages of working from home: with less presence in the office, we reduce office space rental costs, less frequent commuting reduces emissions and saves time that can be devoted to work-life balance.
The very way we work has changed. There have been more people who can routinely work from home. Today, more than a third of all employees in the Czech Republic are on home office.
Source: New LMC Yearbook
Employees who work from home are not secondary staff, they are just physically absent from the office environment. The risk of hybrid work and the hybrid workplace is that dispersed workers feel overlooked, under-recognized and under-engaged. Leaders must make sure and make an effort to connect emotionally with all employees, even those far away, and be close to them at all times.
To maintain sanity and prevent continuous online work 24/7, we need to set clear boundaries, include rest breaks, set rules for email communication, and create a standard for more flexible, efficient, and cost-effective collaboration in a virtual environment (communication platform). If you are part of an international team and have meetings later at night, take your personal time between 9:00am and 5:00pm and share these activities with other team members on the online calendar.
Hybrid team leaders must communicate continuously so that everyone feels part of the same message and company values.
Companies must absolutely adapt office spaces that offer a good atmosphere, collaboration, active involvement even with remote teams, but also something extra that people lack at home, an immediate zest and enthusiasm for work that work well in flexible, smart and safely designed offices.
In this sense, people recognize the importance of interpersonal/physical contact, dialogue, time spent together, thinking, understanding and creating new ideas in a team. Paradoxically, we will value the relationship with colleagues, business partners or customers more. Office spaces will become open hubs of social, cultural and creative needs that express the philosophy and focus on corporate culture.
The future of work means a partial return to some proven rules that worked before the pandemic, but also new experience and habits acquired during the pandemic. Imagine the new possibilities that this connection can bring us, if the content and purpose of our work allow it. Take advantage and take the best of both ways to find the best fit for you. It is worth it!