Productivity doesn’t have to suffer in a hybrid work environment
Hybrid work has come to be known as the future of work as we look to how the workplace will function going forward. The balance of remote work and in-office opportunities that suit all employees needs and seamlessly integrating both will allow for optimal work conditions for all, allowing for schedules to be customized.
However, while the vision for hybrid work is one of optimized schedules and a flexible workplace, there are concerns surrounding productivity and adjustment to what is seen as the “future of work”.
3 Factors of Productivity
Productivity is not a feeling or wave that is conjured up from nothing and carries us to complete whatever is facing us. No, productivity doesn’t have to suffer in a hybrid environment. Influenced by internal and external factors alike that work together, these form the circumstances that make up the tasks and projects we are faced with every day both in and outside of the office.
We have all experienced walking into a room where it is not primed for work or trying to do work in somewhere that is full of distractions or does not fit the task we are trying to work on. This can be true for offices as well. Office environments have become mazes of cubes and desks that may not suit all personalities for work.
Some of us may require more isolated workspaces while others need a collaborative space to share ideas and plan projects. Tailoring the office to be an environment which lends itself to a range of tasks and projects as well as striking the optimal balance for all employees can be a challenge.
An increasingly important factor in the work environment is technology and the resources present. With remote workers needing to connect with those in the office, space must be outfitted effectively that enables both to seamlessly work together on projects. Tech-enabled offices are growing not just in popularity but necessity as a result of the adaptations we have made over the pandemic.
The tasks you have assigned to you play a larger role in your productivity than you may initially think, while adjusting your tasks and work style to the hybrid office environment can be uncomfortable.
For example, if your task is to draft blueprints for a project or job site and you need space to visualize or draft, if you are better outfitted to do this in your home office than in a populated office environment this task will be better suited to remote work that day. However, for the inverse if you are tasked with a group project that warrants collaboration, then a conference room in the office outfitted with the proper resources will likely be the best option for the task at hand.
While tasks are influenced by the environment, the task and what is required to do it are important to productivity. Tasks that require more focus and solitary work can incite more productivity if they are done in a fitting space with the right tools than if they are not.
We each possess our own personality and work styles, and while these cannot be adjusted like the office environment we are working in, we can use them as guidance for how we utilize the hybrid workplace and the opportunities that present themselves within it.
The way people innately react to the world around them or perceive it can influence an individuals productivity and output while in the office or working remotely. Structuring a workday or environment can be incredibly beneficial, once again supporting the notion that productivity doesn’t have to suffer in a hybrid environment.
In the office
For those who choose to return to the office, recreating your at-home work environment could be your best way to give yourself a leg up on the adjustment process. Going from a settled office routine to outfitting your home to optimizing this space, only to be thrust back into the office and restart the process can be a whirlwind. Recreating the space that you found works best for you will vastly improve your output and comfortability in the office environment.
Office spaces are being reimagined in the current corporate climate, with a focus on design and increased productivity while elevating the employee experience.
Choosing your office days
Curating your in-office schedule in order to match both your out of work life but your responsibilities at work as well. Selecting your in-office days on the basis of what fits your schedule but also the projects you have on hand can make hybrid working more streamlined. Need to collaborate with some colleagues? Booking a room at the office for a day or going in twice a week so the environment complements the task you are doing turns the office from a mandatory workspace into one that is available for use if you need it, much like a conference room.
Collaborating and connecting
The issue comes with bridging the gap between the office and at home with technology to outfit the workplace with sufficient resources to make collaboration and connection not only possible, but seamless. Productivity doesn’t have to suffer in a hybrid environment, and with split time between in-person collaboration in the office and time at home for independent projects, some may see an increase in their productivity. Those at the office should not be subject to spotty videoconferencing service or patchy wifi as it puts not just them but those at home at a disadvantage (and nobody likes slow internet).
Meanwhile those at home should be outfitted with or have access to the technology that allows for connection from the start. If there are any other services or software that they require outside of microsoft teams or zoom, let them know and have them provided with it as soon as possible.
And most importantly, check in with your remote staff to make sure they have all they need to do their job as well as if they were at the office themselves, communication and trust can build better relationships even over distance.
Choosing a location
Location for hybrid working can have an impact on the relationship with the office a worker has. If they are in the city and within commuting distance should an issue arise or they need to come in, does that effect their salary? Many companies have begun the conversation around how location should impact the salary of an employee or if it should at all.
This is going to be a mainstay in hybrid work conversations as the nuances of the system are ironed out across organizations everywhere, as some have already elected to slightly adjust salary based on location of the employee. This can lead to a division and should be handled carefully.
As we said earlier, proximity to management can be a factor that actually helps boost productivity as there are sightlines in a physical office. However, there are no sightlines when you are messaging and constant check-ins can be seen as a sign of distrust from one’s manager. Our suggestion? Open communication and foster a working relationship where if remote employees need resources or technology to better do their job they have easy access to what they need and trust in their employer that the work will be done.
Mere output is not an efficient indicator of productivity as there can be extenuating circumstances that can hinder output. Therefore, making sure the conditions for productivity are in place is a much better first step to evaluation.
The hybrid work system is evolving as organizations are figuring out how to optimize the workplace and balance remote and in-person work best for the benefit of their employees. The best way to ensure a successful and productive hybrid work system is to communicate and listen to employees needs and to incorporate them into the process of learning what works best. They are the ones who are going to be adapting to it as well and making sure all their needs are met and accounted for can go a long way in terms of productivity and employee satisfaction.