Jan was recently featured in the Business Journal feature “Want to lure hybrid workers back to the office? Here are five factors that could make or break your effort.”

Here is a link to the article, however, if you don’t have a subscription we’ve supplied a snippet of Jan’s key points below.

 

3. The other infrastructure

For many businesses, experts say one of the big initial issues with return-to-office efforts isn’t an outdated physical structure — it’s a lack of structure in the return plans themselves.

Companies would require employees to return to the office for a certain number of days a week, but many workers were being greeted by mostly empty offices.

Jan Lehman, founder of CTC Productivity, said “connect days,” which are dedicated days when an entire department or an entire company will be in the office, are often an effective solution.

“It’s like, ‘OK, we can be hybrid, but everybody will be in on Wednesdays,’” she said. “So you know everybody’s going to be there and those are your collaboration days.”

By adding structure, Lehman said companies can take full advantage of the office. If approached correctly, Lehman said connect days can also cut down on Zoom calls when employees are working from home — another added benefit.

4. Communication is critical

Surveys have shown many remote workers are on edge about how proximity bias can affect their careers, and increasing economic uncertainty adds more anxiety to the mix.

Without the regular informal conversations with managers that take place in the office, Lehman it’s natural for some employees to get worried in times of turmoil.

“No news is perceived as bad news. What’s happening quite often is, when you’re not there, our minds just assume the worst,” Lehman said.

That runs both ways. Employees may get concerned about a lack of communication from their manager, and managers may assume silence from an employee means they aren’t being productive.

That’s one reason Lehman said proactive communication is pivotal on both sides as companies rethink their workplace models.

Employers need to be regularly communicating and getting feedback from remote workers while also seeking to build relationships and culture.

At a time when workers are getting more worried about potential future layoffs, Lehman said small steps like taking employees to lunch or providing a gift card can mean a lot when it comes to connecting with a dispersed workforce.

5. Why trust is the most critical ingredient in a hybrid office

As experts have noted before, the success of a hybrid office can come down to trust.

Lehman said the situation often is dictated by the mentality of leadership at a company.

Some may choose to gamble with an in-office approach that carries the risk of higher turnover or increased recruitment challenges.

Others may be uncomfortable with remote work but are willing to move forward with a hybrid structure because the alternative is losing out on talent.

Experts say companies will have to find the strategy that works for their needs and the level of trust managers have with their employees.

As attractive as the model is to job candidates, the reality is the hybrid approach may not work for some managers.

“I think hybrid work has just heightened the importance of trust in a work environment,” Lehman said. “If you don’t have trust, you really do probably need to see the employee.”

 

We’d love to hear what you think? How does this align with what is happening in your workplace? Let me know!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Be the first to hear any updates from CTC!