Finally, hybrid working is here, and if you’re a leader, you have to respond.
This time two years ago a lockdown was announced and the whole country was told to work from home. Managers overnight were faced with a new challenge: managing and motivating their teams — virtually.
Some companies had the organisational structure and IT to transition easily. For others, the change was traumatic. Their staff didn’t have the right equipment, learning Zoom was challenging, hunching over laptops at kitchen tables caused muscle problems and being surrounded by family and children could make it hard to concentrate. Leaders, used to sitting close to their teams, now had to manage at a distance. They were panicky, manicky times for many.
The Covid restrictions were supposed to be for a few weeks, then months and now, two years later, have only just been lifted. They lasted far longer than could have been predicted and most would have liked. But, touch wood, it appears we are heading for some stability.
However, the challenges for leaders remain.
The office now has to justify its existence. Some do want to go back. They feel disconnected at home and hunger for community. They find a shared work space a creative environment.
On the other hand, when the day is full of back-to-back video calls, why got to the office? Being surrounded by people means less work gets done. Many find they are more productive at home.
Hybrid working should offer the best of both worlds. In theory. Much in discussion in 2021, it now looks like being the true “new normal” for 2022. We’ve seen companies who used to have 100% of their workforce in the office go down to three, two, or even one day a week.
But how do leaders implement hybrid working successfully? How can they satisfy the preferences of their team? How can they monitor morale and performance when half their team is online (and it’s never the same half, depending on the day of the week)? How can they mentor and coach them? Organising a team to come on a particular day is an art, not a science, requiring leadership that will motivate and inspire.
When times are changing and everyone is getting lost in the details, going back to basics can pull a team back together.
“What are you trying to achieve? For whom? And why?” Answering these questions — after two crazy years — can guide a team through a period of transition.
A key role of leadership is to provide vision. While the practicalities of hybrid working take shape, something as simple as redefining a team’s mission provides a link between the old times and the new, unites them with a serious statement of intent, providing direction and focus, stripping away many of the stresses. Wherever the team is working from, they know what they are working towards, and why they should care .
Miradorus offers a Hybrid Leadership programme — in person, virtually, or a blend of the two — to support managers and leaders navigating the hyrbid working transition. If you’re interested in accelerating your team’s peformance click the button at the top of the page for a free one-hour consultation.