As the pandemic eases up and more businesses are allowed to re-open, companies are offering a combination of remote and on-site working. Known as a hybrid virtual model, some employees are on the work premises as others work from home. The hope is that the model increases productivity for individuals and smaller teams and improves employee experiences. The positives for executives is that it lowers costs.
Despite the many positives of a hybrid virtual model, there are also many downsides. These difficulties are due to the organizational norms that make up a work culture–namely standards of behavior and interaction that build shared trust, social cohesion, and a sense of belonging. The virtual environment may increase the ill feelings remote workers may have, such as isolation and unhappiness, if they do not have organizational performance. This organizational culture allows employees to build a common purpose and shared identity.
Hybrid and Virtual Solutions – What Managers Can Do
The human resource industry has developed solutions for these challenges. One solution is to bring the hybrid, virtual, or remote workers into the office, possibly the main office or the firm’s branches, to offer these individuals a place to collaborate and connect with colleagues. This can further build the organizational culture.
Another solution is for executives to create small teams, where the team members have most or all the skills needed to carry out a project. In order to have a successful team, executives must put much thought into the environment and ensure that the team has all the resources they need. Executives must then oversee the team’s work with a light touch, knowing that the team cannot overcome bureaucratic challenges on their own.
Despite the independence company executives offer teams, they evaluate progress and allocate resources according to how teams do against their measures of performances and strategic priorities, only providing support from time to time. This supportive structure fosters innovation. To do this, managers need to demonstrate how independence for a team generates more value. Having small teams also decreases the level of business risk due to its collaborative nature. Company managers also need to put strong performers on teams once they are created, resulting in a stronger team. The hope is that by placing their best-performing employee(s) on a team, the other team members will strive to be at the same level as the strongest member. The managers also need to ensure that the team is aware of their customers, as well as having an understanding of the business priorities. This allows the team to track the customer experience in relevance to their respective department. The managers also need to allocate the resources upfront and hold the teams accountable for any delays in their work, in order to consistently advance the business’ mission and strategic priorities. This process can be achieved via managers mingling with their teams–through joining the team meetings because it improves the level of communication and problem-solving teams have.
Both the executives and managers must manage the experience employees have, to continue to build and grow the sense of belonging and shared purpose organizations possess, especially as the firm expands.
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Written by Alexa Do