“Leading a hybrid workforce is going to be very difficult. We need to think about how to communicate, engage, motivate – all will be different going forward.” That was a salient quote from one of the HR leaders we spoke to for our report Leadership in the Pandemic.
In March 2020, business leaders across the world adapted quickly to ensure that entire workforces could fulfil their job role safely at home – with great success. Now, with offices open and business adopting hybrid working, the playing field has changed. Our whitepaper discussed the new challenges facing leaders when navigating the world of hybrid work; building and maintaining the bridges between homeworking and office-based staff.
Flexible working options are being introduced across many workplaces, and with the newly announced Government consultation into allowing employees the right to request flexible working from their first day, it’s clear that these options are here to stay.
Widespread homeworking throughout the pandemic brought to light the many benefits home working can bring, whether it’s an easier school run for working parents, or the extra hours freed up by avoiding the daily commute. Another benefit people have found is that by working from home, structures naturally became flatter, and decision-making became more agile with employees trusted to do more. However, businesses need to look at how to manage this long-term – it’s no secret that trust and communication are essential for a successful 21st century workforce.
Ensuring that your team can work cohesively across both homes and office spaces should be a core focus in a business leader’s checklist for providing a hybrid workplace. While many working parents have benefitted from being closer to home, junior members of staff may be keener to return to the office, having missed out on nearly 18 months of in-person support, thus potentially creating a talent vacuum in office spaces. As we explore in our report, the task of creating a shared culture across all demographics, particularly as recruitment of new staff surges, will certainly put leadership skills across all sectors to the test.
Navigating these challenges will be no easy feat, and it is imperative that business leaders keep a close eye on working patterns, adapt accordingly as workspaces become hybrid, and take into account the working needs of each individual. Our report discusses how motivation is intrinsically linked to one’s personal control over their life – as we come out of almost 18 months of social restrictions, ensuring that all individuals have the opportunity to complete their work in the location best suited to them and their lifestyle is paramount to avoiding a wellbeing and motivation crisis in the workplace.
At Merryck, we work to ensure that forward-thinking leaders are best equipped to take on these new challenges with aplomb. Leading a hybrid workforce is a task which, when taking the right steps, can be met with great success for all. At what is one of the biggest turning points for business leadership strategy in recent years, a “crucible moment” as it were, our mentors ensure that leaders are supported during this transitional time.