Hybrid work environments, combining remote and in-person work, are here to stay because the hybrid office offers flexibility that benefits employees and organizations without detracting from productivity. But with those benefits, there have been challenges. Remote workers have struggled with setting boundaries, building and deepening team relationships, and getting the easy access to resources they need to do their job. How should workers adjust to this remote model? After a year of accelerated experimenting due to the pandemic, there are clear steps employees can take to ensure this new hybrid model of work is successful. A few important considerations can help you limit your work stress and approach your job with a healthy body and mind.
Be part of company culture
As wonderful as remote work can be, there’s simply no substitute for in-office bonding, whether it’s around the coffee machine or on lunch break. A hybrid work environment necessitates the creation of a different kind of company culture, one that treats remote work as part of the new normal. Schedule virtual coffee breaks and lunches with coworkers; if you’re overwhelmed with screen fatigue, start an activity like a book club or a health challenge that gets you (and your colleagues) away from the computer. If shared activities like an online cooking class or scavenger hunts aren’t already happening, suggest similar activities to your HR team. It’s possible to create social connections even through Zoom and across miles — it just takes a shift in perspective and some creativity.
Be intentional about balance
Whether you have a dedicated office space, or your kitchen table does double duty as your desk, creating a healthy work/life balance has become much harder when there’s no physical distinction. The new workday often means getting emails, Slack messages, or Zoom invites well before your day starts or long after it’s ended. Whether you’re working from anywhere every day, or just a few days a week, set boundaries. Block time for breaks away from your screen and for exercise; eat healthy and avoid the all-too-tempting pantry of snacks; develop a habit of scheduling meetings within everyone’s workday; and, with the occasional exception, decline meetings that fall outside of yours. Because discipline around boundaries can be difficult to maintain, think about using some of the popular apps created to help you.
Advocate for the technology you need to do your job
While innovation has made hybrid work possible, certain tools elevate the experience. Three key considerations should drive an organization’s technology decisions for those logging in from anywhere. First, go with solutions based in the cloud. The old model of software that has to be downloaded on an employee’s desktop computer or on servers tucked away in a company closet doesn’t meet the performance or innovation demands of modern business. Second, security is a top priority. Securing devices with antivirus and keeping work devices separate from personal use are just two best practices, and IT teams should distribute security policies to help educate employees. Lastly, the employee tech experience has to be a great one. A directory service like JumpCloud allows employees to access any resource they might need using a single log-in, offering top-notch behind-the-scenes security so workers can focus on what matters — making work happen.
While the contours of the post-pandemic world are beginning to take shape, those preparing for the permanent presence of a hybrid workforce will be ahead of the game.