We’re closing in on three years since the initial pandemic lockdown. Although the events of 2020 may seem like a distant memory, many companies are still in the throes of remote vs office agony, struggling to get their teams back into a balanced groove. Why the friction? Turns out, people overwhelmingly like working from home. Pushback from higher ups who want a return to “the way things were” often cite productivity as their biggest concern, but there’s new evidence that shows quite the contrary.
A survey by Prudential revealed that “87% of American workers who have been working remotely during the pandemic would prefer to continue working remotely at least one day a week, post-pandemic. Among all workers, 68% say a hybrid workplace model is ideal.
In a working paper that came out this summer, Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom published “How Hybrid Working From Home Works Out”. Findings pertaining to the group of employees who were given a flexible work schedule (three days in office, two at home) were significant: this group reported lower attrition rates, had improved self-reported work satisfaction scores, lines of code written (when applicable) increased by 8%, and employees’ self-assessed productivity was up 1.8%.
There are handfuls of other articles and studies, all with the same resounding conclusion: working from home works. So, how do you run a hybrid team successfully? We wanted to share some guidance on how to recapture a productive, cooperative team atmosphere no matter where you’re clocking in.
Create (and stick to) a Game Plan
At its core, Status Hero is team alignment software. It’s useful for accountability, communication and having a real-time log of the work minutia, but arguably its best asset is the ability to see your team in a bigger picture and over the course of weeks, months, years. A huge challenge we see remote teams face is losing sight of the big picture when getting caught up with day-to-day challenges. Scott Dawson, author of “Handbook for the Modern Worker”, starts his tip for the modern worker with sound advice:
Stick to the plan. Reactionary bosses cultivate stressful environments. Be organized. Be visionary. Play the long game. Things go more smoothly if you have a well-publicized plan.
The ability to recenter and refocus a team is perhaps easier said than done, but reframing some periphery issues in the context of a bigger goal makes small things seem, well, small. It also puts you in the headspace to celebrate wins and share well-deserved excitement when your team is getting close to completing a shared goal.
Be Hyper Aware of What Remote is Missing
If your team has elected a hybrid work schedule, take advantage of the days that everyone reports to the office. While remote work has a laundry list of perks, there are of course some trade offs. Fully remote teams have documented areas of work that need special consideration, including: a lack of mentorship and the ease of establishing a mentor/mentee relationship, loss of physical space for workers to collaborate, and developing and maintaining bonds with colleagues. If you are setting up a hybrid work environment, be mindful of what remote space lacks so you can design more purposeful days in the office. This might include:
- A seasoned staff member inviting someone newer to the team to collaborate on a project
- Staff parties to celebrate newcomers to your team or just to congratulate the team on a job well done once a shared goal has been completed
- Access to meeting rooms that are fully equipped with the technology that promotes teamwork and idea sharing
- Team building exercises - this one will obviously be dependent on your specific team (but please, no more collegiate ice breakers)
Lead By Example
Revamping your entire company or team’s work schedule is going to require a top down approach. For example, if your company decides to implement a Monday/Wednesday/Thursday in the office, then all higher ups need to abide by the rules that they themselves set in place and make sure they are also in the office during the times agreed upon. This sets the tone that everyone is on the same page.