Across Canada, support for ongoing remote work in some form of hybrid work model has remained high, with a majority of the Canadian workforce stating they support them moving forward.
And the benefits have not been limited to the workforce, as hybrid work has driven great cost savings for businesses in terms of real estate and other expenses that are no longer necessary or are severely reduced by remote work.
Yet, many are hearing legitimate concerns from their staff and there is a prevailing sense that it is not hybrid/remote work itself that concerns workers, but rather the ways their employers have used it and the support their employer provides.
With the right strategy – and clear communication between your management team and your workforce – employers can ease these fears and create a hybrid work environment that benefits all involved, no matter where they work from.
Communicate Value Of Hybrid Work
Too often, major changes in business strategy or working models are met with resistance from an unwilling workforce, with a lack of communication from management to outline the value of the changes being a key reason why staff can be hesitant to adopt changes.
In fact, recent research from McKinsey that aimed to pinpoint the major friction points in hybrid working models pointed to the fact that employees who feel included in communication are five times more likely to report increased productivity.
Business leaders who are able to keep this in mind and provide open lines of communication with their team about the value of these changes – including the cost savings, the expansion of talent pools, and increases in productivity – will find that it will have a major impact on building employee trust and policy buy-in.
Provide A Level Playing Field
One of the largest concerns about hybrid work models that is commonly being expressed by employees is the divide that is being created between employees who are able to work remotely and those whose roles don’t allow for remote work due to logistical constraints.
And while those logistical constraints aren’t likely to be going away anytime soon, there are ways that business leaders can manually build choice and flexibility into all employee’s roles, with strategies like providing paid time off, flexible work schedules, salary adjustments, and company mobility options for all workers, including those whose roles keep them from working remotely.
By providing this type of unification – with costs that can be offset through savings from a hybrid work model – business leaders can democratize the employee benefits that many feel they are missing out on, and bring a new level of unity and community among your workforce that many feel is being undermined by hybrid work.
Provide Opportunity To Everyone
The divide between hybrid/remote workers and those who are unable (or prefer not to) to work remotely is not only limited to the flexibility of their schedule, role, and location but is also being widened by the difference in career opportunities.
For those who are able to work remotely, many feel they are missing out on considerable advantages that are being offered to employees who are able to take advantage of in-office collaboration, including job mobility and raises.
And yet, on the flip side of that coin, in-office workers are pointing to the ability of remote workers to relocate wherever they choose, including moving to areas with lower costs of living or moving closer to family or community, which millions of Canadians have already taken advantage of.
While this dilemma is not as easily solved as some of the other issues at play here, at Zoho, we have found a solution to this issue by providing smaller satellite offices away from the urban centers, where new talent can be onboarded with some face-to-face engagement, and existing, once-remote and now hybrid employees can collaborate with colleagues who live in the same general region or location.
We have dubbed this philosophy “transnational localism” and our team has viewed this as a huge advantage in improving our employee experience for all, remote workers and in-office employees included.
Trust Is Essential
Everything we have outlined above will help business leaders create a level playing field for all their employees – both in terms of flexibility as well as career opportunities – but without trust between your workforce and management teams, your hybrid work models will fail to provide the support your team needs to increase their productivity, collaboration, and overall well-being.
By providing that trust and a level playing field for all, your organization will be ready to remain productive and collaborative, no matter what the future brings.