by | Jul 22, 2021

We’re all tired of hearing how the COVID-19 pandemic changed things forever, but it’s really true when it comes to the work structure and work-life balance of companies . Now that vaccinations have paved the way for employees to come back to the office safely, companies like JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank are letting their people split time between remote and in-person work.

As different situations apply to different employees, it can be difficult to coordinate communications and optimize processes. Here are three strategies for efficiency in the hybrid office.

1. Get employees to share their activity statuses.

With some people in the office and some people still at home, most work is still going to happen on digital project management platforms. If your company has flexible scheduling or employees in multiple time zones, the people trying to reach them can save time and effort by knowing when they can expect an answer — because some of your employees may not be quick to email back in their off time.

Encourage employees to enable status messages when they’re not available so that others will know when they can be reached or who should be contacted in their place. With the expectation of flexibility in the hybrid office, communication like this is especially important.

2. Streamline meetings as much as possible.

This one’s not new, but meetings remain the biggest threat to efficiency in the hybrid office, just like the pre-pandemic way. Meeting overload is an especially big concern when many of your employees are still fully remote because, to them, it feels like they have to be available 24/7 and they can never step away from the desk.

Encourage employees to expedite meetings in any way they can. It’s best to only invite those who will be involved in making decisions or bringing key information, not just listening. Hosts can send a meeting summary or recording to those people afterwards. It’s also helpful to have an agenda going in with a specific list of objectives that need to be accomplished in the time set out.

The physical office has a different purpose for most employees now versus two years ago, so it’s especially important to make sure you’re not forcing them to come in for meetings that they could just read a summary of later. Streamlining meetings and letting people get back to work is a building block of the optimized hybrid office.

3. Don’t lose the bonding events from lockdown.

Now that some employees are back in the office, it may be tempting to go back to in-person happy hours and parties exclusively, but you could lose touch with a big portion of your workforce. Make sure to mix it up with some digital events that cater to the remote employees across your company.

While many of these events probably don’t shine as brightly as the in-person equivalents, they may inspire employees to show up at the office to catch up with the friends they’ve made online (or made before the shutdown). Some events, like video game tournaments or board game nights, can actually be more fun online as people get to play consistently throughout the event with less hassle. Encouraging casual chemistry within your organization will lead to better collaboration, and it’s important to make sure that remote employees don’t get lost as you try to make the most of the hybrid office.

Want to engage remote and in-person employees at the same time? Tribe can help.

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