As we navigate the everchanging workplace, there will always be some initial myths when it comes to adopting new practices that shake up traditional mindsets and behaviors – like hybrid work models.
Part of my role at LogMeIn is navigating this developing landscape to help ensure we’re providing an equitable and engaging hybrid working experience for all of our employees.
As we’ve built out our newly created Digital Workplace team, we’ve also been exposed to some of the most frequently asked questions from employees about this model and have seen the evidence firsthand to support the benefits of hybrid work.
Let’s discuss some of the most common misconceptions around remote and hybrid workplaces that companies are navigating and the truth behind these misconceptions.
Myth 1: Workers in the office are more productive
There are some folks that still believe the traditional notion that employees in the office are more productive, however industry research has shown the opposite may be true.
At LogMeIn, in just one example, we saw a 25 percent increase in productivity from our Guatemala-based employees when they transitioned to their home offices for the first time early last year.
Why is this the case? Flexible work models allow people to work in their preferred environments, enabling more flexibility, happier employees and better work-life balance with less time spent on commuting and more time spent on the things that really matter.
If companies are worried about employee productivity, they need to first make sure they are providing employees with the right tools to empower a remote workforce.
Technology plays a critical role in bridging the communication gaps across geographical regions, different business units, and those that work from home versus the office.
Leadership teams need to ensure they are implementing the proper tools and training that make remote and hybrid work viable indefinitely.
Myth 2: Team bonding activities only work in-person
Virtual team building has the potential to be just as rewarding and engaging for employees, but companies need to think outside the box and consider what type of events their employees are actually interested in. These events need to be the right mix of being fun and engaging while encouraging team bonding.
We’ve had great internal feedback from virtual events like movie/book clubs, happy hours, wine tastings, flower arranging demos, contests, and family/friend events like virtual visits with Sweet Farm, a customer that’s also a non-profit animal sanctuary.
Most importantly, corporate culture starts from the top, so seeing upper leadership advocating for team bonding activities and participating where it’s relevant can help improve overall employee engagement and satisfaction with these events.
Having a dedicated team that organizes team bonding events also helps maintain a consistent schedule for teammates to get together so they don’t fall to the wayside.
Building connections much be intentional. Managers must set aside time and space for personal connections within professional settings. Think ‘check-in’s’ rather than hallway banter.
Myth 3: Managers don’t need special training for managing hybrid teams
When it comes to being a good manager, everyone could use a refresher on the core principles of leadership and the latest tips and trends from workplace experts.
Whether that’s just video conferencing etiquette or how to make sure you’re balancing the needs of in-person and remote team members, hybrid work models introduce a unique environment for managers when it comes to navigating this new team structure.
For example, knowing that our company will be a permanent remote-centric organization we are in the process of rolling our “excellence in hybrid” course as a core competency training for the management team of the future.
As I mentioned, we’ve recently created a new team solely focused on the Digital Workplace that’s responsible for providing the infrastructure designed to enable productivity and connectivity across our employee base as well as our customers.
We also serve as advocates for sharing knowledge when it comes to hybrid work, helping to measure our team’s progress and highlighting accomplishments across the company.
As a go-to resource for all things related to the Digital Workplace, employees and managers of all levels feel comfortable knowing there’s a team dedicated toward helping them succeed in this environment.
Myth 4: Hybrid work models are too complicated to be effective
When it comes to hybrid work models, one size doesn’t fit all and that’s okay. The events from the past year and a half have reshaped what the future of work looks like and put more emphasis on each individual organizations to find a model that works for them.
At its core, hybrid work models are only complicated if you make them complicated. Companies can solicit employee feedback to learn what employees want to see and implement any changes if that’s a sustainable option for your organization.
It’s clear that today’s workforce wants more flexibility – 66% of employees reported that they’re happier working remotely, so taking the steps to keep them satisfied will go a long way for employee morale and retention.
Myth 5: Remote workers need to always be online/available the same time as in-person colleagues
Now that we have the technology tools to communicate with our teams from anywhere, there needs to be flexibility on the timeline for when job requirements are completed.
As long as managers communicate with their direct reports the expectations for their role and employees are meeting these, there’s room for flexibility when it comes to operating within the typical 9 to 5 business hours, especially with a wealth of asynchronous communication technology at our fingertips.
Encourage employees to step back from their computers and take regular breaks – just like they would if they were in the office. If employees feel like they have to overcompensate for being remote, this will often lead to overworking, burnout and overall unhappiness.
Documenting challenges, decisions and plans is critical to keeping a distributed workforce aligned, allowing for flexibility for employees to work when and where they prefer.
Utilizing asynchronous communication tools like Slack or video messaging provide options for employees to digest and respond to information on their own timeline in a way that works best for their schedule.
While it’s clear to most that remote work is here to stay, I expect we’ll see even more support for flexible work models as more businesses realize the myriad of benefits of hybrid workplaces.
Until then, we’ll keep advocating for the future of flexible work and help clear up any misconceptions along the way.