Technology is what makes hybrid work possible. However, many employees are struggling to keep up with changes in technology. The reason for this might not be as simple as you think.
The pandemic sent everyone into a mad scramble to cobble together the working pieces of a system that would allow for remote work. A system that needed to include communication software, video conferencing platforms, shared storage folders, project management software and more.
Unfortunately, as far as we know, there doesn’t exist a single software that encompasses all of these needs. Companies weren’t just asking their employees to log into a virtual workplace and go to work. They were asking them to not only have the necessary hardware and internet access, but to create new accounts with new platforms. Four accounts, five, six, sometimes more.
This is a challenge for employees of all ages and it came with pitfalls we still struggle with. Your company is likely still pivoting and adapting to the new hybrid workforce. During that process, here are five things to consider:
Create Reasonable Requirements
Remember that not everywhere in the world has equal internet access. People can easily get left behind or shoved to the side for not having a good connection. When requiring and internet connection for employees who want to stay home, be sure to look at what’s available in their area. Check that your policies aren’t asking for faster internet speed than available in your countries of operation.
You may also consider distributing laptops for all employees who come and go from the workplace. This not only helps them do their jobs well. It also keeps your company secure. You can control the security and access settings on your company devices.
Pick One and Be Done
As mentioned, there isn’t a single software that can operate all of your company’s needs. Though with the rapid development of metaverses, that may change soon. However, you can help simplify life for your employees by sticking to one platform in each category. One video conferencing platform, one project management software, one shared folder.
Remember that you lose productivity every time someone has to ask, “Is that file in the company Drive folder or the company Dropbox folder?”
Provide Adequate Training
Make sure each employee has had ample opportunity to be onboarded to new platforms and technologies. Every age group can benefit from bite-sized training videos. Although there are some studies that suggest older employees adapt to technology just as well as younger ones, they are also often the group that resists change the most. Their own resistance can be a barrier to training.
Work to build up everybody’s confidence by allowing for time and questions during the training. Create a check-in schedule to maintain progress over a training period.
Watch Out for Proximity Bias
Hybrid work has many advantages when it comes to equity. It also creates new opportunities for disparity. Proximity bias is the tendency to give preference to those nearest to us. In other words, an employee in the room may have more advantages than an employee at home.
One way to combat this is to make sure that all meetings are virtual meetings, even for in-office employees. Simply be aware of the old adage, “out of sight, out of mind.” Don’t allow it to become true in your workplace.
Be Considerate of Meeting Fatigue
Some writers have suggested that video meetings create a greater pull on your attention and energy than in-office conference meetings, or even virtual meetings with the screen off. Meeting fatigue is real and it can contribute largely to a negative work experience.
Wherever possible, reduce meetings by communicating via email or your company’s communication software. You can also distribute project briefs via a screenshare video, e.g. by Loom. Allow employees to go screen’s off for meetings where they aren’t required to present or directly participate.
Technology defines the hybrid work experience, for better or worse. Make it for better by keeping these challenges in mind when shaping your remote work systems.
Do you need help maximising your employees’ experience in a hybrid workplace? OLAM Group can help. Simply click here to reach out to us, and we’ll give you a call shortly.