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Future of work
5 min read

4 Hybrid working challenges for managers and how to overcome them

Hybrid working is the future. While most workers are excited to jump into hybrid work, it’s no secret that those in management are struggling a little bit.

The pandemic has shown us that hybrid working models can work. And in some cases, it can even improve productivity and employee satisfaction. However, managing a remote team can be stressful, especially if you’re working asynchronously.

In this post, we’ll look at the problems facing remote managers and ways to help.

Hybrid working: a new model for the workplace

Remote working comes with its fair share of downsides — distractions, less than ideal workspaces, trouble separating work and life. Yet, as we started to return to the office, workers quickly realized how beneficial working from home was. With more time for socializing, less commuting, and substantial savings on travel costs, employees were understandably reluctant to give up working from home completely.

Meanwhile, working from home created a range of complex challenges for management. WFH makes it difficult for managers to build meaningful connections with their employees, sustain a high level of cybersecurity, and communicate between teams.

To avoid conflict and allow us to move on in a way that doesn’t affect productivity, we have quickly seen a compromise come to light: hybrid working.

Hybrid working is establishing itself as the best option for post-pandemic working, offering benefits like better work-life balance for employees and real-estate or facilities savings for employers. But Hybrid working comes with its own set of challenges that managers need to tackle.

4 hybrid working challenges and how to overcome them

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1. Communication and collaboration

Let’s start with the primary concern. Remote working puts a literal barrier between management and employees, creating issues when trying to communicate and collaborate.

Hybrid working can make communication and collaboration more difficult than a fully remote team. We need to manage remote workers, but we also have several workers in the office.

Regardless of where they’re working, all employees need to feel equally valued and part of the process. This can be difficult because it’s easier to focus on just remote workers or just in-office workers. So managers need to adapt their approach to communication to consider every working location.

For hybrid working to be truly successful, businesses need to provide solutions to their employees that allow them to connect easily. Be it via video, instant messaging, or any other way they need to communicate.

You can also look at scheduling everyone to come into the office on the same day for occasional but essential catch-up meetings. With hybrid working, many employees will already be splitting their time between home and office, so why not make it easier for yourself by using Smartway2 to align their schedules?

2. Employee wellbeing

Despite the advantages employees get with remote work, research shows that remote work can actually make it more challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance. The daily commute plays a huge part in differentiating work life and home life, putting a physical barrier between the two.

There is no physical barrier between work and home with remote working, especially for employees who don’t have the space to dedicate a whole room as their workspace. They simply log off their computer and try to move on with their day. But there’s no time to decompress, so the lines between home and work blur.

So make sure you use the time employees spend in the office to check-in. Happier employees come from good management, which sometimes just means lending an ear to a colleague. Simply check-in through whichever communication platform you use for those exclusively working from home. Just be sure you have regular, scheduled check-ins to see how everyone on your team is doing.

3. Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (HiPPO)

“Highest paid person’s opinion” is the name given to the phenomenon where teams simply agree with management on decisions, rather than having a meaningful discussion around the topic. There are countless decision-making frameworks out there that seek to eliminate HiPPO from teams, but unfortunately, HiPPO can be tougher to battle against within hybrid teams.

Those in the office are closer to management and will often have a more intimate knowledge of what the higher-ups want. This can unconsciously guide their decisions, rather than using their own gut feelings.

And people working from home may be hesitant to offer their unique opinions simply because they don’t have the same physical proximity to management as in-office workers.

To combat this, make sure you allow space for everyone’s opinion and voice in meetings. You could also try anonymous voting activities to help get an unbiased look at how your team wants to proceed.

4. Office space management

Many of us thought that our empty offices would quickly fill up again post-pandemic. But, as we adopt hybrid work models, many companies have a lot more empty space than they need.

Real estate is a major cost for businesses, and empty space equates to wasted money. This means managers need to look for creative ways to utilize space. Some companies might want to downsize their offices. Others might try renting out workspace to external workers or designing part of your offices as co-working spaces. This approach also creates an additional income stream.

Whatever the plan is for your extra office space, you can easily manage it with Smartway2.

No matter what challenges you face, Smartway2 can help

Smartway2 is a workspace scheduling solution that makes managing hybrid working simple. It acts as a central hub for all your office interactions, from booking meeting spaces to ordering lunch.

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Our platform is used by brilliant organizations worldwide across a wide range of sectors, from Coca-Cola and Domino’s to Metro Bank and the NHS. We have everything you need to manage the return to the office, hybrid working, and COVID-19 safety.

So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today for a demo and see how Smartway2 can revolutionize your office (and make your life easier!)

Irvin Gray
Author

Irvin Gray

Irvin Gray is Head of Marketing at Smartway2 part of Hubstar, and has over 20 years of experience in Saas technology building and growing market-leading brands. Irvin writes about the future of work and trends in hybrid working and space management.
Last updated April 30, 2022