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Insight 14 April 2023

Supporting people to thrive in a hybrid environment

While many workplaces – including Insights – are now attuned to hybrid working, everywhere you look, hybrid working continues to dominate conversation: creating the right workspace, managing people in the hybrid world, building an inclusive work environment.

While it can be difficult to manage hybrid working from a business and change management perspective, it can be just as difficult to navigate as an individual. As such, there are certain skills and behaviours HR Directors can support their people and teams to adopt for successful, productive hybrid working.

Encourage growth mindset

Resilience is a tremendous quality, yet it’s more of a coping strategy – something we call on when we’re stretched beyond our comfort zone. What people need now, is to nurture a growth mindset – embracing change and being open to challenge by looking for the accompanying learning opportunities. Resilience defends self while a growth mindset embraces challenge as an opportunity to learn and be better. Help your people to fix on the horizon and apply a growth mindset to cope with the present and flourish into the future.

Empower employees to be proactive

Being proactive and visible – using your time to manage your internal profile, relationships and even your personal development – is a great way to exercise the autonomy granted by the remote/hybrid model. Hybrid working doesn’t reward passivity; people must (metaphorically) shout louder.

Your employees know themselves better than anyone, so encourage them to own their own approach by understanding what motivates and demotivates them. Help them identify their strengths, weakness, superpowers (key areas of strength) and blind spots – the things that can unknowingly derail you, as well as positive things that often go unnoticed.

Creating a strong sense of community, centred around a common purpose, is also key to employee empowerment in this environment. It’s essential that, even in a virtual space, employees can share their brilliance with others, feel valued within a community and operate as part of something bigger than themselves.

Encourage people to prioritise their own wellbeing

One of the biggest benefits of homeworking should be a better work/life balance. However, a recent poll found more than half of UK homeworkers work longer hours than before the pandemic.

HR Directors must encourage their people to prioritise their own wellbeing. This is a lot like putting on your own oxygen mask first – it’s not about self-preservation; it’s about looking after yourself so you can do what you need to do, and then provide support to others.

of every meeting. This creates space for everyone to connect, be authentic and vulnerable, and then focus on the meeting.

Something you could try is encouraging employees to centre themselves at the start of each day. Give them the gift of renewal with regular breaks – five minutes every 55 minutes – to refresh and refocus. Help them to take the time they need to be their best – and switch off the laptop at the end of every day!

Enable staff to embrace digital tools

Remote/hybrid teams must work together as effectively as their office-based counterparts, and that almost always involves using digital collaboration tools.

My personal belief is that the only barrier to technology is an individual’s willingness to embrace it. So, encourage your people to be curious and explore  digital collaboration tools like Miro, for example. Provide appropriate support and training and encourage colleagues to share their learning with others.

The ability to overcome barriers and use available tools to continue innovation – wherever you work – will be immensely valuable for both leaders and teams.

Help people to flow

In the shift to hybrid working, flexibility is important – but so is flow. People need to be as comfortable at home as they are in the office; they need to readily share information whether they’re sitting at home in a far-off country or next to a colleague in the office. In a hybrid environment, employees need the ability to flow effortlessly from one situation to another.

Help your employees develop flow by cultivating the right workplace climate and culture, which includes being clear about outcomes and deliverables, establishing – and following – the right processes, and attracting and retaining good people. This will help you find flow in your tasks, physical locations, and relationships.

At Insights, we build trust in teams and relationships by encouraging openness and candour, authenticity, mutual respect and positive regard. We’ve found that helping our people connect to their purpose, as well as our collective purpose, helps them flow from one situation to another – using purpose as a guide.

Marcus Wylie

By Marcus Wylie, Insights Head of Culture

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