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Leading a Hybrid Workforce? 5 Ways You Can Help Your Team Succeed

In the coming weeks and months, companies will reopen their offices and allow employees to return – with a few key differences. Many firms expect to adopt a hybrid approach in which employees split their time between the company’s facilities and their home offices. Here are five effective strategies for leading your teams…

1. Build a Healthier Culture

Blending time in the office with work at home, employees may benefit from a better balance, finding it easier to log off on remote days and finally getting that social connection on in-person days. Managers can improve workplace culture by actively fostering positive connections and relationships with and among team members, further helping to reduce stress levels.

2. Eliminate “Proximity Bias”

Managers and employees are both at risk of falling into the same trap of relying on or trusting those they see most often. This “proximity bias” can be overcome in several ways:

  • Create and set expectations about how team members will communicate with each other. For instance, set guidelines for who should be invited to each meeting.
  • Pay attention to how you spend your day and be sure you give all team members a fair shake.
  • Set a basic rule that all meetings should be held on videoconference – whether employees are in the office or not.

3. Ensure the Right Tools are Available

Videoconferencing, webchat, and other collaboration tools will retain their importance in the hybrid environment. Some upgrades to the company’s office space will be required to manage the needs of both types of workers. Businesses may need to improve the video and sound quality of conferencing technology, as well as provide the right resources for hoteling. Remote working technology should enable employees to switch between the company’s workspace and their home offices seamlessly.

4. Reconsider Productivity Metrics

In the pre-pandemic world, managers often drew a direct line between an employee’s time in the office and their productivity. A better approach post-pandemic is to manage productivity rather than measure it. Strategies include:

  • Inspire your team by focusing on your organization’s mission and purpose.
  • Support and care for your employees, and they’ll go the extra mile for you.
  • Communicate more, and when you do, be more transparent.

5. Focus on Mentoring

Coaching and cultivating employees can be achieved by holding more one-to-one meetings and using the time to discuss both work and personal issues. As it becomes harder to separate work from personal life, creating an understanding of individual pressures can lead to collaborative solutions that help relieve stress. In addition, using tools like screen-sharing will increase efficiency, effectiveness and buy-in.

The new technology and world of hybrid work may seem daunting and challenging, but TCI has the solutions and expertise to help you lead a successful transition. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

8 Signs Your Employees will Flourish as Hybrid Workers

As more people are vaccinated against COVID-19, businesses are readying plans to reopen their offices and bring back their employees. Already, though, it’s clear the new workweek will look different than it did pre-pandemic. Thanks to technology and remote working tools, employees transitioned seamlessly to home offices while managing to increase productivity. As a result, hybrid work – straddling home and office – may very well become the new normal for many people.

Can your team succeed as a hybrid workforce?

Here are eight signs that indicate they’ll flourish in this new environment…

1. Focus Time is Productive Time – The home office is generally quiet, comfortable and less stressful. This makes it more conducive for projects that require concentration, but team members can still hold an impromptu web chat with colleagues to share information and insights.

2. Learning Time Happens in the “Culture Space” – The traditional office has been transformed into a space that fosters social connections and builds relationships. It’s not only a hub for learning but also for unscripted collaboration. Here’s where having coffee or lunch with colleagues stimulates new ideas.

3. Every Day is a Team Day – Hybrid workers leverage quiet time at home to focus on projects and in-person meetings to brainstorm ideas. Technology makes it possible to continue conversations in collaborative workspaces and via video. Some teams set up regular times to connect socially and to build on ideas. The overall result: collaborative time, at home or in the office, is more productive.

4. Flexible Hours – When employees own their own schedule, they can manage work-life balance more efficiently ― and accomplish more in both worlds.

5. Masters of Multitasking – Hybrid workers know how to make the most of their time without infringing on other tasks. They’ve learned how to get a few things done around the house while also giving full attention to work.

6. Focus on Goals not the Clock – One thing learned from remote work is that performance isn’t measured by time, but by accomplishments. Employers trust employees to get things done and employees feel more empowered. Showing up at the office is not for more face time with the boss, but for learning new skills and engaging with colleagues in working sessions.

7. Solve Client Problems, from Anywhere – Mobile technology and unified communications have made it possible to serve the needs of clients for some time now. But hybrid workers value these capabilities more than ever. They make it easier for them to transition from work to home without missing a beat.

8. The 3-2-2 Work Model – One of the benefits of remote work during the pandemic was the flexibility employees enjoyed. Despite the challenges of managing family and work in the same place, they found remote work made it easier to balance competing demands. For those continuing a flexible work schedule after the pandemic, the 3-2-2 model may be helpful ― three days in the office, two days at home and two off.

TCI can help your business with technologies to support hybrid work arrangements. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

How Technology Enables Our New Normal… Hybrid Workplaces, Lifestyle & Healthcare

While no one has a crystal ball, life may never return to what it was before COVID-19. We’ve experienced major shifts in how we live, work, learn and communicate. The word “hybrid” best describes these changes and what the future may hold. We may not return to the past, but we won’t be in pandemic mode either.

The acceptance and use of new technology has moved at warp speed. Adoption of advanced technologies in operations, supply chains and data security has moved faster than most decision makers could have imagined. Technology has also enabled huge advances in remote work, operations, customer service, and healthcare…

Hybrid Workforce

“You want to work from home?” While some businesses offered this as a perk, most frowned upon it, citing the importance of “face time.” If there is one thing the pandemic has proved is that working remotely has not hurt productivity. Cloud communications enabled teams to interact and collaborate, using tools like video conferences, file sharing, shared workspaces and messaging. Without this operational support, productivity and team interactions would suffer. Many workers in highly skilled, non-customer facing jobs (e.g., finance, insurance, IT) can work remotely very effectively. Advances in cloud communications have made this possible. What’s more, many employees like the flexibility and report less stress.

Hybrid Lifestyle

Online shopping, already gaining in popularity before the pandemic, has soared. Home delivery of goods and food, curbside pickup and other hybrid shopping habits are here to stay. Customers like the convenience, wide product selection and speed. Businesses have responded to this demand by adding digital customer channels like chatbots, mobile apps and other ecommerce tools.

Contactless payment methods and digital workflows are two examples. Using document automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and other automation tools, banks have quickly moved away from in-person interactions, enabling customers to upload all pertinent documents including image files and PDFs. Need to see a driver’s license? The customer takes a picture using their smart phone and uploads it to their online application. The bank representative facilitating the application is probably sitting at home, not the branch.

Hybrid Healthcare

One of the most dramatic changes is the adoption of telehealth. The technology was available before the pandemic, but both providers and patients were reluctant to use it. The pandemic has helped everyone recognize the value of telehealth. A follow-up appointment, often just a conversation with the healthcare provider, is more efficient and convenient done virtually. When a patient comes down with a bad cold that is “going around”, the provider can diagnose the problem with a video call, keeping the sick patient at home. Going forward, expect to see a blend of in-person and virtual care.

All These Innovations Reside in the Cloud…

Businesses don’t have to worry about buying hardware or software to quickly expand their capacity. That capital can be used to transform operations, hire new talent or introduce new products.

Cloud communications can give your businesses more flexibility and options than ever before. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

What Role Does the Office Play in the Future of Work & What Tools Will Your People Need?

Do businesses still need expansive campuses in a post-pandemic world? With approved vaccines now being administered globally, now is the time to start evaluating what work will look like in the future: fully remote, return to a 100% office environment, or adopt a hybrid of the two?

SMB Group’s Co-founder and Partner, Laurie McCabe, offers some guidance to help you decide…

Evaluating Roles

As you look ahead into 2021, evaluate which roles truly need to be fully in-office, which can be fully remote, and which can be a hybrid. In remote roles, consider which can be worked from different states or even spread across the world. It may be a good idea to avoid recreating what you were doing before the onset of the pandemic. This is an opportunity to see what might work best for your employees and your business going forward.

Accommodating a Hybrid Workforce

Examine how you need to digitize your business processes so that employees can do their job anytime, anywhere. Laptops are a must if you want to give your staff the flexibility to work at home as well as the office, of course. The ability to answer work phones securely from personal devices is another essential component of a hybrid workforce. For the office itself, consider flexible workstations to accommodate hybrid workers when they need to be on the premises.

Who Needs to Work Collaboratively?

Investing in collaborative tech is the key for a remote or hybrid workforce. It helps to keep employees connected to each other and to customers. To maintain this level of engagement, access to certain tools is crucial:

  • Videoconferencing – Face-to-face time is always vital, whether it is achieved in person or remotely via video.
  • Chat – Not all communications have to be in person or synchronous. Text-based chat can help your employees avoid videoconferencing fatigue while still staying connected.
  • Collaboration Solutions – TCI offers a suite of collaboration software to help enable the sharing of info via voice, video, and instant messaging.
  • VPN – An encrypted connection to the Internet keeps data secure and uncompromised. A VPN allows a remote workforce to send and receive data as securely as if they were on site.

Securing Employee Well-Being and Engagement

Flexibility is the key for making sure employees’ needs are being met. Instead of forcing everyone into a single way of working, many businesses are looking at ways to promote a hybrid workforce, with workers able to choose the work environment that suits them best. This type of flexibility will also help businesses attract and retain top talent.

Preparing Now for Life Post-Pandemic

Just like we weren’t quite sure what life in a pandemic would look like, we can’t be entirely certain of how the world will look on the other side of the pandemic. But we can use what you’ve learned over the past year as a guide to the next phase.

TCI is ready to assist you in preparing for the next phase of work with innovative communication and collaboration solutions. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.