6 Unexpected Pitfalls That Can Snare Your Hybrid Workplace
Throughout your organization’s transition to a hybrid workplace, camouflaged or hidden issues can derail progress and jeopardize success. These organizational pitfalls and their associated problems may not be on your radar yet. That’s natural because “you can’t read the bottle from the inside.” It often takes an outside, experienced perspective to help you uncover and sidestep these snares. Here are six common pitfalls we’ve encountered in organizations switching to a hybrid workforce model.
#1: Analysis paralysis
Transforming into a hybrid workplace is a gigantic undertaking. It’s on a par with your organization’s ongoing digital transformation because both shape the future of work. As you anticipate your organization’s needs regarding people, technology, policies, and processes, it can quickly feel overwhelming.
- What’s the best way for them to collaborate and communicate?
- Does everyone have the tools and technology they need to do their best work?
- Do you have clear policies and procedures about using software, logging in, recording time, and ending the workday?
Here’s what usually happens. After reading countless articles and research reports, surveying staff, and looking at the numbers, you’re still unsure how to move forward. You’re dealing with too much information. You’re worried about making the wrong decisions and unknowingly creating a dysfunctional workplace. Analysis paralysis kicks in and everything comes to a standstill—not without people noticing and wondering.
If you have an expert guiding you through this process, they take the time up front to get to know your organization and its people. They lead you through the data and conversations needed to arrive at each decision point and move forward.
Be on the lookout for people waxing poetically about “the way we were.” You know, back in simpler times when things were “normal.” They long for the old ways workflows but conveniently forget the challenges of a full office.
Remind them how disruptive the office environment was when people popped in to “ask a quick question” or share a bit of gossip. After they left, you spent 23 minutes trying to get yourself back on task before getting interrupted again.
The old way wasn’t all that great at times for parents and caregivers racing between the office and home, school, doctor’s office, or ballfield. Introverts felt drained from acting like extroverts or being told to “smile more.”
Instead of recreating a hybrid version of the traditional workplace, a consultant can help you uncover past challenges and identify areas where culture, policies, and technology must improve. They ensure your hybrid workplace doesn’t inherit legacy problems and workflows. They help you establish new hybrid policies and practices that work so well no one will bother pining about how it used to be.
#3: In-person bias
Recognize and overcome the natural bias towards the people you see in the office. You may conflate presence with performance, professionalism, and passion. Doing so, may lead to snubbing remote employees in meetings and overlooking their contributions which could limit their future opportunities and promotions. Unless you foresee and avoid this pitfall, they will feel like second-class citizens.
A consultant can help you establish equitable management, meeting, feedback, and performance review practices.
#4: Managing to the exception
Don’t let one person (staff or leader) or a small group of disgruntled people influence your workplace plans. This pitfall is especially dangerous if you hear the same voices in the same meetings all the time. Avoid making decisions about policies and practices under pressure from naysayers. Don’t grant them special treatment and automatic exemption from policies and practices.
A consultant spends time listening to all employees. They conduct a workplace assessment to identify strengths, weaknesses, desires, fears, and concerns. They help you establish a communicate plan, equitable policies and practices, and provide support and training to managers and employees.
#5: No organizational ownership
There are no shortcuts to a hybrid workplace. Leaders sometimes seek an off-the-shelf solution to fit onto their organization or try to outsource difficult decisions to a consultant. This never works.
Often, organizations can’t find a leader to guide and take charge. Nobody wants to deal with dissenters or address the elephants in the room and put their job at risk. But the journey to a hybrid workplace, although hard work, is critical and rewarding work.
Leaders, managers, and employees must all have skin in the game. They need to have discussions where uncomfortable issues are addressed and difficult decisions are made. It’s your organization’s people who will live and work in this new environment. That’s why you must be actively involved in identifying why it’s the right choice for you and what it should look like. But you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. A consultant can help you navigate these discussions and decisions.
#6: Scattershot approach
The DIY approach usually ends up being a scattershot approach. It becomes a project, complete with project list and homemade toolkit—employee surveys, playbooks, technology upgrades, office moves. Items are attacked at once without prioritization, sequencing, or benchmarks for progress.
You know what happens: motivation wanes leading to burnout. Foundational elements are missed. Time and money are wasted going in the wrong direction. Employees grow anxious and lose trust in their leaders. Transitioning to a hybrid workplace is not a weekend project. It’s a workplace evolution.
You don’t have to go through a hybrid transformation alone. In fact, you shouldn’t. A consultant can guide your staff through this complex innovation with an approach that’s tailored to your organization and its people. They prioritize tasks and provide a roadmap, training, and support. If you’d like to learn how we help organizations become their best hybrid workplace, please contact us to schedule a conversation.
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