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8 Challenges to Anticipate During Your Hybrid Workplace Transformation

Hoca

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8 Challenges to Anticipate During Your Hybrid Workplace Transformation​


Once it was safe to return to the office, many organizations ended up with a hybrid work model—a compromise solution. This unplanned transition to hybrid came with unforeseen consequences. You can avoid these eight common pain points by having a remote work consultant guide you through your hybrid transformation.

1. Unintentional misalignment and fallout


Some of us fell into our profession. For example, we took an entry-level job at an association and end up spending thirty years in association management. We see it happening with organizations. They don’t choose a hybrid workplace, it just happens. It comes about by default—a middle ground between remote and in-person.

Instead of strategically planning this once-in-an-organizational-lifetime transformation, they “fall” into it. But this scale of transformation requires intentional decisions aligned with the reasons for choosing hybrid, for example, schedule flexibility, employee retention, or access to an expanded talent pool. These decisions must also align with organizational goals, such as decreasing operational costs, improving agility, or meeting customer expectations.

If decisions are not purposeful and aligned, you end up with policies at cross purposes. You might say having an office is important for in-person collaboration, but then craft policies that discourage collaboration, such as allowing staff to randomly pick days they wish to come into the office.

2. Exposed blindside


The transition to a new way of working comes with a learning curve. You don’t know what you don’t know. You can’t see what’s missing in your workplace. You overlook hidden issues that grow into serious roadblocks.

In this unfamiliar terrain, consultants are guides who help you negotiate the steep ascent of that learning curve. Because they’ve assisted organizations through countless transitions to hybrid and remote work, they help you keep your footing in tricky situations. They also help you identify the questions and issues you need to address.

  • How do your teams plan to share what’s happening in their day–to-day?
  • How does your organization plan to celebrate together?
  • How does a team manage its collective to-dos?

Identifying and articulating the reason for coming into the office is often challenging for leaders. If they make this decision in isolation without input from staff, they end up with a messaging problem on their hands. Because consultants identify why and what staff find valuable about working in different locations, they help leaders make purposeful decisions and craft effective messaging.

3. Solving the wrong problems


You think you’ve identified the problem. However, what you’ve identified may be a symptom, not the root cause. To understand the real problem causing the symptoms you see you need to dig deeper.

A typical problem is communication breakdowns. You think you need more communication. However, the real problem may be a need for more transparent communication.

  • More explanation about the reasons behind decisions
  • More attention to employee feedback
  • More discussion about what you’re doing with that feedback

Another one: the problem, you think, is too many meetings. Nope. The problem is a need for clear policies about when it’s appropriate to call a meeting, whom to invite, and how to structure the agenda.

Organizations often end up solving the wrong problem, leaving the root cause unchanged, and soon the symptoms start surfacing again.


4. No ownership


If too many people are responsible for your hybrid transformation, no one is. Tasks fall through the cracks, analysis paralysis sets in, and decisions are deferred.

Appoint one designated leader for your hybrid transformation. They must dedicate their time and focus to this job. Establish a clear chain of command with this leader as the ultimate decision-maker. Since this responsibility can become overwhelming, make sure they know how to delegate responsibilities to others.

5. It’s just another project


Switching to a hybrid work model is a huge transformation that affects everyone and touches every facet of the organization. This monumental initiative involves decisions, tasks, and changes related to office logistics, policies, practices, processes, and culture.

Moving to hybrid can’t be accomplished over a weekend like a DIY project on HGTV. Its extensive breadth requires extensive bandwidth. You can’t add it to your team’s to-do lists and expect them to handle it along with other responsibilities. At times, the transition will be the focus of their day, so you must adjust performance expectations accordingly.

6. Too much change at once


Some studies suggest it can take 66 days before a new behavior becomes automatic. During a transition to hybrid, behavioral changes are required in many areas, for example:

  • Following a new communication hierarchy and protocol
  • Applying new managerial techniques learned in training
  • Using new collaboration tools

If you want change to take root, you must give people time to absorb and internalize it. Jamming through too many changes at once can be overwhelming and lead to resistance. Create an environment where people are given the head space, encouragement, and motivation to give new practices a try. You don’t want them to revert to old ways, which, at first, seem more comfortable, automatic, and speedy.

7. Resistance


Resisting change is natural. It takes time to learn a new way of doing something—and time is scarce. For some, change means painfully stretching their comfort zone. Or it means losing status when their mastery of old practices is no longer valued.

Remember: your organization’s rate of change is equal to its slowest adopter, not its fastest. A consultant helps you identify change-averse staff and uncover their reasons for resistance. They provide strategies for managing change in a way that brings everyone along.

8. Tired and struggling managers


In the transition to hybrid, managers require extra support because they’re challenged on several fronts. They’re often put in an uncomfortable spot, forced to make policy decisions that executives should have anticipated and made.

Most supervisors were never trained to manage a hybrid workforce. 85% of managers surveyed by Microsoft said it’s difficult to gauge employee productivity in a hybrid workplace, leading to “productivity paranoia.” They’re grappling with control and trust issues that may have always lurked in their mind but are now coming out in full force.

Managers must learn a host of new skills, including how to:

  • Hire the right people for a hybrid/remote workplace
  • Onboard new employees
  • Set expectations and ensure accountability
  • Communicate clearly, conduct regular check-ins, and get feedback

These pain points are preventable and these challenges are surmountable when you have a remote work consultant guiding you through the hybrid transformation. They craft 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.

The post 8 Challenges to Anticipate During Your Hybrid Workplace Transformation appeared first on Achurch.
 
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