Since the beginning of the pandemic, the popularity of remote and hybrid work has soared. The Pulse of the American Worker Survey found that 87% of polled employees wanted to work remotely at least one day a week, while 68% of workers responded that a hybrid schedule is the perfect model for them.
For many industries, hybrid work is the best of both worlds. It allows for flexibility for employees while giving them the opportunity to report to the office if need be. Naturally, hybrid working is not without its own list of challenges however- especially when it comes to communication.
Tranell Morant- a business professional who specializes in business communication- recognizes that having hybrid workers necessitates a strategy that properly keeps them updated on happenings at their company.
Here, Tranell explores a few tips for administrators that are hoping to unify their communications while preventing any barriers to communication while hybrid work is beginning to take off.
Establish a Strategy Through Preferred Communication Channels
Every company has a list of communication channels that are utilized for everything from speaking amongst each other to relaying information to clients. What administrators want to be sure of is that each channel is being used optimally to ensure clear and open communications.
For example, one of the first steps to establishing a clear communication strategy is to be sure that there is little to no overlap between your resources. If there are multiple apps being used for text or video, information may fall through the cracks.
Instead, try to keep things as simple and streamlined as possible. If Zoom has been working for your video communication needs, there may not be a need for additional video apps.
If you realize that there are some mix-ups when it comes to communication channels within your business, always try to take a simplified approach to understanding what the intended use for each resource is. This step will help get rid of any redundant channels.
Set Clear Teamwide Communication Expectations
Some companies that have had their first experiences with remote and hybrid work during the pandemic had a tough transition in terms of communication expectations. Going from being able to see all employees at once to having a different mix depending on the day can be difficult if you do not know who is working on what.
One of the easiest ways to increase the quality of communication without needing to micromanage is to set clear, unified communication expectations. When employees know which steps they should update their employers or coworkers on, expectations help ensure that miscommunications remain at a minimum.
A clear example of communication expectations is identifying the difference between appropriate times to use emails, text communication channels such as Teams, video calls resources, or phone calls. Communication expectations should also include factors such as preferred work hours. Establishing this early will create an environment where each employee properly respects each other’s off time and do not schedule meetings or pursue communication inside of that window.
Schedule Regular Meetings
Meetings are an essential component of business communication, but some companies may have trouble setting meetings up so that they are fruitful for both remote and in-person employees.
For employees who are working remotely, it always helps if meetings are made engaging and streamlined to ensure a smooth experience. Administrators and managers want to know that their communication channels are working to their optimum ability, reducing the risk of technological setbacks that may negatively impact their meeting experience.
Companies operating on a hybrid schedule where most employees at least occasionally come into the office should also try to identify which meetings are most effective when coworkers can collaborate with one another in person. Meetings meant for big announcements or team-building exercises are popular choices for in-person meetings.
Tranell Morant notes that- whatever your preferred strategy for meetings may be- it is best to schedule meetings regularly to check-in with employees. One of the barriers to hybrid workplace communications is that people in the office may get information that those working from home do not. Try to prevent this as much as possible with regular meetings that are quality from both ends.
Get Feedback from Employees
A common problem with workplace communication is that people experiencing issues may not be empowered to share their opinion to fix things. While we want to contribute to environments that encourage honest dialogue, the fact of the matter is that some employees may not feel comfortable sharing opinions unprompted.
The most effective administrators and managers are aware that they do not have all of the answers, and one of the best ways to get more clarity is by crowdsourcing thoughts and opinions from employees. Surveys are one of the quickest and easiest ways to set this precedent.
For hybrid workplaces, it is crucial to ensure that surveys cover the realities of working remotely and in person at the office. Common sources of survey questions for hybrid workplaces include the quality and user experience of technology, difficulties faced with communication, and thoughts for how communication can be better unified.
Aside from helping administrators develop actionable solutions to common obstacles, surveys are excellent because they show employees that their thoughts are truly appreciated and used by the business. Communication is always improved when all parties involved see a clear reason to uphold honesty and transparency.
The First Step is a Commitment to Improvement
While there are certainly a lot of factors to consider when looking to improve communications in a hybrid workplace, Tranell Morant speaks to how the biggest step is showing a commitment to changing for the better.
Over the past 18 months since lockdowns created the need for companies to shift their processes to more online channels, some have become complacent with the state of their communications. Remember that experiences at your company can always be improved, and administrators have a vested interest in ensuring that employees are empowered to have clear, effective, and fruitful conversations.