December 13, 2022

Managing hybrid work: tips for HR and managers

Managing hybrid work: tips for HR and managers

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the so-called "hybrid" work formula, which combines telecommuting and office work, has come to the fore. Dealing with workers' demands to limit travel while maintaining a professional activity has become a major challenge for HR. However, this new way of working may appear new to some companies that are not yet prepared for this type of transition, and can be complicated for HR and managers to cope with.

In this article, we explain in detail what hybrid working is, and how to deal with it in the most coherent and functional way possible. More specifically, we'll look at how to adapt your organizational structure to constant change, and what tools you need to make your teamwork a success.

What is hybrid work?

According to C.Bourbeau and M.Pelletier (members of the HR Advisory Services team at the Conseil du patronat du Québec), hybrid work is "a form of work organization in which the employee divides his or her time between the office and home (or any other place)". This so-called "mixed" formula involves a combination of flexible practices that enable employees to maintain their activity and interaction at the office, while at the same time being able to telework when necessary. Some companies allow 2 to 3 days of telecommuting per week, while others limit themselves to 1 day per week to maintain this flexibility.

In November 2021 in France, ANACT (Agence nationale pour l'amélioration des conditions de travail) published a report entitled "Installing telework over the long term? Analysis of telework agreements and recommendations for action". The report highlights, for example, that administrative and support service activities and manufacturing industries are the spheres most represented in the establishment of telework agreements in 2020. The report highlights a variable geometry in the distribution of agreements, with organizations and their managers unevenly implementing hybrid practices. 

What's the balance in hybrid work?

Hybrid working is not just a temporary state of affairs, since certain types of activity require a flexible working method capable of adapting to change while preserving continuity of work. In this context, it's important to find your rhythm and identify which variables can be remotely monitored and which require the physical presence of your employees. Studies in France, for example, show that 66% of French employees prefer hybrid working, but only 48% actually choose this option. So, how do you implement best practices within your team to aim for the best possible combination given your needs and constraints?

1.identify the variables in your teleworking activities 

Some types of professional activity have not been able to adopt the hybrid option and have definitely lost interest. It is therefore essential to think about the structure and exact proportion of work that can be done at home and that requires your employees to be in the office at certain times. You need to look at all the tasks your company carries out, analyzing and identifying those that can be done online. Based on the different types of work involved, you can then allocate a task to an employee who can carry it out from home. Set up a schedule, divide up tasks and keep the timetable flexible, so that you and your staff can work at optimum efficiency. Indeed, pandemic experience has shown that employees who don't have to spend hours in traffic or get little sleep are happy employees at work. 

2.provide your team with the right equipment 

The pandemic has highlighted the inequalities in working conditions: the absence of a computer, computer equipment or simply a high-performance Internet connection...

Make sure that everything works, and that the equipment provided enables you and your colleagues to work together despite distance and constraints. Don't wait to invest in quality IT equipment - it's your working tool. 

3.create a relationship of trust and quality 

In this type of hybrid work arrangement, the quality of the relationship becomes paramount. Indeed, as HR and/or manager, it is essential to support your team by giving them the necessary resources and useful information to evolve in this hybrid workspace. The changes may prove difficult to accept for some colleagues, who may not be sufficiently familiar with IT tools and need extra time to learn the codes and acquire the new skills. Be a support and a listening ear for your colleagues, who may need you to help them get used to new practices and technologies. Aim for and build new, more responsible and sustainable management practices. a suitable working environment 

How can you design or rather (re)design your spaces for greater comfort and optimization? 

For F.Broucaret, journalist and founder of My Happy Job, the renaissance of the office involves the invention of a diversity of spaces, adaptable to several activities at once: "Employees no longer want the one big meeting room that has to be booked in advance, they want to have a room to make calls, several small rooms to brainstorm in small groups, a larger meeting room for the whole team and a room to meet in". 

In short, aim for greater comfort and flexibility in your offices, invest in good quality equipment and take care of your employees.

5.Identify and act upstream to prevent RPS

As the crisis has illustrated, the mental health of your employees is a major issue in this type of work environment, which combines isolation and collaboration. In times of uncertainty and instability, mental and psychological support is essential to maintaining a healthy work dynamic.

Set up psychological support solutions for your employees, and opt for formulas and applications offering preventive measures. HR and managers are key figures in identifying mental health problems in the workplace, and must act on the front line. 

Some of your employees may appear to be closed off, isolating themselves to hide their difficulties. Indeed, confidentiality issues and exchanges with third parties can be a difficult task for some, so it's all the more important to pay attention and keep an eye on the state and well-being of each individual. 

The pandemic has given rise to new practices and new ways of working. The consequences of the pandemic show us the importance of adopting flexible working rules and conditions that enable everyone to find their own well-being in the office. Be creative and combine professionalism, productivity and comfort to improve your business and that of your colleagues. Hybrid working seems to be an innovative solution, so don't be afraid to adapt to change! 

You can also consult our previous articles on mental health to learn about best practices and tools to help and support your team of employees.

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