Can hybrid working give us the best of both worlds with teams working better together without compromising flexibility and autonomy?
The pandemic has in many ways sped up what we need to change, amplifying challenges that many people were facing already. According to Gallup’s global survey, pre-pandemic, only 1 in 3 of us were feeling engaged and intrinsically motivated at work. Government statistics across the globe have been showing growing trends towards increasingly high levels of mental ill health and working populations with a greater vulnerability to burnout.
At the same time, instead of operating from a deficit approach and what needs to be fixed, there is an opportunity to be bolder and change the game completely. Hybrid teams give us the choice to create more flexible ways of working that fuel a deeper level of shared connection, collaboration and joint value creation.
In reimagining hybrid working for your people and your organisation, what do you need to consider? Start by asking the question, what is the best possible outcome that you want to achieve together?
If the old contract of working is broken, how might people in your organisation craft a new ‘psychological contract’ together? Making hybrid work requires intentionality and a deeper level of trust and accountability. It also requires the freedom and psychological safety to experiment and to fail forward. If you knew you wouldn’t get it right first-time round, how might your organisation ensure that it learns together and keeps moving forward?
3 principles to help your organisation design a better hybrid:
Create a shared context with empowering leadership
Research shows that micro-management and top-down decision making demotivates teams and goes against our psychological needs of autonomy and feeling competent. Instead leaders need to create more empowering ways of developing trust and accountability within their team and create new communication norms. More intentional conversations at the outset of projects to mutually agree what success looks like are important, as well as agreeing the steps along the way for the team to check in and recognise progress. Giving teams more ‘decision latitude’ (i.e. control over decisions that impact their ways of working), will inspire trust and acountability and support better wellbeing and performance outcomes.
Create a shared identity
Remote teams can suffer from a sense of isolation and less belonging, which can result in a weakening of commitment to an organisation and higher levels of resignation. An antidote to this is to be more intentional in what you stand for as an organisation and a team, your values and your beliefs. It’s not about the quantity of interactions but the quality of creating moments that truly matter for your people both virtually and together in a face-face setting. Creating a clear sense of ‘psychological togetherness’ even when apart is critical. Connecting at a deeper level as a team, knowing each other’s strengths and preferences, appreciating and leveraging differences, is core to creating a shared identity and enhancing performance and wellbeing outcomes.
Blurred boundaries and more distractions from both an overwhelm of meetings and technology can lead to a diffusion of attention and what research terms as ‘technostress’. Damage to our health and feelings of accomplishment means that people need to create more defined boundaries, meeting norms and instilling a sense of meaning in their day-day work that enables them to get into ‘flow’ on a daily basis. Creating team rituals that inspire learning and a shared sense of agency will create a greater sense of accomplishment and togetherness.
If you would like to discuss how to make hybrid work within your organisation, schedule some time to chat so we can learn more about you and your people and business needs.