As companies continue to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of work, the hybrid workplace model has emerged as a popular solution. This model allows for a combination of remote and in-person work, giving employees the flexibility to work from anywhere while still maintaining the benefits of working in an office environment. However, in order for this model to be successful, it is essential that companies communicate effectively about their hybrid workplace policies to their staff.
According to a recent survey conducted by Fishbowl, just under 7,300 professionals were surveyed and it’s a near-even split. 50.8% of professionals understand their company’s hybrid-work plan and 49.2% do not. This suggests that there may be a significant number of employees who are uncertain about the specifics of their company's approach to hybrid work.
As an experienced consultant who has worked with companies of various industries and sizes to implement hybrid workplace models, I can attest to the importance of clear and effective communication when it comes to this type of work arrangement. In my experience, companies that fail to communicate effectively about their hybrid workplace policies often struggle to achieve the desired results and may even experience negative consequences.
One example is a mid-size IT services company that implemented a hybrid workplace model without clearly communicating the expectations and guidelines to their employees. As a result, many employees felt uncertain about when and where they were expected to work, leading to confusion and decreased productivity. The company ultimately had to spend valuable time and resources re-communicating the policies and re-training employees, causing a major setback in their transition to a hybrid workplace model.
Another example is a large financial services company that made the decision to transition to a hybrid workplace model without taking into account the diverse needs and preferences of their employees. The company's one-size-fits-all approach led to frustration among employees, and ultimately resulted in high turnover rates and a decrease in employee satisfaction.
In both of these cases, the lack of clear communication about the hybrid workplace model led to negative consequences for the companies and their employees. However, by taking the time to effectively communicate expectations and guidelines, companies can avoid these issues and instead reap the benefits of a hybrid workplace model.
Effective communication about a hybrid workplace model involves clearly outlining the expectations and guidelines for employees, as well as providing the necessary resources and support for them to succeed in this new work arrangement. This includes providing clear guidelines for when and where employees are expected to work, as well as any rules and regulations that must be followed. It also means providing employees with the necessary tools and resources to work remotely, such as access to secure networks and collaboration software.
Cognitive biases can also play a role in how companies communicate about their hybrid workplace model, and how employees interpret and respond to that communication. For example, the illusion of transparency can lead companies to assume that employees will automatically understand and adapt to a new hybrid workplace model, without clearly communicating the expectations and guidelines. Confirmation bias can also lead companies to only seek out information that confirms their existing beliefs about the hybrid workplace model, rather than experimenting with various options and choosing one that fits their needs most effectively.
It is important for leaders to be aware of these cognitive biases and to make a conscious effort to overcome them when communicating about a hybrid workplace model. This includes being open to feedback and perspectives from employees, and being willing to make adjustments as needed.
The success of a hybrid workplace model depends heavily on clear and effective communication. By taking the time to clearly outline expectations and guidelines, provide necessary resources, and be aware of cognitive biases, companies can ensure that their employees feel supported and empowered in this new work arrangement. As the survey conducted by Fishbowl shows, many companies still have a long way to go in effectively communicating about their hybrid workplace model.
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Dr. Gleb Tsipursky helps leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. He is the best-selling author of 7 books, including the global best-sellers Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters and The Blindspots Between Us: How to Overcome Unconscious Cognitive Bias and Build Better Relationships. His newest book is Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage. His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes,Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox, and over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist at UNC-Chapel Hill and Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio.