Strategies for the brave new hybrid workplace

November 19th, 2021 | by Grace Chng
Strategies for the brave new hybrid workplace

The pandemic has reigned for almost two years, leading to a new culture emerging in the workplace. Current workers who have been working remotely during this time are feeling isolated, some are even depressed.

New entrants to the workforce have missed the real-life onboarding of new employees, including going around to say hello to colleagues and shaking their hands.

“With work today no longer anchored to a single place and moment in time, organisations must focus on outcomes and be ready to help their employees realise both their professional and personal roles effectively regardless of where they work,” said Andy Sim, vice president and managing director, Singapore, Dell Technologies.

Eight in 10 employees across the Asia-Pacific Japan region are ready to work remotely but there are still several factors to address, said Jean-Guillaume Pons, Dell senior VP and general manager, client solutions group, Asia-Pacific Japan and Greater China, at a media briefing on Nov 17.

So Dell Technologies gathered four experts to look into the actions organisations and corporate leaders can take to make the hybrid work model sustainable for both employers and employees.

The four experts are lecturer Dr Julian Waters-Lynch from Australian university RMIT, Japan-based management consultant Rochelle Koop, NUS lecturer Dr Rashimah Rajah and co-founder, of learning and engagement fi­rm Work Inspires in Malaysia, Mallory Loone.

Their insights are in a report titled Leading The Next Hybrid Workforce. It highlighted leadership, structure and culture as the three key areas organisations must prioritise when they set up a system for a successful hybrid work arrangement.

Leaders must lead with empathy and intent

Effort must be made to build trust between leaders and employees. Performance must be based on outcomes to avoid falling into the trap of micromanagement. Make incremental changes to help employees adapt within a shorter time frame. Quarterly reviews should also be in place to ensure that their hybrid work strategy is closely aligned with the business, people and culture.

Recognise that in a hybrid work structure, there is no one-size-fits-all

To determine the best work arrangement, employers should partner with employees to learn their individual characteristics, job scope and personal circumstances so that both parties can work together to find the best arrangement. Money saved on real estate can be channelled into new technologies and tools to improve the work experience and more importantly ensure that senior workers do not lag behind.

Equally important is a communication channel for employees to give feedback and suggest changes to the new hybrid model of working.

Culture-building activities are an imperative

A hybrid work arrangement can lead to a divide between the home-based workers and those who work in the office. Employers should make more deliberate efforts to fostering team work and social interaction. It should re-direct the budgets from daily office expenses to re-invest in regular social activities.

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