Transition To A Hybrid Work Model: What Skills Matter

Hybrid Work Model: What Skills Matter
Summary: As companies return to the office, many are adopting a hybrid work model. If you’re making the shift, you’ll be updating policies and processes. And that means updating your employee training program. Here are 5 skills to include to help your employees build a successful hybrid workplace.

Building A Successful Hybrid Work Environment

Remote work is no longer just a nice perk offered by some companies. These days, it's a key benefit employees have come to expect. As companies return to their offices, many are finding value in a hybrid work model that still allows flexibility.

Being open to both in-office and remote workers broadens your potential workforce pool. And it shows support for employee well-being. But this kind of flexibility also impacts the way your organization operates. It means rethinking policies and processes. And it means re-evaluating your employee training for a hybrid workforce.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what hybrid work is and why training is crucial to its success. We'll also dive into what kind of training will be most helpful as you make the transition.

What Is A Hybrid Work Model?

A hybrid workplace is a mix of in-office and remote work. You support both, and employees choose which suits them best. Or, they may switch between the two depending on their needs. Hybrid work adjusts to support the best work-life balance for your employees. And it boosts productivity and profitability.

There are plenty of reasons to go hybrid, including:

  • More flexibility and a good work/life balance for existing employees
  • An attractive benefit for potential employees
  • More efficiency and higher revenue
  • Lower overall operating costs

It’s no wonder so many companies are updating their remote work policies. But while the move may be common, hybrid work looks different for each company.

As the world moves into the “new normal” of business, flexibility is taking many forms. From hybrid work to asynchronous hours to adopting a four-day workweek, companies are making big changes. And the new flexible work models present some challenges as well. For instance:

  • Difficulty ensuring equal employee development for both groups
  • Workflow disruptions when everyone can't get together for a quick meeting
  • Increasing concern over cybersecurity as more work takes place online
  • Isolation and fewer opportunities to develop relationships, trust, and belonging

The challenges aren’t insignificant. But with the right approach, including a robust training plan, you can prepare to succeed in a more flexible work structure.

The Role Of Training In The Hybrid Workplace

No matter how strong your L&D strategy was before the pandemic, you should review it now. If you’re making the transition to a flexible work model, you'll want to rethink and revise your training program for a hybrid workforce. That means taking a good look at how you deliver training as well as at what content will be the most useful.

The How

When you shift to a hybrid work model, you naturally think about moving to online learning. Remote training is the easiest way to reach your whole staff. And you’ll likely shift a lot of your coursework to self-paced training—if you haven’t already. That means finding the best technology and tools for training remote workers. Invest in a remote training LMS that’s simple to use and robust enough to support various file types for more engaging training. Make sure your employees can log in and participate easily no matter where they are.

The What

A more flexible work model will call for new skillsets for your company. How people work together is going to look different. So is how you achieve your company goals. Be prepared to upskill or reskill employees accordingly. Include content that will help people develop useful remote working relationships. Help them learn the skills and knowledge they need to manage the new infrastructure.

5 Important Skills For Successful Hybrid Work

It takes specific skills to succeed in hybrid work. Knowing where to start will help you build a solid strategy for rolling out training. Here’s a list of 5 skills to focus on as you develop your training plan for the new work environment.

1. Technology And Processes

Prepare people to use the tools required to do their work. The unexpected move to remote work sped up the digital transformation that was already happening in many companies. Now things like video conferencing, messaging apps, and project management software are commonplace in business.

Train your employees in the tech that will keep them communicating effectively. Also bring them up to speed with processes and best practices for success, including:

  • Specify how to handle task hand-offs
  • Teach time management skills
  • Outline policies on what communication should happen face-to-face (even via video conferencing) and what can be asynchronous

For example, regular status updates can probably happen through email or asynchronous messaging. But if an issue comes up that could delay a project, make sure people know it’s best to get on a call with the team leader right away.

2. Online Security

Since more work is being done online, it's a good idea to train your teams on cybersecurity. Teach your employees how to prevent viruses from damaging their work equipment. Educate them about how to protect sensitive data. Offer specific instructions on how to handle work devices when they’re working from public spaces or in shared spaces at home.

More remote work means more information online. And that means more risks of data breaches. Give your workforce the skills and awareness to protect your business from cyberattacks.

3. Communication

Communication should be a top priority in a hybrid workplace. Being able to discuss concerns and resolve differences is particularly important. When people don’t bump into each other on a regular basis, they don’t get a chance to solve problems or brainstorm together naturally.

Build up strong teams by training employees to handle the specific communications challenges remote teams face. For example, teach them how to bring up and constructively discuss concerns. Develop skills for writing an effective email to avoid miscommunication when topics can’t be discussed in real time.

Preparing people to speak up candidly and respectfully will strengthen working relationships. It will also prevent misunderstandings that can derail your work.

4. Team-Building

Good teamwork skills are important in any successful company. But remote teams need special focus on working together effectively. It can be easy to sit back in video conferences and not contribute the same way they would in an in-person meeting. Include courses that teach collaboration and inclusion to help people engage and encourage others to do the same.

Also, teach best practices and proper etiquette for remote interactions. Let employees know what’s considered proper attire for Zoom meetings. Make sure everyone understands what professional behavior looks like in these settings. And clarify that you expect people to speak with the same respect they would if they were in person.

It’s all too easy for people to get casual in their interactions or forget to reach out to colleagues when they’re a step removed from the office. Training them on how to appropriately show up on- and offline will help you build strong teams.

5. Leadership

Set your team managers up for success by focusing on leadership techniques for a hybrid workplace. When leaders can’t see employees at work and check up on what they’re doing, they need to know how to reach out and ensure accountability. Teach them skills to communicate their expectations and to have crucial conversations with employees who aren’t meeting expectations.

It's also a good idea to focus on diversity and inclusion training. Educate leaders on how to give equal attention and guidance to both in-office and remote workers. This kind of awareness prevents the “us vs. them” mentality that can be developed in a hybrid workplace. And it helps managers see where their leadership is most needed to keep the team working together well.

Training For A Successful Hybrid Workforce

Flexible work patterns look different in every organization. There’s also no "one-size-fits-all" approach to implementing a hybrid work model. But one thing you can count on, no matter your situation, is that training will be central to your success.

Providing the right content is important. And having the right delivery methods is also essential if you want to make it stick. Reaching and engaging all of your employees is critical to providing meaningful training.

Use the best digital solutions available to you to level the playing field for both in-office and remote employees. The right approach will set your employees up for success no matter where they're located.

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