The disruptions of the past two years have introduced a degree of uncertainty in the job market. One thing that remains certain, however – the hybrid work environment is now part of the new normal.
To survive and thrive in this hybrid ambience, employees and employers must master the best of both worlds, legacy and new age. Here are the top seven skills required to retain relevance:
1. Understanding tech tangles: Though employees will always have the support of the company’s IT team, it is still important to understand the basics of troubleshooting when minor tech problems occur. More so when working from home or remotely on time-bound assignments and computer glitches end up stalling work. Besides installing regular software updates, one must have a backup plan ready if connectivity or other issues persist. The plan could include a mobile hotspot, an extra laptop, or a nearby café with reliable Wi-Fi.
Additionally, one can use collaboration tools, whiteboards, shared productivity kits and more to address such hurdles. For example, Zoom Whiteboard offers an integrated solution to collaborate and create efficiencies within its platform, simulating an in-person experience. Similarly, during video calls, the right apps can allow more effective communication, enhancing team collaboration and ensuring more productive outcomes. To elaborate, in-app surveys can facilitate feedback, encouraging greater participation during video calls. Meeting facilitators could then raise queries during or after meetings, providing real-time feedback on urgent issues for participants and even elicit participation from those attendees who prefer providing opinions anonymously.
2. Managing time: In the new age work environment, managing time is extremely essential, especially when working from home. Both workers and managers should prioritize tasks daily and then work accordingly, with crucial tasks taken upfront. Managing time also includes setting aside a brief period for a break to be by oneself since technology fatigue is a rising issue in the virtual world of work. Even a short break once or twice a day can re-energize a person and lead to more productive outcomes as compared to working without a break.
3. Encouraging continuous feedback: In today’s hybrid work universe, maintaining clear lines of communication is critical to the smooth functioning of an organization. Therefore, employers must encourage a positive work environment to welcome continuous feedback from all the employees. Collecting this feedback can better help the managers in understanding the views, and problems of their employees, and the challenges they are imposed to. For instance, creating a common chat group can ensure that all employees are on the same page on the progress of ongoing assignments, and they can share their views and inputs on the same. This will help in keeping them all connected and fostering a collaborative and engaging workplace culture.
4. Learning how to network: Employees must learn how to network. Knowing how to stay in the loop with office events now needs extra effort. Earlier, this was easy due to coffee breaks, lunch around the same table in the cafeteria and other opportunities for a brief break. But when working remotely or from home, this opportunity is no longer available. However, robust networking skills can help bridge the communication gap, filling in the blanks on office happenings.
5. Fostering trust: In a hybrid workplace with many working remotely, leaders and managers must trust employees to do and deliver what is assigned without repeatedly seeking status updates. Likewise, workers not interacting directly with managers should have the confidence that the work has been assigned fairly and transparently. When trust remains a two-way street in a flexible, remote workplace, better outcomes are assured for both employers and employees.
6. Creating a supportive mindset: This is all about employers as well as employees fostering an environment of trust via an empathetic, caring outlook. Given the challenging circumstances of the past two years, leaders and employees must make time to reach out to their peers, particularly those struggling to cope with current headwinds and who remain unable to deliver 100% as they did earlier. By guiding and handholding such individuals during these tumultuous times, one can make them feel more secure and comfortable. The ability to reach out and comfort those besieged by self-doubt is a vital leadership skill that could safeguard the lives of colleagues, especially in remote work scenarios. For managers, this requires a fine balance between being a leader and a professional friend. By acting as a frontrunner in establishing a supportive work ambiance, one can go a long way in building a vibrant team ethos that delivers at the highest levels.
7. Establishing work-life boundaries: In the hybrid working world with many operating remotely, it can be easy to lose track of time. Accordingly, it is imperative to set start and stop times for daily work – with exceptions only for time-bound deadlines that may require a few extra hours. Such boundaries can help maintain a healthy work-life balance by segregating working hours and personal time. This is crucial to make sure that employees do not suffer burnout due to pressures that arise in a constantly connected digital or hybrid workplace.
If employers and employees diligently follow the above guidelines, including the work-life balance boundaries, it can certainly ascertain more productivity and better outcomes for everyone in the long run.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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