The pandemic has caused plenty of reflection on what kind of work works well. Many embraced flexible and hybrid work, but some are insisting that workers work full-time from the office. There may be cases where an all-office-all-the-time model is valid for particular businesses, but new data suggests offering flexibility may be a better bet.
“The Great Reshuffle has changed the world of work for good. Employees are now more attuned to their priorities and how and where they want to work. Therefore, to retain their top talent, employers should keep in mind that flexibility and employee wellbeing are now priorities for employees and crucial to business sustainability and success,” says Najat Abdelhadi, Career Expert at LinkedIn.
Businesses that pull back on flexible working risk demotivating their workforce and pushing people to competitors offering more attractive options. According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report, the top offerings employees value the most in employers today beyond compensation are flexible work, skills development opportunities, and work-life balance.
“Furthermore, scaling back on flexibility threatens progress on workplace equity. Professional development and flexibility have traditionally been the first to go when times get tough, but they are essential to widening talent pools and building diverse and resilient businesses that can adapt in a fast-changing world,” adds Abdelhadi.
Here are some tips for striking that balance in your hybrid working journey.
KEEP YOUR CAREER GOALS FRONT OF MIND
Focus on what you want to achieve in your career and how the balance of remote/office work will impact this. Are there certain skills or relationships that might be easier to gain, maintain and grow in person? Set up a meeting with your manager to discuss your goals and achievements, and come prepared with facts and examples. Consider doing this in person. Another route could be sending your supervisor weekly updates of what you’ve been working on and, more importantly, what you’ve accomplished.
“Our research indicates that only 43% of employers encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing amongst employees, so we believe it is important to maintain regular updates between workers and their teammates to create a more collaborative environment and ensure transparency,” says Abdelhadi.
VISIBILITY IS KEY
When working remotely, be present, vocal, and reliable. Reply promptly and maintain face time with your colleagues and manager, let them know what you’re working on, and keep them informed on your progress. Try to have your camera on for video meetings to show that you’re engaged and focused.
Progressive workplaces understand that employees who have better work-life balance can be more productive and look to support and empower their teams.
“Having an open and transparent conversation with your manager is the best way to address your concerns about your engagement so you can set clear expectations and ways of working. However, if the conversation isn’t productive, perhaps it’s not the right role for you, and it’s time to look for something new,” says Abdelhadi.
According to research by Microsoft, 85% of leaders say the shift to hybrid work has made it hard to be confident that employees are productive.
Having good work relationships brings multiple benefits, from overall work satisfaction to supporting career progression. Working collaboratively in person and socializing can be easier than doing so remotely — from arranging coffee dates to exchanging thoughts and ideas.
“Make it a habit to communicate your work milestones and share regular updates with your seniors and team members,” says Abdelhadi.
SOFT SKILLS ARE IMPORTANT
Whether you’re office-based, fully virtual, or a mix of the two, how you communicate with colleagues is key to maintaining successful relationships. Being a good coach, communicating and listening well, possessing insights into other points of view, being supportive of one’s colleagues, critical thinking and problem-solving, and making connections across complex ideas is critical for success. These fundamental human emotional and social skills should be nurtured and developed.
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