I’m grateful that I have been able to continuing working as an accounting assistant at a local financial firm throughout the pandemic. I’ve been working from home and now our managers would like all employees to move to a hybrid model – a combination of on-site at the office and off-site from home throughout the week. This “new normal” worries me as I do my best work in the traditional way – in person at the office! I want to continue to be a successful employee so I asked my Reena job coach for advice. Please can you suggest how I can handle this change to a hybrid work model?
Signed: Fear of Hybrid (FOH)
My discussion with Reena job coaches in addition to this excellent blog https://www.brightful.me/blog/what-to-consider-when-moving-to-a-hybrid-work-model/ has provided me with some helpful tips for you to transition into this new way of working.
- Safety first. When you are in the office, it’s important to continue to follow the protocols to keep safe and protected from Covid or any other related virus. Social distancing, hand washing and desanitizing, and masking. When your employer allows employees back to the office, the company should take ownership of ensuring that their employees are safe as possible and that the environment is as clean as possible. The blogger adds that for this to work, every employee must share in helping maintain a clean and safe space.
- Keeping productive and engaged with your team. One downside that comes with a hybrid work model is the lack of social interaction with your team, and immediate feedback from your boss or others. With a hybrid work model, people are coming and going. Employers need to work even harder to ensure their teams feel connected to each other. You can still be productive and connected when working remotely. For example, if you don’t understand a task, email your boss or your co-worker to ask for a virtual meeting to explain it. Using virtual meeting platforms (Teams, zoom) as much as possible to communicate by keeping your team and boss updated and continue to build rapport and trust. Sometimes managers start meetings by sharing personal news or conducting team activities that foster mutual trust and respect among the team members.
- Data Security. Work closely with your IT team to make sure that when you work off-site, you are current with your security and software on your work laptop and other technology required to get the job done. Again, if you have an issue, email IT and copy your manager to resolve the issue. There will be times when off-site employees need to gain access to sensitive customer information or company data. Make sure that you are up-to-date with your employee training on cybersecurity. Check your company policies and procedures for this area as well.
- Work-life Balance: It’s much harder to maintain this balance in a hybrid work setting. When an employee is assigned to stay either at home or come into the office, they need to take charge and find a balance by either requesting a different time or finding other locations to work. Set your boundaries. Have a fully equipped and functioning computer station at your virtual office. Get involved in your hobbies and passions, be active, eat healthy and keep hydrated. Respect Off-Hours Time of others and yours as well. When you are working off-site you are never sure when are behind their desks. Everyone has different hours. Some may have to work a normal 9-to-5 shift while others have more flexibility and autonomy. Therefore, you should set boundaries on your own.
The same workplace behaviours apply to both remote and in person offices. Always remain professional, respect difference and diversity of others, be considerate of others and continue to help and support others on your team as required.
To submit your questions for this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email Joanna, Reena’s Employment Resource Supervisor at firstname.lastname@example.org