Hybrid workplace

As a kid, I used to watch the Jetsons and think how cool the future looked. I couldn’t wait to grow up, zip through the sky in my Spacely Space Sprocket, have my chores done by a droid and play with tons of awesome gadgets as part of my important job working from home.

We’re now living in the future and I was right. It’s pretty cool.

Although it’s not exactly the Jetson life (my commute has yet to leave the ground and I still cook my own meals), I do have a robot vacuum, I communicate through screens from home and sometimes I pack a week of work into three (very long) days. 

The future may be now, but there’s still lots of unpredictability ahead. As leaders, we need to make sure we have future leadership skills to stand out in our business industry.

Is Your Business Prepared for The Future of Work?

In order to foster employee happiness, work-life balance and productivity, leaders must first accept where we landed in the aftermath of the pandemic. Once you’ve embraced the new normal, you can look forward to a future of remote work in a hybrid work environment.

One great way to be ready for the future workplace is by bringing in a future leadership keynote speaker to motivate your employees to develop their skills and get excited about the future of work. 

The Future of Work Trends

Pre-pandemic, working from home was considered a rare benefit, shopping online was something you did for fun and Skype was a cool way to connect with family who lived far away. Just a couple of short years later, every one of these concepts was turned upside down. After some trial and error, we are now discovering that combining in-person with virtual options is the most optimal way to work and live.

It is clear that our future workplace is influenced by technology and a new generation that believes in, demands and fights for social change and a more empathetic, inclusive world.

If you reflect on where your business or industry was just a few short years ago, the strides you have made are incredible, but those changes were born out of necessity, without foresight or planning. Now that the ebbs and flows of Covid-19 are a bit less turbulent, it’s time to be more strategic as you continue to embrace change and create goals to stay ahead of your business industry trends.

Let’s dive into the future of work trends to learn some leadership strategies. By doing this, you will be able to manage remote teams that are necessary for a future hybrid workplace.

Creating a Thriving Hybrid Workplace

The leadership skills that have served you well to date are an important baseline going forward, but you will need to add new strategies and leadership skills to adapt to the challenges of managing a hybrid workforce.

A successful hybrid remote business plan needs well-thought-out systems to prevent common issues such as lack of communication or overly complicated workflows. Additionally, investigating your employees’ soft skills and understanding how to deploy those successfully will be extremely important. Much of the data-driven work will be handled by powerful and efficient technology, leaving your employees with the capacity to handle greater levels of interactions and communications that will necessitate high emotional and social intelligence.

Now that we’ve gained insight into what’s on the horizon, let’s look at what you can do as a leader to prepare for and create a thriving hybrid work environment.

Learn About and Implement a Change-Proof Culture

The amount of disruption in today’s business world brought on by the pandemic is massive. The expectations of consumers and employees continue to evolve and leaders must find ways to predict and stay ahead of these trends to succeed.

The same people who hate the unpredictability of change also love the flexibility it creates. As a leader, you have a unique opportunity to use data to understand how your employees meet their goals and when they are most productive. Armed with this knowledge, you can improve your hybrid workplace to better support your team’s needs and accelerate productivity. Providing your team with effective technology, education and resources will help elevate their success no matter where the future of remote work takes your business. 

Although the task of catching up to the latest technology and building future leadership skills to meet ever-changing needs can be daunting, it’s not insurmountable. Understanding and embracing these changes will improve your team’s happiness, work-life balance and productivity, ultimately creating a positive outcome for your clients. 

By adopting a change-proof culture, you will be more mindful and aware, which will lead to your employees feeling like an integral part of the big picture and the ongoing success of your business. For more information and ideas on how to create a change-proof culture, check out my book, Change Proof: Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience.

Effectively Manage Remote and Hybrid Teams

According to a McKinsey global survey of 800 senior executives in July 2020, two-thirds stated that they were stepping up investment in automation and AI either somewhat or significantly. 

July 2020 was only four months into shelter-in-place and we were already able to institute that level of change. This really highlights the fact that necessity breeds ingenuity and that future opportunities are limitless.

The increases in AI continue to grow by leaps and bounds, creating a high-business transition in many industries with the most obvious being the dramatic increase in employees working remotely. The pandemic taught us that the importance of physical presence was nowhere near as critical as we believed.

With remote work becoming the norm, you must continue to build leadership strategies and find creative ways to manage remote teams. One way is by incorporating a hybrid work environment, which offers flexibility for your team while still meeting your clients’ needs. 

Here are some tips to boost efficiency in your hybrid workplace:

  • Clear communication is key, don’t let issues go unresolved
  • Implement a 3-2-2 structure (three days in the office, two days at home, two days off) for a better wellness work experience
  • Create clear workflow strategies to assist you and your employees to better adapt to the new norm
  • Create a sharing knowledge database for your employees to learn

Not only will these strategies allow you to retain employees like George Jetson who lived and worked through changes, you will also engage future generations like Elroy and Judy who never knew a world without the benefits of cutting-edge technology.

Cultivate a Happy Culture at a Hybrid Workplace

In a study by Harvard Business Review, disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents and 60% more errors and defects, when compared to engaged workers. 

Employees who feel connected, appreciated, valued and heard will be more productive. It’s your role as their leader to build a workplace that fosters these feelings. Employees will model your passion and drive, respecting your honesty and transparency. When you lead by example, your team will happily follow. 

Creating a happy workplace can start with something as simple as a morning greeting (whether in-person or virtual), recognizing your team’s efforts and showing your appreciation. Through your positive and resilient leadership, your employees will share the look of joy we remember from George Jetson as he began each workday in a future filled with exciting opportunities.

Fostering a Got Your Back Culture

It’s not easy to face difficulties alone, so cultivating a “got your back” culture is critical to your employees’ well-being.

As a leader, you can use both indirect observations and direct conversations to gain a deeper insight into your team’s challenges and concerns. By listening and understanding your employees, you’ll exhibit care and empathy as a leader. Old-school methods of being authoritative and overbearing are no longer effective in today’s socially aware world and will only create a divide between you and your employees. 

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that even if we are “alone together,” knowing that your team and leader has your back makes the more challenging moments manageable.

By paying attention to, and being invested in, your employee’s well-being with simple gestures such as offering days off when they feel overwhelmed, not requiring weekend or after-hours work, you are showing that their work-life balance and overall happiness matter.

Upgrade Your Resilient Leadership Skills

I talk a lot about resilience because it is one of the most important traits a leader can cultivate, not only in yourself but in your employees, in order to thrive in the ever-changing work world.  Becoming a resilient leader will allow you to see challenges as opportunities, cope more effectively with stress and reflect a shining example for your team.

How Can A Leadership Keynote Speaker Help?

Now that you’ve gained insight into future work trends and acquired future leadership skills to manage the challenges that come along with them, you are ready to manage a hybrid workforce

If you’d like to learn more about how engaging a future of work speaker with an empathetic and understanding approach can inspire your team through practical strategies and real-life insights, contact us by calling 877.697.4868 or sending an email to team@adammarkel.com. You can expect a response within 24 hours. 

As exhibited when George Jetson’s boss, Mr. Spacely said, “No hurry, any time in the next 5 minutes is fine,” the future continues to hurtle at us at an alarming, but exciting, speed. While much is still unknown, you are now armed and ready with the tips you’ve learned in this article to jump into your Spacely Space Sprocket and launch your business into the future.