Transcript: Best Practices for working in a Hybrid Environment
A hybrid workplace model is a blend of in-office and remote work that requires a specific mindset and skillset to maximize performance, success and well-being. As our working environment continues to evolve, there is room to experiment and innovate. Be conscious and kind to yourself as it takes time to adapt and explore ways of working.
This video will share five best practices to consider when working in a hybrid workplace environment.
Best practice #1: Communicating effectively with colleagues
How you communicate with your colleagues in a hybrid workplace environment is different from when a team is working only virtually or only in an in-person setting. Discuss and clarify with your colleagues and manager the formats and tools available for communication.
- Collaborative tools;
- Shared repositories;
- Interactive online and in-person meetings.
[Text on screen] Screen sharing, chat, whiteboard, calendar sharing, voting.
Be mindful of when you and your colleagues are working in-person and virtually. If you and your colleagues are in-person on the same day, consider an in-person meeting for collaborative work. Be inclusive, important conversations need to involve everyone.
Best practice #2: Planning your work schedule
With many public servants working partially in-person and partially remotely; there is a lot that you can do to maximize your work schedule by planning your workdays in advance. Planning accordingly will optimize your work experience. Some good practices to consider are:
- Inform colleagues of when you are inside and outside of the office;
- In collaboration with your colleagues and manager, identify which parts of your job are best accomplished virtually versus on-site;
- Prior to working in-person, book adequate office, meeting spaces and tools in advance to ensure that you have what is needed to be productive; and
- Schedule regular check-ins with your manager (consider using your bi-lats or team meetings) to discuss what is working well and what is not as they can provide support and suggestions to make the best of your work environment and experience.
It is often said that hybrid work environments offer the best of both onsite and remote working models. Use this to your benefit by decreasing social isolation through meeting with colleagues on your in-person days and using your virtual days for when flexibility is required to balance the demands of work when possible.
Best practice #3: Be conscientious of meetings
Meetings are a way to discuss and advance day to day work. In the world of hybrid, remember that some of your colleagues may be joining together in a meeting room while others are connecting virtually.
If you are responsible for setting up the meeting, consider:
- Providing in-person and virtual joining instructions and an agenda to all attendees in advance.
- Planning meeting times and durations accordingly to ensure enough transition time for both in-person and virtual colleagues to get from one meeting to the next. Adjust your outlook calendar default duration for new appointments and meetings.
If you are attending a hybrid meeting no matter if you are in an in-person meeting room with most of your team or attending virtually, consider:
- Turning your camera on. This will improve every one of your colleagues meeting experiences as they will be able to see your reactions and expressions.
- Monitoring the chat for your colleagues who are attending virtually.
- Informing colleagues if they are too far from the microphone or that there may be an issue with the technology so that they can fill you in on information missed if required.
If you are leading a meeting think about adding accessible and inclusive interactive activities such as chats, polls and questions to increase interest and engagement for all colleagues in attendance.
Best practice #4: Reflecting and resetting
As public servants, no matter the work location, you may be rushing from one meeting to the next and trying to juggle multiple and competing priorities. It is important to reflect and reset from time to time to ensure well-being.
- Reviewing routines and work set-up;
- Identifying potential distractions – If you have the flexibility to do so, discuss with your manager when is best to work in-person or virtual to increase productivity and success;
- Being aware that you may have to adjust from time to time what works best for you in consultation with your manager and have open and honest conversations with them; and
Resetting your mind and body off screen. Use your breaks to stretch, meditate, relax, go outside and/or exercise.
Best practice #5: Stay connected with colleagues
Staying connected with your colleagues is vital to the success of any well-functioning team. In a hybrid workplace environment, the way we connect is reimagined. Collectively with your colleagues and manager, discuss and think about how to cultivate connectivity in a hybrid workplace environment.
Connection supports healthy teams, peer learning and mentoring, knowledge transfer and a positive culture.
Consider, bridging the in-person/virtual divide by scheduling coffee, tea, lunch chats with colleagues and use social channels to chat informally that can mimic the "water cooler chats" in-person regardless of the work location.
Now that we have reviewed some of the best practices to thrive in a hybrid workplace environment, work together with your colleagues to experiment various approaches and share tips and insights that will improve how you work within a hybrid workplace context.
Navigating the world of hybrid work may not always be easy but with transparency and the right mindset, you will be able to succeed.
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