How to create a hybrid work environment without a hassle?

The recipe for an engaged team that will get the job done in a timely manner in a hybrid work environment.

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Krzysztof Pimpicki
CEO, Harmodesk & Positive Productivity
Michał Stangret
Evangelist, Harmodesk & Positive Productivity

Staying remote or returning to the office? While this is a difficult question, the big ones know the answer already. SAP, Salesforce, Facebook, Microsoft, Dropbox, Twitter, Linkedin, Quora, Slack, Square - these are just a few examples of numerous companies that have passed the decision to their employees - both regarding the work model and its scope.

The trend is clear. While in 2019 - according to Gartner - 27 percent of office workers around the world worked in a hybrid model (at least once a week remotely), by the end of 2021 this number will almost double.

The changes are applauded by many employees who liked the hybrid work - there is no daily commuting, home office dress code is very flexible, employees have greater freedom in organizing their working time - they do not want to give it up.

As much as 77 percent of Poles believe that the hybrid work model is the best solution (PwC, Upskilling Hopes and Fears 2021). However, Polish managers have many concerns. ManpowerGroup's ‘Niedobór talentów’ (‘Talents’ Shortage’) report shows that only one in five Polish employers does not report concerns about remote working. One in five is worried about the quality of collaboration in remote teams. Companies are also concerned about the decline in productivity (18 percent).

Managers highlight the challenges of managing teams in the hybrid model: ‘The problems are not so visible and the reaction time is delayed’ (63 percent of responses), ‘It is difficult to determine how much time has actually been worked, what that time was consumed for, and some tasks have not been done’ (59 percent), ‘Workload differentiation is increasing’ (44 percent), ’Excess of meetings and time devoted to the status of tasks and work organization’ (44 percent). These are the results of a survey that we conducted among managers and team leaders during one of our webinars on the opportunities of using a hybrid work environment to increase team efficiency and engagement. Some managers (leaders) fear the disintegration of the teams and losing the sense of control with a sense of imminent chaos. Fortunately, not all leaders feel helpless.

They succeeded

Some managers can see opportunities where others see threats. At Ringier Axel Springer Polska, last year's lockdown highlighted problems that had not been dealt with or encountered before. The company struggled with a recurrence of a backlog in one of the key processes in the accounting department (purchase invoices booking) and faced a noticeable decline in employee engagement.

These problems intensified after the forced transition to remote working (only volunteers had the opportunity to work from the office). Kasia Fita, the head of the department, then decided to solve the problem once and for all, by implementing the tool supporting the manager in organizing the team's work.

The effects of the change were quick and noticeable in many areas. Whereas previously 85 percent of invoices were processed in five days or more, now all the invoices (without those suspended) are processed within one day. Both the employee satisfaction index and numerous interviews indicate a rapid improvement.

The manager emphasizes the lasting effects of the introduced changes. - A lot less stress. I am sure that priority tasks will be completed on time.

How is it done?

The tool automatically downloads the information on tasks from various transaction systems and distributes them to the appropriate employees, according to your business priorities and the employees' qualifications as defined by you.

Such transparency helps to deal with an unfair delegation of tasks. The problem of employees complaining about their bosses becomes mute - employees’ engagement and job satisfaction increase.

Your employee carries out tasks one after another, according to the optimal rules of process work (do only one thing at a time, move to the next one after it is finished or paused; make sure that each employee knows exactly what to do).

Handing out or distributing tasks is important here. The employees do not have to think what to do before and what to do after - they do not have to plan. Thanks to this, they can focus one hundred percent on what they are currently doing, increasing their efficiency and quality of work.

At the same time, you have a 360-degree view of all processing tasks in one place - the application provides you with the tasks' current statuses and visualization of key KPIs on an ongoing basis. Thanks to this, you have the peace of mind that everything is ok.

Most Importantly, you are in control of the process all the time. For example you order the distribution of a priority task to the system - you have the guarantee that it will be handed over to the appropriate employee as a matter of urgency.

You are no longer dependent on your employees’ preferences regarding the work mode, you gain a motivated team and confidence that the work will be done.

Automated task distribution and the opportunity to monitor their status on an ongoing basis allow you to focus on what really matters in the managerial profession. - I have an extra 90 minutes a day - says Fita.