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The new approach to evaluating and measuring productivity in the hybrid working environment

How to enable productive employees with effective hybrid structures.

As we face up to the reality of our new working structures, questions remain about how to develop productive, effective and healthy workforces. According to recent research from Accenture, organisations that enable a resilient workforce to be more productive and healthier anywhere are reaping the financial benefits. Specifically, 63% of high revenue-growth companies have already enabled productive hybrid workforces. The majority of negative or no-growth companies (69%) are still focused on where people are physically going to work – often favouring completely remote or on-site over hybrid.

Opting to implement a hybrid structure doesn’t instantly guarantee success, however. Enabling hybrid employees to be productive relies on the adoption of new structures, tools and trust. New ways to measure productivity are essential, whilst employee wellbeing is key and motivation crucial.

Measuring productivity is now all about outcomes, engagement and quality of work

For more forward-thinking organisations, already gone were the days of measuring productivity with traditional criteria, such as time spent at the desk or hours logged in the office. But with changes to the structure of work seeing team members spending much of their time working alone, the onus is now on them and their managers to identify and illustrate productivity in different ways. We are seeing a change in focus towards outcome-based productivity measured by customer satisfaction, revenue, and time to market, for example.

With outcomes, engagement and quality of work now the focus, the scourge of micro-management may be consigned to the past. As could the stress that comes with having to be seen to be at your desk for 40 hours a week – or ten minutes longer than your boss, whichever the greater. For this model to be successful, however, it is vital for line managers to set clear objectives and deliverables. Appropriate data-led tools to track, monitor and measure must be in place, whilst collaborative tools, team spaces and project management systems will all help with communication and tracking of deliverables.

Hybrid structures must be designed with motivation, collaboration and productivity in mind

An increased onus must now be placed on the processes that underpin the new hybrid environment. Weekly team calls, regular check-ins with line managers and senior leadership are key to ensure people continue to feel part of the team and the wider business, as well as assisting with motivation.

A vital task for line managers and senior leadership teams is to designate an effective split between time spent in the office and remote work. Days spent remotely will likely consist of tasks that require concentration, individual work and a lack of distraction. Effective time in the office should be designated for collaboration, project kick-offs, and team and company updates, as well as welcoming new starters. The office will likely represent a novelty in the early days of this new hybrid structure, enforcing the need to keep this time structured, planned and productive.

Trust is the cornerstone of effective hybrid working environments

When done well, this new way of working will empower employees. As employers have no other option but to trust them, this will likely create a more supportive, ethical and balanced way to work. This increased trust should result in boosted morale, increased confidence, improved mental wellbeing, enhanced self-responsibility and, in turn, improved productivity. In fact, according to recent research, UK remote workers have increased their working week by 25%, whilst the Office of National Statistics revealed that those working from home are taking half the amount of sick leave compared to purely office-based staff.

Yet, as mentioned, simply flicking the switch to hybrid doesn’t guarantee that the benefits follow. Employers need to work hard to enable their hybrid employees. This relies on showing that this new working environment is underpinned by trust – actions always speak louder than words. Small measures can go a long way, such as allowing people to be flexible in their working hours as long as they deliver the agreed work to the right standard. As can sticking to agreed check-ins and timings for updates in line with defined milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) – continually asking for ad-hoc updates, throughout a project is not only frustrating for that individual, but it also shows a lack of trust.

Trust is a two-way street. In a hybrid office environment, an employer can only provide the tools, processes and structure to get the job done. It is then the responsibility of their team members to deliver, manage their time effectively and be responsible for their own outcomes. When people are empowered to do so, it leads to productive and strong workforces where every team member takes ownership of their own work, duties and deadlines.

Creating an effective hybrid environment with wellbeing at the core

A resilient workforce is also a healthy one. For hybrid structures to be effective, there is an increased responsibility for employers to look after the mental health and wellbeing of their staff. Previously, all the tools, support, facilities and processes would have been in place in the office environment to meet these needs. Now a different approach must be adopted to recreate this in a hybrid working environment.

Again, your lines of communication are key. Regular check-ins will be essential, as will be creating an environment where it is okay to talk about stress, burnout and fatigue without it being viewed negatively. Line managers should be trained in techniques of how to identify signs during any in-person time, as well as how to talk considerately to individuals about these issues. The HR team also plays a fundamental role in being open, available and accessible to hybrid employees.

Simple changes can lead to a productive hybrid workforce

The vast majority of employees are on board with hybrid structures. In fact, according to recent McKinsey research, it is as high as 90% – yet this comes with a recognition from both staff and employers that there will be challenges to overcome. Productivity and company growth in this new normal are fundamental for the survival of businesses. And with simple and structured changes, effective hybrid environments can be created that positively impact employee productivity, wellbeing and business success.

Head to the Brother UK Hybrid Working hub to discover more about creating effective hybrid structures for your workplace.

 

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