As pandemic restrictions ease, it’s clear that one big change to the way we work is here to stay: hybrid working. However, these environments run the risk of creating new inequities and exacerbating those that already exist. For employers to ensure fairness, maximize performance, and maintain cultural cohesion in hybrid work arrangements, they need to consider these five practical dimensions of inclusion when designing hybrid policies and navigating new ways of working.
An important part of being successful at work is having the right setup and training to do your job. Remote work places increasing value on being technically capable, and getting up and running when working from home has become an essential skill.
Physical distance can lead to psychological distance. It’s much easier to check in on colleagues when sharing a physical space. When working remotely, make use of the trusty status bar. A message like “Open for chats!” along with a green status circle gives permission to bridge the distance gap.
Another inclusion impact of hybrid working is the potential for silent bullying. Fostering an environment where all voices are heard requires increasing psychological safety so that your people feel they can speak up when there’s interpersonal conflict. Employees must feel they can have the necessary hard conversations in a productive and judgment-free zone.
Additionally, in times of economic uncertainty, employees are more likely to form in-groups, usually along some dimension of similarity. One effective way to break up these in-groups is to ensure information flows smoothly and diffusely through an organization by identifying “weak ties.”
Proximity to managers has been shown to increase promotion rates when men report to other men. In a hybrid world, it’s also natural to see shifting reward mechanisms, some of which can leave people out. One way to keep an eye on the impact of shifting reward mechanisms is to audit who gets what and why — and make sure people know about it.
As you craft your company’s hybrid work plans and policies, be aware of the inequities hybrid work can create or make worse. Designing with these practical dimensions of inclusion in mind is critical for creating an equitable organization.
Do you have policies for hybrid work?
How do you make sure all employees are treated fairly?
Lordan, G., Aalmeida, T. and Kohler, L. (2021, August). 5 Practices to Make Your Hybrid Workplace Inclusive. Harvard Business Review.
Mark Kalin je izkušen manager, podjetnik, innovator, mentor, predavatelj in strokovnjak za vzpostavljanje inovativnih ekosistemov in transformacij kultur ter strokovnjak za vzpostavitev visoko zmogljivih virtualnih timov, z zelo bogato izobrazbo in poslovnimi izkušnjami.