Strategies for an Effective Hybrid Workplace

Strategies for an Effective Hybrid Workplace
Strategies for an Effective Hybrid Workplace

Whether you’re a video creator, learning and development professional, or even a software engineer, your industry is probably embracing hybrid working in one way or another.

Hybrid work is not a challenge that we can master overnight, but all it takes is the right information to get you moving in the right direction. Michelle Massey, VP of Community Outreach and Customer Operations at TechSmith, joins this episode of The Visual Lounge to share some practical steps and tips that create a healthier hybrid work environment.

She talks about organizational culture and how it affects hybrid work settings and gives out some tips on how to communicate better in a hybrid work environment.

Watch the full interview here: https://youtu.be/z5gaL3UA9wE

Michelle is responsible for maximizing the impact of the customer experience and increasing TechSmith’s philanthropic impact on K-12 education.

In addition to having over 25 years of experience in the IT industry, she is also well versed in community engagement, business operations, corporate planning, and proposal development. She received the 2021 Athena Leadership Award and the Downtown Lansing Inks Downtown Dreamer Award for her contributions to the Lansing community.

To listen to the full episode of the podcast, press play below.

What is hybrid work?

Hybrid work is when people work from different places: some work from home full time, others work in the office, while the rest combine both work settings.

But that’s not all there is to consider when it comes to hybrid work.

The main challenge of hybrid working is ensuring that everyone gets the same corporate experience.

Let’s take a simple meeting as an example. How do you make that shared experience the same for people who are not physically present? Your vision and ideas are still valid and need to be heard by the group.

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As Michelle tells us:

That’s where tools, standards, and practices come in..”

Why is the topic of hybrid work important?

First, the world has changed drastically in the last two years and there is no going back.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, people are relying on remote tools more than ever. We are now fully into the era of Slack, Zoom, Teams, and other similar tools.

And it’s not just like that in the business world either. We had to figure out how to weave the hybrid life in our world into our personal lives.

Even if you’re not working in a hybrid environment, most of us still interact virtually. And technology is key to making all that possible.

Unfortunately, when the topic of technology comes up, some people start to get nervous.

But in today’s world, knowing how to use technology to improve our business and personal lives is essential. New software, tools and applications will continue to appear, but we must learn to deal with them. And once you know how to use these tools effectively, your life becomes much more manageable.

Addressing organizational culture in hybrid work environments

Research shows that one of the biggest concerns for companies today is losing their culture in the hybrid environment.

Especially in the technology industry, people are always looking for ways to:

  • stand out from the competition, or
  • Just stand out from the rest, trying to improve your own group of employees.

With the brain drain, there are too many jobs available and not enough people looking to fill them.

So what do you do if you can’t bring potential employees into the office to experience how your company is different?

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Michelle’s simple solution is not to completely change the company culture. Instead, she is about tailoring it to suit all parties involved. So if her culture is based on transparency, integrity and honesty, don’t throw them out the window. Find out how to improve them in a hybrid environment.

There are various ways to think about organizational culture, but the best way to approach it in a hybrid environment is to focus on good communication.

Leaders must ensure that they not only communicate with people, but also listen and understand them. Employees must also realize that many leaders are navigating uncharted territory at this point.

“So for both parties, what is needed is a little bit of grace, a little bit of understanding, and then also being able to let each other know what is working and what is not working in a constructive way.”

Tips to improve meetings and communication in hybrid work environments

It is clear that communication is key in hybrid workspaces. Michelle shares some tips she’s gleaned on Communication Is Critical in Hybrid Workspaces. Michelle shares some tips that she has gleaned over her many years of leadership.

1. The Right Gear Matters

First things first, make sure everyone has the right tools, is up and running, and knows how to use them. That can include looking at bandwidth, Wi-Fi connections, microphones, and even computers. Consider the team both inside and outside the office to ensure the same experience is shared.

two. Don’t assume everyone knows how to use the technology available

Even if everyone knew the ins and outs of using specific technology before the lockdown, don’t assume everyone still remembers now. It’s quite easy for things to slip from people’s minds, especially if they don’t regularly practice with them.

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One solution is to offer short walkthroughs to ensure people understand the tools and technology at their disposal.

3. Have meeting rules

Meetings in hybrid work environments may look more or less the same on the surface, but there are some nuances to consider.

In a typical meeting, people just chime in, throw out agendas, and everyone dives in. But it is not so easy to achieve in a hybrid work environment. You need some good rules and ground rules to make people feel comfortable when it’s time to speak up and contribute.

Some things Michelle mentions include:

  • Zoom to zoom: It’s easy for some voices to get lost in the mix of Zoom calls. Make sure everyone has a chance to speak or share their thoughts during the meeting.
  • Use collaboration tools: People should be able to ask questions and get feedback, and collaboration tools are one way to do that. It’s also great because no one feels singled out and people feel more comfortable expressing themselves.
  • Record meetings: Not everyone will attend every meeting, so if there is a shared file or drive they can access for information, it will streamline operations.

Not every meeting has to be a meeting either! Michelle says that asynchronous communication tools like Snagit, which allow you to capture your screen and make quick, informal videos, have opened up a whole new world of employee communication and creativity.

Michelle says asynchronous video messaging can allow leadership to communicate consistently without the challenges of lining up schedules or getting everyone in the same room for a “town hall.”