Improve morale and productivity through hybrid work: remove hierarchy, encourage autonomy and create a place of belonging



The pandemic has indeed changed the way we work forever. As the world adapts to a new hybrid form of working, leaders now face new challenges: finding effective ways to nurture responsible and empowered teams, while creating physical and virtual environments that support staff. to feel at home in a socially distant environment. world of work.

One of the biggest challenges for leaders is to motivate their staff during times of transition of change – as bottlenecks rise and fall around the world, managers have a greater responsibility to their teams than ever before.

Recent research points to a lot of evidence that proves that a large percentage of the workforce around the world simply does not want to return to the workplace. When Apple For example, they told staff they would be required to come back three days a week, they were severely pushed back with many employees demanding that if the return to work policy was implemented they would quit.

Staff just don’t want to be confined to clinical cubicles anymore, while others don’t want to continue blurring the lines between work and home. But leaders shouldn’t see the pandemic as a curse – we should see it as a unique opportunity to rethink how staff are motivated, supported and trained.

To overcome these challenges, there are many ways that leaders can empower their people to thrive through hybrid work. By instilling greater confidence, encompassing positive accountability mechanisms and allowing staff to make their own decisions about when to come to work.

Has the pandemic ended the era of micromanagement?

New hybrid working models mean staff can no longer be micromanaged as before – so leaders must adapt to new ways of building trust in staff.

Micromanagement has already been proven be a counterproductive way of managing staff. Part of the hybrid job is giving your staff more agency and autonomy.

In 1982, Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard published research on situational leadership which indicated that when staff first begin in their roles, they need a lot more mentoring and training. But once they’ve gained more experience and have the tools to work independently, it’s time to step away.

Self-employment doesn’t mean you don’t regularly check in on your staff – it’s about how you train your staff to ensure that you can instill a high level of confidence, with a workforce motivated by the job. hard work and innovation and are eager and willing to be part of a strong team producing high quality work with aligned purpose and objective.

Micromanagement is fear-based behavior that can reduce staff motivation and retention. A manager’s job isn’t to hang around telling people what to do – strong leaders will create a pathway for their teams to become as independent in their workflows as quickly as possible.

But autonomy must be balanced with responsibility – if staff are to be left alone, they must be mature and willing to meet deadlines and goals. And staff won’t always be able to lead management, so it’s important for managers to help them navigate.

Directions and goals need to be clearly defined – in an online space this can be more difficult. But it is possible when managers can encourage a culture of updating and work sharing. For example, daily or weekly caucuses can be taken both online and in physical form, and encourage teams to share updates, goals and visions.

Weekly demos can allow staff to present progress to managers, stakeholders, customers and colleagues, and post conversational messages and updates using tools like Slack to help staff learn one another.

To keep staff motivated and accountable for KPIs, managers need to be transparent and ensure that work is easy to understand and in an easily accessible manner. Short planning cycles, weekly or bi-monthly, allow teams to regularly check on progress and continue to see growth.

Visualization, through mind maps, using canvases or whiteboards, and writing or drawing during meetings helps everyone better understand the process, rather than just talking about it.

Promote the autonomy of the team and the individual

Autonomy based on trust has become even more important during the pandemic. A strong culture of self-employment is created when managers can coach their staff to take initiative and grow as individuals and within teams.

Team autonomy involves building teams of staff who can be delegated and take control of certain tasks, making their own decisions about how work is performed.

With a strong culture of individual autonomy, team members will be motivated to venture out with what they can bring to projects.

When the prerequisites for this cultivation are met early on, this process is much easier. This will be the default standard that people use when the culture is in place when people apply for work.

It is important to think about what you already have in place to allow this culture to develop. It is created by investing the right knowledge and the necessary time, and creating space by removing bureaucracy or unnecessary meetings.

Managers need to learn to be good managers – and instead of just giving a high-performing worker extra work, they need to be given the knowledge, practices and information necessary to be successful.

Many workplaces burden their managers with too much work, with a ‘show me you’re busy’ mindset. Instead, they should have the space to listen and make sense of situations while still being able to pay attention so that they can step in and help in these high impact moments.

Keep the responsibility

So how do you make sure staff can be held accountable without the need to micromanage? It starts with an attitude of trust in your staff. You don’t trust people by checking them out – you trust them yourself.

But leaders also need to check – when they first work, they need to have the right skills and the right attitude. Once they’ve established themselves and have the right knowledge and skills, your job is to sideline yourself while providing them with what they need to be successful.

As managers and leaders, we have an obligation to look after our teams in this way. When staff have more authority over their own work, motivation will increase. Instilling more trust in staff will also help staff work towards a common goal, which cares about the same collective outcome.

Create a workplace where people feel they belong

The hybrid working method has been warmly welcomed by millions of people around the world. But being able to work flexibly from home has left many less motivated to return. Staff also lack the ability to collaborate face-to-face with co-workers or have the time and space to socialize and network with teammates.

Some believe that working from home can have a negative impact on mental health, as the lines between work and family life become increasingly blurred. To counter this, leaders can create a more welcoming workplace. One efficient way to do this is to convert the office into a co-working space. Co-working environments are designed to help workers really enjoy coming to work.

Executives can convert the office into a coworking environment quite easily with a few simple techniques, and staff will be more motivated to return. Office changes, such as creating spaces for socializing or seclusion, such as quiet meditation rooms, ping-pong tables or a barbecue area, for example, allow staff to relax with colleagues in order to bond. building relationships and encouraging networking. When staff are confined to cubicles, they easily forget that they are working with like-minded people working towards the same goal and the same goals.

Creating spaces for shared and permanent offices can also help staff find more motivation and creative flow, having the flexibility to move around or choose to have a more structured setup.

The establishment of coffee or lunch spaces provides a place for staff to have non-transactional conversations and catch up over coffee or tea. In a virtual environment, this would be like creating a space for activities such as hackathons, webinars or karaoke and Pictionary.

In a recent survey asking staff how they felt establishing the office as a collaborative workspace had an impact on mental health, 96% of respondents said he had greatly improved. Leaders have a responsibility to ensure that their staff can perform at their best and be happy and motivated at work. There has never been a more vital time in modern history to implement positive workplaces where people really want to be there.

Today we have the opportunity to reframe the workplace, reframe how we build trust in our people, and consider how we can make our people feel like they belong.

By providing the right tools and structures, as well as innovative and fun collaboration and communication spaces, hybrid working doesn’t have to be a barrier – it can help teams and businesses thrive.


Written by Craig Brown.

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