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Constructing Hybrid Communication Streams that Work

hybrid era communication

Hybrid workplaces have come with a host of benefits, but these new methods of organization have also led to new challenges. One of the most prevalent issues faced by evolving hybrid companies is the opening of many new avenues of frequent communication. When a hybrid worker has to sort through videoconferencing, email, slack, and in-person meetings, it can easily become overwhelming. Doubly so if different information streams are delivering inconsistent information! 

In-person meetings are a great way to deliver important information and boost social cohesion in the workplace, but if teams or workers that closely collaborate are in the office on different days – such as your Sales and Marketing team both choosing to come in on a different day of the week – then employees will likely experience the situation of having to fire up multiple videoconferencing meetings despite being physically available in the office.

This opens up additional unnecessary communication streams that can contribute to overwhelming an employee. Additionally, if flexibility is a key aspect of your hybrid model, you may begin to unintentionally develop a culture of workplace proximity bias, with employees who frequently come in and hold face-to-face conversations being prioritized in the flow of information and favor. These problems should not be taken lightly, because poor communication and preferential bias can easily cause inefficiency to snowball within the organization.

Hybrid Communication Solutions

So how can communication be effectively managed in a hybrid environment? The absolute most important thing to do in the evolving hybrid workplace is to act with intentionality. Pay attention to not just what employees are communicating, but also how they are communicating; especially if teams or individuals are closely collaborating, it’s vital to take the initiative and organize scheduling efforts so that closely affiliated co-workers are in the office at the same time, cutting down on the number of open communication channels. 

This is also an area where Human Resources can really step in and be a big help. HR check-ins are important for taking the pulse of employees in general, but in the hybrid era they can also be used to organize collaboration between employees and coordinate what channels of communication those employees are using, helping to put a diverse workplace on the same page. This is something that sounds complicated, but in reality is as simple as asking employees what forms of communication they prefer and using that information to ensure workers are collaborating in ways that are effective for all parties. If one employee prefers acting on emails and another prefers in-person discussion, HR might serve both to remind others to communicate over e-mail when sending information digitally while encouraging relevant teams to come into the office for in-person collaboration on one specific day.

Flexibility Vs. Communicative Efficiency

One of, if not the most serious problem facing hybrid communication structures is the seemingly direct conflict of allowing employees flexible work-from-home schedules against the need to have employees in the office on the same days to cut down the number of open streams of communication. While it’s certainly more of a challenge to get relevant employees to come in at the same time when they have full control over their own schedules, it’s far from impossible.

A fantastic way to encourage employees to come in on certain dates is through hosting in-person events, either for the entire organization or just for the departments you want coming in. These can be anything from hiring an entertainer to give a live show to just a simple slated hour with beer and pizza at the end of the work day. What matters is that these special events are clearly communicated to the relevant employees as an incentive to come into the office on the days you want them in. Plus, unique events like these are a fantastic and often inexpensive way of boosting morale! It’s easy to give workers a fun incentive to build their schedule around. You’ll be able to retain a high level of individual employee flexibility while making sure collaborators are in the office at the same time.

While communication management has certainly become more challenging in the hybrid era, the new difficulties it poses are far from insurmountable. And even the challenges it does provide are significantly outweighed by the benefits, in flexibility and work-life balance among others. Through intentional action and providing incentives that direct employees into the office intelligently, you can cut down on the ballooning amount of communication channels available to employees and, in doing so, curb sensations of being overwhelmed before they even start. An easier way to provide employee stress solutions is through helping their financial security – an ask that PerkSpot can help with, if you’re interested in scheduling a demo to hear how we can save employees money and help promote positive internal culture.

Top Employee Priorities to Watch Out For In 2023

2023

Employee priorities have never been shifting faster than today, in the age of the Great Resignation and “quiet quitting”. Millennials and Gen-Z are starting to make their voices heard in the workplace in a major way, and failing to understand or compensate for changing employee values means losing out on essential talent! So, what trends characterize the changing workplace, and what are the main employee priorities shaping up to define 2023? Some requests are as simple as a shift in focus, such as…

1. A Renewed Focus on Mental Wellness

It’s no secret that Gen Z workers face greater mental health challenges than ever seen before, with the two year pandemic lockdowns having taken a disproportionate effect on their mental health. Millennials aren’t far behind, meaning younger workers in general are looking for workplaces that take mental health seriously, and are willing to have the hard conversations necessary to provide adequate support for anxiety, imposter syndrome, and any number of other wellness issues. 

2. Growing Enthusiasm for the Four-Day Workweek

Studies around the four-day workweek have ramped up in the wake of Covid-19, and the results to date have been overwhelmingly positive. Not only have many of these initial tests shown greater overall productivity for businesses, the four-day workweek is also a hugely desired perk that is quickly growing in popularity, especially among younger workers. The concept of the four-day workweek is a rapidly growing employee priority that you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on in 2023.

3. Increased Flexibility around Hiring and Work Expectations

This trend is especially relevant for ‘front-line’ workers who have been denied much of the post-pandemic flexibility that’s been afforded to office workers, but increasing flexibility both for employees and as an organization will continue to be a major trend, and a factor that many workers are specifically pining for. Modern workers have made it clear that they’re interested in having control over their own schedules. This should extend to organizations seeking the agility to function at maximum efficiency while allowing employees the ability to maintain work/life balance through managing their own schedules.

4. Investing in Personal Relationships and Addressing Employee Burnout

 Burnout continues to rise, and combined with mental wellness struggles in the digital era, managing it effectively will likely prove to be a key employee consideration going into 2023. More than anything, it’s become clear that burnout management requires a personal touch. Employees are looking for co-workers and managers that they can be comfortable and honest with, and trust that their emotional difficulties won’t result in citations or scoldings for reduced performance. Learning to approach stress and burnout with a gentle hand will become a key differentiator between high-turnover organizations and those that retain talent for years to come.

5. The Growing Power of AI and Automation

Automation and Artificial Intelligence continue to rise in relevance and practical use, with industrial robots seeing deployment from the factory line to the self-checkout aisle. Machine learning models and other innovative AI technology has recently proved its potential to disrupt even skilled labor fields such as coding and graphic design. While these tools are powerful, it’s up to organizations to deploy them in responsible ways, and that responsible deployment is likely to be an increasingly prominent employee priority moving into 2023; workers will be paying attention to irresponsible rollouts of automation that eliminate positions without recompense, and be expecting their employers to use these new technologies in ways that streamline their work instead of making it more difficult.

While priorities will vary from employee to employee, these key points will rank among the top concerns of global workers as we move into 2023. From mental wellness to robotic takeover, 2023 promises to be both an interesting and surprisingly optimistic year – presuming that organizations can tackle the chaotic landscape of the modern hiring market, assuage an exhausted workforce, and deploy new tools and technologies responsibly! 

Check out PerkSpot’s Blog for more modern workplace trends, or schedule a demo if you’d like to hear more about how PerkSpot can help save your employees money and drive positive culture in your organization!