Successfully navigating the hybrid work mode
Based on my experience of building relationships with colleagues and working effectively, I believed that daily face-to-face interaction was essential. However, when I had the opportunity to try out the hybrid working in a new company, I realized that it had certain benefits. Switching to occasional remote working required some adjustment and adherence to some ground rules.
I have always enjoyed my work, creating something new and at the same time socializing with colleagues. Personal contact has always seemed crucial to me because it fosters genuine and, above all, long-term relationships. After more than ten years of working in an office, I joined a company where hybrid work was not a taboo. I admit that at first, I was a little worried that working remotely from time to time would jeopardize my habits, my values, and work-related efforts. I soon discovered that this belief was a mistake.
Today, you could almost call me an advocate of hybrid work. Interpersonal relationships have not deteriorated – we still laugh together, brainstorm new ideas, and collaborate. At the same time, the importance of freedom in our work has taken on a whole new dimension. Fifteen minutes of yoga before a meeting, slippers, and a short walk with my dog to catch my breath between workshops are just some of the benefits I could not have imagined a few months ago.
As with any change in life, I had to familiarize myself with some rules and follow recommendations when adapting to remote work to ensure that my core values around interpersonal relationships were not lost. Of course, we are all different, and the importance of these relationships varies, but I believe that everyone needs a certain level of connection, acceptance, and belonging. How much of that feeling is jeopardized if we do not see each other daily or at least once a week? How can we maintain good interpersonal relationships, even if we only meet our colleagues in person once a month?
Here are some tips that have helped me adapt to hybrid working:
1. Frequent and effective communication
Share information with colleagues regularly. There are many tools that are constantly being improved for successful remote working and hybrid teams (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Zoom). Clear and concise communication of assigned tasks and goals undoubtedly helps us understand what our colleagues expect from us and what we expect from them.
2. (Virtual) socializing with colleagues
When working remotely, we cannot meet and chat with our colleagues in person, so we should not neglect occasional but regular gatherings. These can include virtual coffee breaks, team lunches, or social events outside of working hours.
3. Mutual respect and recognition
In a hybrid work mode, it is even more important that colleagues consciously show that they have recognized the contributions of other team members. This can be as simple as sending a thank you message, praise, or directly acknowledging efforts in team meetings.
Use online tools to organize work and ensure that all colleagues you are working with on a project or task are informed of any changes. This helps everyone stay on the right (and same) track and successfully achieve the set goals.
Check your emails and other communication channels regularly and respond to messages promptly. Even if that means replying that you are busy at the moment and will deal with the request a little later. This way, colleagues know that they can rely on you.
As I mentioned in the introduction, I was perhaps a little too sceptical about hybrid working in the past. I was worried that it would affect work efficiency and relationships. However, from my experiences, I can conclude that if I organize myself properly, productivity does not suffer and relationships remain genuine, although with a little more effort. Once again, I have realized and understood that any change can be scary at first, until we face it, get to know it and eventually master it. Looking back, I dare to say that there are many benefits to working in a hybrid mode; we just have to learn to deal with the unknown.
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