Explainers

The Best of the Return to the Office and the Hybrid Workplace

Leaders evaluating the return to the offices face a lot of unanswered questions—so we’ve put together a list of all our articles on hybrid work

Over the past year, teams have adapted to remote working, learning new skills and tools to stay productive and connected—in fact, they’ve been so successful that productivity increased 5%. But with the pandemic coming under control in the US, leaders now are evaluating the return to the office:

  • What practices should teams retain as they start working in person again?
  • What types of work must happen in person, and how can organizations best manage a distributed workforce with differing schedules?
  • How do you foster a healthy culture and stay true to company values—especially when it comes to integrating new employees?
  • How do empathetic leaders address everything from meeting fatigue to work-life balance in the midst of all this change?

To make the transition easier, we’ve compiled all our advice—as well as our favorites articles from other sources—on effective hybrid and remote workplaces, below.

Better Meetings Online and IRL

A Simple Diagram to Determine, “Should This Be a Meeting?” Reduce workload and bring better work-life balance by evaluating what decisions require meetings and what can be resolved by email.

How to Make Virtual Meetings More Inclusive. To make the most of virtual meetings, make the objectives clear upfront, set the rules of the room, and create opportunities for people to provide input.

The Truth about Agile and Remote Working. While agile was founded on the premise of bringing people together, by implementing some simple meeting processes—and building trust—it’s easy to translate to a virtual environment. In this video from the 2020 Change@Work virtual conference, Collins Lyons, Delivery and Transformation Director at UsTwo, breaks down best meeting practices.

Working Effectively in a Hybrid Workplace

What Work Must Be Done in Person? Leaders should evaluate what types of work must take place in-person, and what can be accomplished remotely. We need to start thinking of the office as just another tool we use to get work done, one that should only be selected when it makes sense given the kind of work required.

Virtual “Storming”: How to Work through Tensions with New Teams. Remote teams face special challenges when working through tensions and difficult conversations. These best practices help move the team through “storming” to “performing.”

Catalyzing Creativity at a Distance. Remote teams often struggle with creativity—but implementing some simple routines and tools can support their best work. In this video from the 2020 Change@Work virtual conference, design leaders from MetaLab shared some of their best practices for keeping creativity going.

Selecting the Right Tools to Support Distributed Teams. As organizations transition from in-person to a distributed workforce, they often get stuck when it comes to finding the best digital tools, not to mention onboarding employees onto new tools. Discover some of their best practices on selecting tools for your team.

The Employee Experience

How to Establish Working Relationships as a New Leader in a Remote Team. If you’re new to an organization, the tone you set early on with your team can make a huge difference in whether you’re ultimately successful as a leader. We share best practices for getting to know individuals in a virtual environment.

Hiring and Onboarding a 100% Remote Team. In this conversation from the Change@Work virtual conference, Parabol CEO Jordan Husney shares best practices acquired from years of personal experience leading a remote team.

How Onboarding Rituals Reinforce Company Values. With more teams working remotely, new employees need simple rituals to help them embrace company values and integrate into the culture.

What Bosses Really Think of Remote Workers. “People who work from home get fewer raises and promotions. But there might be a way to avoid the remote-work penalty.”

Creating a Positive Offboarding Experience for a Remote Workplace. With up to a “quarter of workers plan to quit their jobs outright once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and recruiting efforts ramp up,” updating your offboarding process for remote employees will protect your employer brand.

How to Layoff an Employee Gracefully: Special Considerations for Remote Teams. NOBL CEO Lucy Blair Chung joins CareerArc’s President of Career Transition Services in a conversation about adapting the principles of humane layoffs to remote environments.

Fostering a Healthy Hybrid Culture

Adapting to the Hybrid Workplace after a Year of Change. Rather than going back to the old routine, organizations are about to go through another set of big changes as teams adapt to the hybrid workplace. Managers must establish policies and frameworks that allow people to do their best work, regardless of where they are.

How to Maintain Company Culture in a Virtual Workplace. Being more intentional about how you tend and maintain your culture virtually will help your business stay healthy while optimizing your organization for when (or if) people do start coming back to the office.

How to Foster Psychological Safety in Remote Teams. A significant amount of best practices for psychological safety rely on in-person cues like eye contact or body language. We analyzed some of the best-known distributed teams and found several principles that increase your odds of success.

Work-Life Balance Requires Balancing Responsibility. Instead of repeating the same self-help platitudes that leave work-life balance to the individual, it’s time to re-balance the conversation itself to include the responsibilities of the employer and its leaders.

How to Navigate the Postpandemic Office. “Many companies see the appeal of combining office life with work-from-home flexibility. How to strike the right balance can be less clear.”

You can also view our list of books on hybrid work and the return the office on Bookshop. (Note: We may receive a percentage of any purchases.)

If your organization is re-thinking its approach to hybrid work, we can help—get in touch today.

Published May 17, 2021

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