The hybrid working environment is a new way of operating and leading.  A large amount of focus has been placed on building healthy hybrid working environments that support staff and empower them to be productive.  The managers responsible for designing and implementing these solutions, structures and systems for staff are struggling.  What is being done to assist managers?

Three factors that make managing in a hybrid environment challenging:

  • Lack of support and thinking through challenges and issues with other managers.
  • Lack of capacity to provide the more intensive and individualized management that the hybrid working environment requires; and
  • A feeling of lack of control.

Business can support managers by providing increased manager support structures, but managers need to find ways to support themselves as well.  RainTree recommends the following:

Manager Connects

For years, CEO’s have experienced the benefits of connecting with other CEO’s.  They have intentionally connected to share, solve and create through collaboration. 

Managing in a hybrid environment demands that managers find other managers they respect and admire to connect with to face these untravelled challenges together.  They need to build relationships where they collaboratively explore ideas and solutions to the challenges they are facing. 

All managers are equal in this challenge.  As with all new ventures, it needs innovation, creativity and a range of ideas and perspectives to successfully build the new-normal. 

If each manager had 4 connect sessions a month (one per week) with different managers, some online, some groups and some individual, how many problems could be discussed, explored and resolved?

Healthy Boundaries:  

I asked a young employee the other day, what is important to her. Of the three things she mentioned, “mental health from a healthy working environment” jumped out at me.  Young employees are driving that balanced and respectful workplaces are evolving. 

For many managers, balance and a healthy working environment vanish under the pressure of responsibility for staff and performance.  Managers will often place their staff and the business before themselves.  When this happens, boundaries dissolve. 

Managers need to step back from the heavy responsibilities and consider, for a moment, how could I do what is expected of me AND maintain my health.  This leads to healthy boundaries around work deadlines, staff delivery and expectation management. 

If managers had 30minutes a day to plan, consider and implement boundaries, how much healthier would they be and how much better would the business be run?

Effective systems to measure and manage outputs:

Performance has traditionally been managed through physical observation, correction and control of delivery. 

The ability to observe, correct and control feels like it has been taken away in a hybrid work model. 

The inability to observe staff and feel in control is placing massive pressure on managers.  When managers can recognise this pressure, they can look at the problem from a different perspective. 

  • What do I need to be measuring for me to feel more in control?
    • How can I measure that?
    • What feedback and communication cycle can I put in place so my staff can contribute to the insights gained from measuring their outputs?

When managers find new ways to be able to measure and track outputs, the feeling of being out of control diminishes. This allows managers and teams to focus on delivery of outputs and quality.  Good structures and systems also provide managers with very tangible measurement and evidence to address non-delivery. 

Managing in the hybrid environment is new.  We believe we have a way to go before it truly becomes “normal”.  The managers who are responsible for the performance need to take a step back, look at the key stressors causing them difficulty and prioritise building systems and structures that support them to be able to achieve excellence in the new hybrid world.

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