As organizations make decisions about how to shift with work-from-home rules being lifted, there are many considerations. The considerations that I am speaking of here are about people. Yes, there are office leases, parking, time for commuting and more; and there’s the impact on people. Knowing that many have found it productive to work from home, given the choice, they may remain working from home.
Some companies have made the decision to be 100% virtual going forward. Some are already working in hybrid mode. Others need to be in real space together.
Where there are hybrid working scenarios, the topic of equity comes to mind. When some people are working together in person and others are working remotely and virtually, there can be a proximity bias with input requests, opportunities and recognition disproportionately going to people who are physically close to decision-makers who are also in the office. There will also be a dynamic where the decision-makers themselves are removed and interact virtually.
Here are some tips for managing potential equity challenges, and these will continue to evolve over time:
- Be aware of this tendency of proximity bias
- Be transparent and communicate about proximity bias
- Collaboratively brainstorm ways of minimizing it – with all participants attending via webinar. Together, choose options that are viable and preferable.
- Act on the chosen ideas, observe the impact, refine, and repeat
- Some ideas could be:
- Have clear expectations about what good work looks like
- Have the same amount of formal and ad hoc conversations with people
- Ensure meetings include both how people are doing and feeling
- Ensure meetings have icebreaker and/or team building elements
- Have a rotation system for new opportunities and ways of fairly offering them
- Model the vulnerability and openness you would like from others
- Find ways of remembering to recognize all team members and be transparent about it
- Have virtual ways of providing recognition
- Have a peer recognition program
- What else can you think of?
- Remember that leaders model the way. As a leader, your behaviours are noticed and send a message about what you truly value.
These ideas form just the tip of the iceberg. When people make the effort to collaboratively come up with solutions, more ideas are generated, and more people are engaged in the related actions and contributing to the desired outcomes.
To learn more about how others are approaching this. Here are some relevant articles:
If you would like to explore how coaching can support you to create equity in and adapt to a longer-term hybrid workplace, book an exploration call with me.
Yours in innovative solutions,
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