In Hybrid Work Environments, Planning Must Be A Priority
Michael Cosgrove, CPA, MST
7 April 2022
If there is anything the pandemic has taught us, it is that the work environment has changed. The ideals and some of the core principles remain the same, but the means of how we work, and the overall workflow have changed significantly.
In the current work environment, it is more critical than ever to start each day with a plan. With hybrid work schedules, it is less likely that you will randomly bump into someone and spark up a conversation, so we all need to be intentional in what we do – day in and day out. We absolutely must start each day with a plan of attack and putting a plan together at the end of each day will make a world of difference the following day. The time you put in crafting a plan will ensure that you can start the next day being as efficient and productive as possible.
When scheduling, we should be intentional and structure the day that fits into your schedules as best as you can. For example, if your peak working time occurs in the morning, then you should schedule your day with those hours blocked off for what requires the most brain power. If you have lower-level tasks that still need to get done, then those should be put off until the afternoon, or vice versa depending on what works best with how you work.
It is also important to note that when managing people, we need to be intentional. Again, you’re less likely to bump into someone, so you should schedule a check-in and discuss not “just the work” but also what is motivating them. Unleashing someone’s motivation, leads to extraordinary results. People continue to work for people who listen to them and care about them. As managers, we must find new ways to communicate with the team and ensure not only that they’re producing quality work, but also that they are engaged. While bumping into someone in the office is less likely, there are more ways to communicate and reach out to the team. There are various electronic means to quickly send someone a note letting them know you’re thinking about them or that you appreciate the work they have just completed for you.
Although creating an initial plan for the day is critical, so is the ability to be flexible. Pivoting is a required skill-set for any professional. Some days simply will not go as planned and you need to be able to pivot in order to get those other assignments completed on a timely basis. If you had the ability to plan out a year’s worth of work, then it would be easy, but that’s simply just not feasible, so you need to be able to adjust your schedule and continue to produce. Flexibility isn’t just a term for the current work environment, it’s an ability that all good leaders must possess themselves and cultivate in others.
Leaders are also trying to find new ways to re-purpose workspaces. More and more spaces are being converted into smaller, working group locations. This is great for collaboration and smaller meetings. In addition, some of these smaller workspaces are great for ongoing learning and small team building exercises. The remote team building exercises will continue to be critical, but smaller exercises for those who are in the office on certain days will continue to play a pivotal role in retaining key team members.
There are so many changing dynamics in today’s work environment and while they’re not all captured here, the critical factors have been addressed above. There will continue to be movement in this area as more businesses continue to reevaluate their needs.