As businesses optimize their operations, many are searching for the right balance between remote and in-person work. A hybrid approach can support employees who crave ongoing flexibility and help organizations as well as their people benefit from the advantages of each environment.
While it will likely take time to identify the right setup for your staff, I invite you to use the Emergenetics® Attributes to fast-track your efforts. Depending on your employees’ preferences, you may find that certain conditions naturally suit their working styles while others may require more energy.
To help your team members succeed in any location, let’s explore some of the bright spots and challenges each Attribute may experience. I’ll also share a few tips to optimize the hybrid workplace for your organization.
Aiming for Efficiency with the Analytical Attribute
By prioritizing individual tasks on remote days and addressing opportunities that are best suited to collaboration when in the office, those with an Analytical preference are likely to appreciate a hybrid environment because of its potential to maximize productivity. And we know that in-person time often creates interruptions and interactions that may not be the most efficient, which may cause some frustration for the Analytical Attribute.
Tip: Share research that demonstrates the value of both settings including the benefits of in-person connection to help the Analytical Attribute adapt more readily.
Scheduling the Structural Attribute
Those with a Structural preference typically appreciate order and consistency. When this Attribute knows what to expect and has a reliable schedule, it tends to be more productive. While a hybrid experience can give individuals greater control over their calendars, which is engaging to Structural thinking, it can be de-stabilizing to navigate between environments if there is not intentionality behind the approach.
Tip: To support the Structural Attribute, find ways to provide consistency in your staff’s schedules like having specific in-office and work-from-home days or establishing off hours to better honor their time.
Promoting Connection for the Social Attribute
Remote operations can challenge team members with a Social preference as they are often most effective when they have opportunities to collaborate with others. For many individuals who prefer Social thinking, returning to a co-located space at least part time is an exciting prospect because the face-to-face interactions allow them to play to their strengths.
Tip: To look after the Social Attribute, be mindful to create connections in virtual spaces – not just in the office – through virtual gatherings and collaboration tools to promote interaction.
Ideating with the Conceptual Attribute
The Conceptual Attribute gets energy by having opportunities to try new things and brainstorm possibilities. In virtual workplaces, innovation can be stifled, which can drain people with a Conceptual preference. Being in the office provides opportunities for serendipitous conversations, idea-sharing while passing in the hallway and other interactions that can’t be scheduled. Plus, it’s a change of scene!
Tip: Make sure that your remote workspaces don’t suffer from a lack of innovation by utilizing channels and systems to promote brainstorming and to ideate.
Processing with First-Third Expressiveness
Remote work can be a double-edged sword for employees in the first-third of Expressiveness. On the one hand, quiet contributors may have the negative experience of being overlooked in virtual meetings. On the other, remote employees tend to rely on email and chat, which allow time for introspection. In contrast, in-person work often requires immediate communication, something that can de-energize people who like to process internally.
Tip: In all meetings, invite everyone to share their opinions, and if possible, do not ask first-third colleagues to go first. Also, consider establishing a group norm that it is okay to ask for more time before contributing.
Sharing Out with Third-Third Expressiveness
For staff members who are third-third Expressive, the individual nature of virtual work can be disengaging as they enjoy having the opportunity to talk through their thoughts. Being back in the office is much more conducive to open discussion, so those who tend toward third-third Expressiveness may feel more productive in person.
Tip: To support third-third teammates when in remote settings, create virtual coworking spaces that they can join and continue to use virtual meetings even when you have in-person time.
Checking in with First-Third Assertiveness
Working from home typically allows for more control over pace, which is appreciated across the Assertiveness spectrum; however, it can have drawbacks. For example, those with a preference for first-third Assertiveness often operate at their best when they can check in with their colleagues on progress being made. Doing so helps ensure everyone that is on the same page and coming along at a similar pace. That may be easier to accomplish in the office.
Tip: No matter what environment your coworkers are in, be proactive in using collaboration systems that help team members stay aligned and connected.
Facilitating Pace for Third-Third Assertiveness
Third-third Assertiveness generally appreciates taking swift action. When working on solitary tasks, people who prefer this Attribute may thrive in any environment because they have autonomy over their pace. When collaborating, they are likely to feel more comfortable in an in-person setting where they can directly advocate for their opinions and preferred speed. When working virtually, these team members may become frustrated when there’s a lag between communications and next steps, which may be perceived as slowing down the project.
Tip: Empower third-third Assertive staff by setting deadlines and communication standards that support timely discussion and decision-making in the hybrid workplace.
Focusing on First-Third Flexibility
First-third Flexibility may thrive remotely because they can home in on their projects without interruption. Remote work has been a haven for this Attribute because individuals can simply shut down their email or chat systems to focus. Meanwhile, the office is typically full of disruptions, which may challenge those in the first-third of Flexibility.
Tip: Identify a few spaces in your building that can be reserved for focused work time to accommodate employees who prefer fewer disruptions.
Leaning into Multitasking for Third-Third Flexibility
People who prefer third-third Flexibility may see the office experience as a gift. After all, employees with this behavior tend to enjoy engaging in multiple projects at once and welcome interruptions. Remote environments can be quite de-energizing for third-third Flexibility due to its potential for isolation.
Tip: In person or at home, find ways for colleagues to connect throughout the day through virtual coworking or creating chat channels designed for check-ins to break up monotony.
There are gifts and opportunities with any workplace setup. No matter what configurations you and your team are operating in you can create an atmosphere that helps everyone to stay engaged and perform at their best by flexing to honor each of your staff member’s preferences.
Interested in discovering more ways to support your employees in a hybrid work environment? Download our latest guide – The Hybrid Teams Handbook for Managers.
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