Adaptability. That’s the number one skill employees had to build when the world turned upside down more than three years ago.
Companies shifted their focus to making traditional work function remotely. This meant employees had to revisit and refresh their communication, accountability, and time management skills.
Moving forward, many companies are choosing more flexible work models. And employees and employers are facing a new challenge: what hybrid workplace skills matter in this versatile environment?
Are skills for hybrid work models really that different?
Skills like good communication or agility have always been important at work. So what’s different now?
The difference is that if your workforce is a mix of in-person and remote work, you need to build these skills in a way that supports both.
A hybrid workplace functions differently from a traditional workplace. For example:
- In a traditional workplace, water-cooler chats and face-to-face meetings allow nuanced communication and spontaneous collaboration. In a hybrid workplace, the casual exchange of ideas often happens in a virtual brainstorming session or a well-timed Slack message.
- In the past, the 9-to-5 routine provided a clear structure. But now, employees must balance synchronous and asynchronous work modes. They may need to adapt to different time zones and tackle more tasks independently.
- In a traditional setting, supervisors could gauge progress by observing daily activities. Now, some work might be happening behind the scenes. Setting clear expectations and meeting objectives becomes more challenging.
The good news is that navigating the hybrid workplace is not about scrapping the skills that served us well in the past. It’s about fine-tuning them for a new stage.
7 essential hybrid workplace skills
To help your teams transition smoothly to hybrid work, focus on boosting the most critical employee skills.
As you start to plan your strategy, consider these top skills for hybrid work:
Tech proficiency in a hybrid workplace is a top priority. In a remote environment, employees have to use tools like video conferencing platforms and messaging apps. And tech-savvy skills are primarily focused on personal work setups.
In the hybrid workplace, employees still use specialized tools to keep in touch and keep productivity humming along. But they need to expand their knowledge to apply to a mix of virtual and in-person connections.
For example, troubleshooting connectivity issues for remote teammates. Or connecting devices like cameras and microphones when hosting a presentation both for onsite and remote workers.
Employees need self-discipline for hybrid work success. Remote workers have to maintain a structured routine on their own. In a traditional office, external cues guide the workday.
Self-discipline for hybrid work success means people need to be able to navigate both. They need to maintain individual discipline in the solitude of remote work. But also be able to stay focused amid the potential distractions of a communal workspace.
To transition between the two, they’ll need hybrid skills like:
- Time management
- Project management
3. Virtual collaboration
Working well as a team has a big impact on productivity. In a remote setting, all collaboration happens virtually. In a traditional office, it’s an occasional supplement.
Success in a hybrid model hinges on employees’ ability to contribute equally, no matter their physical location.
Help employees brush up on vital hybrid job skills like communicating through digital channels, participating in virtual meetings, and using collaboration tools.
Both on-site and remote workers can adopt a set of employee skills fit for their environment. However, the hybrid workplace is all about fluidity.
Employees move between situations like virtual meetings and in-person brainstorming. They need to create boundaries between work and home life in their remote office. But they also need to know how to keep their focus in a bustling office filled with coworkers and distractions.
Help your people succeed by building a culture of adaptability that makes it easy to be open to changes and new ways of doing things.
In a fully remote setup, people rely on written communication. In a traditional office, people have face-to-face interactions and social cues to help clear up any ambiguity.
Communication styles in hybrid teams will change depending on the circumstance.
People need to recognize when and how to share their ideas through succinct, clear written communication. Or to handle two-way in-person conversations by sharing their thoughts and employing active listening to make sure others are heard.
Employees need hybrid skills for prioritizing well-being at work. In remote work, well-being might be challenged by the absence of social interactions. Or the lack of defined boundaries between work and home life. Conversely, in a traditional office, the constant buzz could lead to burnout.
The hybrid model means employees are combating isolation and screen fatigue. But also navigating the potential stressors of the office environment.
They’ll need skills like stress management, mindfulness, and an understanding of physical and mental health issues to keep a sense of health and happiness.
7. Adaptive leadership
In the hybrid workplace, leaders must foster a culture of trust. They should help teams navigate diverse work settings and provide guidance without micromanaging.
In both remote or onsite leadership roles, the focus is on managing a consistent environment. Hybrid leadership involves adapting styles to suit the needs of a dispersed team.
Your managers and supervisors will need to know how to be inclusive of all their employees, avoiding proximity bias. They’ll need the skills to inspire, communicate effectively, and cultivate a sense of belonging across the board.
Nurturing hybrid workplace skills
Clearly, embracing the potential of a hybrid workplace isn’t just a personal journey for employees. Employers also need to acknowledge the evolving landscape. And support their workforce in growing hybrid job skills.
Here are a few tips for setting your employees up for success:
Empower employees through skill development
Provide regular training sessions on the vital hybrid skills that will help people do their jobs with confidence. Offer courses on the latest collaboration tools, virtual communication etiquette, and tech advancements. Training for a hybrid workplace might include webinars, workshops, or mentorship programs.
Set clear guidelines and expectations
Cut confusion and ambiguity by helping employees understand their roles and responsibilities. Define policies about work hours, communication protocols, and project deadlines. Communicate them regularly to create a sense of purpose and direction.
Provide technology infrastructure and support
Invest in reliable communication tools, cybersecurity measures, and IT support to ensure your tech helps build seamless collaboration.
Encourage work-life balance
A healthy work-life balance means more engaged and happy employees. Acknowledge the importance of employee well-being with initiatives like flexible scheduling, mental health resources, and wellness programs.
Adaptability is an ongoing skill
Whether you’ve gone completely hybrid or your company work model is still evolving, adaptability remains key to success. For both you and your employees.
For employees, it means being open to new ways of working, learning, and communicating. For employers, it’s about creating an environment that supports and nurtures these changes.
Adaptability isn’t a one-time task. It’s an ongoing journey. By staying flexible and open-minded, you can meet the twists and turns of the hybrid workplace to make it a success for everyone–no matter where they work from.