Very few organisations and employees in South Africa were prepared to convert to blended workforces so suddenly. But as the lockdown was systematically lifted, a lot of companies that went back to their old traditional office spaces are now weighing up the benefits of having lasting remote or blended workforces.
Most company leaders were pleasantly surprised at the independency of employees and increased productivity. They saw the potential cost savings in huge overheads like office space rental and most employees loved the flexibility and reduced travel time. Suddenly blended workforces looked much more appealing to both the company and the employee.
However, this brings a whole new set of employee management challenges, but with the right skills training and management guidance it can be done. Here are a few key aspects to consider:
- Make double sure this is mutually beneficial to both the employees and the company. If, for whatever reason, the blended workforce approach does not work, are both parties open enough to adapt to changing back again? Weigh the positives up against the negatives and make a well informed decision.
- Determine your employees’ skills level regarding their soft skills as well as their technology skills. Then, upskill and develop your employees’ skills continuously to equip employees to deal with the new way of working. The Mindspa Institute is specifically geared to train your employees in any soft skill they would need to develop. Courses are offered as a blended approach.
- Communicate your blended workforce approach clearly with employees. Explain to them the rules and consequences of the new way of working. Set clear objectives to employees and make sure there is always an open communication channel where employees can communicate with the company for whatever reason.
- Align your company strategies with your management teams. Now more than ever, more emphasis is needed to align all the critical areas of the company with all the remote teams.
- Make a performance mind-shift from input to output performance levels. Remember now that the employee has a certain level of flexibility, irregular working hours are also at play. Rather manage the employees’ key performance areas than the amount of time they are logged into the network.
- A solid and dedicated leadership approach is needed, especially in Human Resources as they play a vital part in the success of having a blended workforce. Managing virtual teams and workforces require leaders to develop new skills sets. On the negative side there will be employees that might need reprimanding or there might be cases where disciplinary hearings etc. are necessary. HR needs the skills to conduct and manage these processes off site.
Considering all the above, the fact that people still would want to connect in real life will not disappear soon. The value of brainstorming, meeting, training, learning and socialising as part of company culture, should not be underestimated. Offices will still form part of a ‘get-together’ workspace, but surely will be much different from what we were used to. The main thing management and proactive leaders can do is to remain skilful and never stop learning.