Monday, June 5, 2023

How to Navigate a Work Culture That Is a Hybrid

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In 1988, an article that was published in the New York Times introduced a brand new phrase that year: “mommy track.” It brought to light a new two-tiered structure inside the judicial system, with women who had children being placed at the lower tier. Yes, law firms did provide women flexible working hours, child care, maternity leave, and other such benefits; nevertheless, as a direct result of these benefits, women are viewed as “less serious” than their male colleagues because they have to prioritise their families.

Today has not brought forth any significant changes. When compared to males, women continue to have a greater propensity to select hybrid or remote working arrangements. In particular, the pandemic was a game-changer since it caused more women to give up their full-time employment because of unequal responsibilities for childcare and a lack of assistance. A survey conducted by 2021 LinkedIn found that women are 26% more inclined than males to apply for jobs that allow them to work remotely. Women continued to recognise the benefits of working from home even after the world and the workforce struggled to return to normal. According to an article published in Forbes, this has given rise to fresh concerns that women who work from home could become’second-class employees’ regardless of work-life balance and gender inclusion policies. The next part of the article stated that women who choose to work in flexible or remote environments run the risk of being overlooked for promotions and important leadership jobs. What preventative measures can we take to ensure that this occurrence does not take place?

Eliminate Proximity Bias

There is an old saying that goes, “Out of sight, out of mind,” and in a hybrid culture of work, this could very well be the case. “Proximity bias” is a jargon that is all too typical in businesses where some workers work from home and others go to the office. These types of workplaces are becoming more and more common. Sadhna Sharma, an HR executive with a construction company based in Dubai, argues that “proximity bias” is a new phrase that refers to favouritism shown to employees who are able to come to work, as opposed to those who work remotely.

“Proximity bias” refers to favouritism shown to employees who are able to come to work, as opposed to those who work remotely. “The fact that top management can interact face-to-face and personally with these employees has a lot to do with the phenomenon known as proximity bias.”Because we are able to observe what these individuals are doing when they are on the clock, we have a propensity to believe that they put in more effort than employees who are located offsite.

In my opinion, the most important step in overcoming this prejudice is to develop systems that are trustworthy and transparent. If you decide to provide your employees with the opportunity to perform their jobs from the comfort of their own homes, you must accept the fact that you will no longer be able to closely supervise their every waking moment. Make an effort to ensure that personnel working from a remote location are able to participate remotely in all of the meetings and conferences that affect them. Requesting their presence twice a month can help you develop a personal connection with them.

Maintain a virtual strategy in place with daily video chats, shared documents, and other similar activities. From the perspective of the workers, it is important to keep your coworkers and supervisors informed about your progress. Maintain frequent communication with them and inform them of how you have been spending your time at work. If necessary, keep a daily journal of your activities. Make it a point to talk to your manager at least once or twice a week if at all possible. Check in with a reliable coworker to find out what’s been going on at work, whether there are any new advancement opportunities, and what goes on in the workplace. Always make sure to ask for comments. It is preferable to deal with difficulties when they are in their early stages rather than letting them fester and grow into more significant problems because your supervisor wasn’t paying attention to your work.

Find Ways to Get Around the Concerns About Productivity

The results of a study conducted by Microsoft in September 2022 with more than 20,000 employees from around the world found that 85 percent of top leadership stated that hybrid working has made it difficult for them to feel confidence about the level of productivity and devotion to the job exhibited by their employees. According to Sharma, “There are times when the need to see the process and the time spent on work causes us to forget to focus on the outcome.” Keep in mind that the end product is what really matters. Are your workers keeping their word and delivering what they promised? Are the deadlines being met by them? These other considerations are more significant than micromanaging their daily activities at work. Hold them responsible for the outcomes, not the process in and of itself. Don’t rely just on the clues you see.

In point of fact, if you give your staff greater autonomy and make it clear that you value the contributions they make, you can expect them to be more productive. Explain why you have taken longer than expected to complete a project if you are an employee. You should let your manager know about any problems or obstacles. In a similar vein, if you’ve finished submitting anything ahead of schedule, you should elaborate on how you spent those extra hours working overtime to get the project done. Employers typically evaluate candidates based on two metrics: the amount of time it takes to complete the task and the quality of the work produced. “Make sure you don’t give them a reason to complain on both counts!”

Build Social Capital

The significance of your professional network and contacts is referred to as social capital, and it appears that members of Generation Z comprehend it better than any other generation. A survey conducted by Accenture found that seventy-four percent of members of Generation Z want more opportunities to meet face-to-face, in comparison to sixty-six percent of members of Generation X. “In the initial years of one’s career, one needs to actively scout contacts and invest time and effort in cultivating a network both within your company and in your industry,” says Kruti Mishra, who is 25 years old and works for a boutique digital marketing and website management company. “In the initial years of one’s career, one needs to actively scout contacts and invest time and effort in cultivating a network both within your company and in your industry.” Because our firm has opted to adopt a hybrid work culture ever since the epidemic, we need to place an even greater emphasis on developing our social capital.

Not only do I make it a point to plan regular discussions and coffees with my colleagues and managers (even when there is no pressing reason for me to do so!), but I also make it a point to keep in touch with clients and other vital contacts. You never know what kinds of chances will present themselves to you, and you never know who might be helpful to your career development!

The thought of successfully navigating a hybrid workplace while also positioning oneself for success can appear to be a daunting one. However, both female employees and their managers can work towards this aim consciously and methodically to guarantee that remote working does not get in the way of gender equity in the workforce. This can be done to ensure that remote working does not interfere with gender equity in the workforce.

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