How to Maximize Engagement in a Hybrid Work Environment: an Employee’s Perspective
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan
The last two years of living (and working) through a global pandemic has brought about many changes to our lives. One being how to maximize engagement while working from home. Another is that many ERP partner and end-user employees and job seekers have taken the opportunity to reevaluate their priorities. This has prompted some to explore other job opportunities inside and out of the Mid-Market ERP industry. Some have switched from being an Accountant with an Infor end-user to being a NetSuite ERP Implementation Consultant or visa-versa.
Many have discovered an interest in learning a new ERP technology like Acumatica, Sage Intacct or Microsoft D365. Additionally, the push for a livable wage has been given even stronger legs. This increased movement is affecting salary demands all the way up the ladder. Many ERP employees have found the ability to work remotely to be of critical importance in terms of their and their families’ well-being.
Vaccines, masks, and social distancing are what launched this massive shift to remote or hybrid work schedules. And those things might possibly be with us for years to come in some capacity. These things are having a direct impact on both personal lives and work environments. Employers want to provide safe work environments. Employees want to work from home. Whatever the compromise between the two ends up being, there is a common challenge for both employers and employees. That challenge is how to maximize engagement in a completely new kind of work environment.
Working remotely or in a hybrid environment has benefits to both you, the employee, and to the company as a whole. According to a study by Global Workplace Analytics, employers can save an estimated $11,000 per year per employee working in a hybrid capacity. In the same study, it was reported that 82% of employees want to work remotely at least once a week when the pandemic is over. Only 8% said they didn’t want to work from home at all. Studies also showed that employees are more productive and happier. So everyone wins. Right? Well, one potential downside of remote work is the challenge of staying engaged with your co-workers and supervisors who might be working on-site. So let’s talk about how you can maximize your own engagement in a hybrid work environment.
We are very fortunate to be living in a time where technology has not only provided us means of continuing to work during a global pandemic, but has actually proven the work can be done more efficiently in many cases. While there is still no substitute for face-to-face human interaction (and we’re still a ways off from the type of holographic technology that will make that more realistic), video conferencing through Zoom, Skype, or Teams has made it much easier for co-workers to stay connected.
Another very useful tool for collaboration is Google Docs and Google Sheets. This shared technology allows multiple users to view and edit the same document simultaneously. This saves time and fosters a spirit of inclusion. If you share a Word or Excel document, you run the risk of losing track of which version is most accurate and up-to-date and where it is stored. Using a shared drive and a shared document, all changes are made to the same document and seen in real time by the entire team.
One of the best pieces of technology for remote workers is task management software. There are many options out there. You can see a list of task management softwares available here. At DyNexus Recruiting, we use Monday.com. Not only is it a helpful tool for you to keep track of assignments and projects, it allows co-workers and managers to see results, assign tasks, give feedback, and collaborate.
There are two types of communication we’re suggesting you utilize to keep yourself engaged with the rest of the team while working remotely. Those are social and professional communication.
Professionally, you want to ask co-workers and management for feedback and collaboration on projects. Sometimes, your work won’t actually need any edits or corrections. But, asking for feedback is a sure way to get them to look at your work and notice your contributions. Likewise, you want to make sure to acknowledge the contributions of others in the workplace. Send a group email praising someone’s report or accomplishment. They are more likely to do the same for you when the time comes.
Socially, it’s important to stay engaged and maximize engagement with your colleagues on a personal level as well. Find a way to connect. How is their sports team doing? What are their holiday plans? Did they catch the latest episode of Squid Game or Cobra Kai? If you haven’t watched Cobra Kai, you’re missing out on a real guilty pleasure. These conversations are often referred to as “water cooler” conversations and are very important when trying to stay engaged from a remote work setting.
Be The Squeaky Wheel
The old proverb says, “The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease”. This is often interpreted as, someone who complains a lot will get what they want just to shut them up. Well, squeaky doesn’t have to be synonymous with complaining. It can simply be speaking up about anything. There’s another proverb that says, “If you try, you may succeed. If you don’t try, you will not succeed”. I like the second one better.
Being engaged in a remote work environment is going to take effort by both you and your employer to be successful. If you feel you are being overlooked for projects, if you’re not getting the feedback you need, you have to speak up. Encourage your workplace to incorporate tools that promote inclusion. Suggest using apps like Zoom or Docs or Monday.com if your company doesn’t already do so. Ask if anyone is interested in a virtual lunch or coffee break. See if your boss will host a virtual happy hour on a Friday afternoon. The point is to be engaged and not forgotten. It’s going to take effort, but the effort is important to maximize engagement in a hybrid work environment.