I discovered a very interesting paradox while having conversations with HR professionals about their experience with a hybrid work model.
In companies, where a majority of employees CHOOSE to return to the office, people who decided to work from home sometimes get treated like second-class citizens, often not intentionally. We might forget to invite them to a meeting, they are not part of the office spontaneous conversations and ideas exchange.
On the other hand, in companies, where most of the employees HAVE to work from the physical locations (retail, manufacturing sector), remote employees are perceived as some sort of “elite group”, which can draw snide comments and a sense of unfairness.
Those situations seem to be the opposites of each other, but the root cause of both is the same – LACK OF TRUST BETWEEN CO-WORKERS.
It’s nobody’s fault, just a human reaction to the facts that:
🔹 many employees joined the company during the lockdowns and never had the chance to meet each other in person and build the foundation for trusting relationships,
🔹 lack of transparency and communication, when members of a hybrid team don’t really know what contribution each team member puts onto the team’s goals.
Can you, as a team leader, do something about it?
Ensure your team members that:
🔸 You believe they are looking for the team’s best interests, whether they work from home or office.
🔸 You believe that your team members are both capable and reliable.
🔸 Openly discuss what contribution each team member makes towards the common goals.
A hybrid work style doesn’t create a lot of spontaneous and organic opportunities to build trust, so leaders need to be more intentional to make it happen.