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Governmental agencies have been forced to reconsider the role of hybrid work since the inception of the pandemic three years ago. Long-held views on an office environment with in-person, synchronous work were suddenly thrown into question. As months of remote work ticked on, personnel leaders realized that flexibility was not a phase but a new norm.
Governments around the world have approached hybrid work differently. Some governments were swift to adopt remote work and have long since optimized this model for their workforce. Other governments are still finding their stride in developing hybrid protocols and expectations.
Regardless of where a government is in converting to a hybrid system, there are two key considerations for clarifying and solidifying hybrid work for governments.
1. Hybrid Is What Workers Want
Governmental agencies would do well to face the fact that employees by and large want remote work. Employees cite workplace flexibility as a major reason for accepting a job and remaining at one.
The public sector is largely on board with hybrid work, and governmental bodies not keeping pace with worker preferences are at risk of losing workers and not appealing to new talent. This is particularly the case with younger workers, who, for example, are leaving US federal jobs at higher rates than other age groups. Additionally, high turnover rates are a serious disruption to the remaining workforce who are forced to pick up the slack and train new hires.
A key point here is that employees want to feel compensated for coming into the office, whether it is five days a week or one. They have rearranged their lives to accommodate remote work and would have to rearrange their lives again to return to the office.
Besides the general stress of reordering their daily living, commuting and childcare costs are considerable for many workers. Other workers may have health concerns for themselves or family members by coming into the office. All taken together, the ease of returning to in-person work is not as simple and straightforward as it may seem and can be a major liability for government bodies trying to attract and retain staff.
2. Modernized Workload Management
Technology and its adoption by users is part and parcel to optimizing hybrid work for governments. Virtual meeting spaces, chat rooms, information-sharing capabilities and other digital tools are absolutely necessary for hybrid work. Even a seemingly small thing like shared calendars can be a game-changer for collaboration in creating transparency around who will be in the office and when. Hitting output expectations on team and individual levels also significantly hinges on technology and its incorporation into a workflow. In other words, the technology has to fit the hybrid setting and workers must know how to use it to the fullest.
Selecting the right digital tools and methodologies for workload management, and training your team up on these competencies, is at the core of maximizing hybrid work for governments. This piece solves a multitude of potential problems connected to hybrid work.
A team becomes more synergistic and therefore productive with the right tools. In turn, trust between staff and their supervisors increases. Trust is an operative word here.
Some governments are struggling to have faith in their hybrid employees and are using various worker tracking mechanisms, such as following IP addresses. Unsurprisingly, this lack of autonomy and trust can hurt employee morale. Instead, increasing and measuring outputs via improved technologies and skills, rather than counting the minutes a person is logged in, is a better assessment of productivity and one that does not erode employee confidence.
Training Partners to Make the Most of Hybrid
This shift towards hybrid work for governments forces a mindset change on what a workplace is and what it looks like. The most successful government entities have leaders at the helm who, rather than resist the changing tide, are riding it. They are accommodating worker expectations for flexible work and modernizing their infrastructure to set employees up for success.
Choosing secure collaborative platforms for a government team is challenging enough, but ensuring they are fully skilled up to optimize their usage is another matter. There is learning something in theory, and then there is incorporating knowledge and skills for lasting behavioural change. This is what Priority Management does. And we have been doing it for forty years around the globe.
At the core of all Priority Management training is ongoing positive behavioural improvements. We work with our clients before and after a training event to ensure that concepts translate into measurable real-world outcomes. Reach out to us today to find out how we can increase the productivity and morale of your governmental team working in a hybrid world.