You have likely seen and heard a lot about the hybrid workforce that is destined to be part of the new World of Work for the foreseeable future. As we get closer to a vaccine and the end of the pandemic, it’s unlikely that you will go back entirely to the old way of doing things. So, what should you be doing to facilitate the safe transition to a hybrid workforce in your DSO? Although the prospect offers many advantages, it also comes with complications and difficulties that you should be preparing for now.
“Not all employees succeed as remote workers, while others will thrive in a remote workspace,” states Carl Guthrie, Talent Advisor at ETS Dental. “Employers must recognize where their employees succeed or struggle, then adjust accordingly. A hybrid workforce plan is going to be a huge factor as DSO operation teams continue to grow.”
ETS Dental offers the following advice on navigating the transition with the least amount of disruption:
Start with your leadership team. Will they work from the office, remotely, or both? Top organizational leadership will need to be present and visible to their teams. Plan and communicate throughout the organization where leaders can be found or how to effectively communicate with them.
Reevaluate your team structure. Of course, your clinical teams members will need to be in the office, serving patients on a daily basis. Many DSOs have had remote work forces for years. If your organization has centralized operations, it is vital that you look at your team structure and how it will operate in the future. Who works best where? How will you maintain accountability? How will teams communicate and continue to succeed while physically separated? What will happen if you are your employees change their minds in how they want to work?
Confirm your communication platforms. The pandemic has already forced most companies to beef up digital communication and enhance their collaboration tools. Going to a hybrid workforce means that technology will continue to evolve to meet employee and employer needs. Determine how your communication frameworks need to change to reflect your new team structures and to ensure employees don’t fall out of the loop or burn out from the pressure of being “always on.”
Your IT folks will also need an infrastructure that enables them to manage a remote workforce. This can include increasing cloud storage for more remote storage, enhancing security solutions to manage cyber threats, and implementing remote IT solutions to troubleshoot employee tech issues remotely.
Monitor your allocation of tasks. If your hybrid workforce is going to remain productive long-term, you must ensure that tasks are spread evenly and fairly across both in-office and remote teams. We tend to approach those we see in front of us to assign tasks. Now we must reference a list of employees and evaluate who is doing what. You will want to create or adopt a project/task management system.
Be wary of favoritism. Not only can a hybrid workforce lead to imbalance workloads, it can also lend itself to favoritism. We like to reward our teams with fun activities, lunches, etc. You’ll need to adapt using video conferencing and other tools to continue including your entire team, not just those working in the office. Use interactive activities that will encourage participating and help everyone to bond. You must create a culture of inclusion for everyone.
The pandemic has abruptly thrust many companies into this hybrid situation, and while some have seen this time as a growth opportunity, others are floundering. Those companies that can adapt to the current circumstances with resiliency and flexibility are most likely to outstrip their competition in our new World of Work.