By Helen Livesey, Senior Business Director at Hays Payroll Management

An increasing number of ICB practices now employ staff or engage subcontractors. Roughly 25% have office premises. Managing a workforce comes with its challenges even when everyone’s working under one roof, let alone when individuals are working in hybrid patterns – with some back in the office, some working remotely and others splitting their time between the two.   

Looking after hybrid working teams is a unique challenge new to many managers, so here are four tips to guide employers through this new era of work.

1. Revaluate your approach to communication

No two professionals work in the same way and with many adopting new ways of working, managers will need to revaluate their approach to communication. Depending on whether you are also returning to the office, you might find you naturally have closer contact with others working in the office, compared to those who remain working at home. 

I’d recommend setting up a communications plan which involves daily or weekly check-ins and less frequent 121s to discuss career progression and objectives with your team. This helps ensure that you are giving an equal amount of attention to everyone and avoid those working remotely from feeling excluded. Regularly review and adapt this plan as working patterns inevitably shift and change. 

2. Be transparent 

Hybrid working patterns can easily lead to feeling disconnected from your colleagues and the wider business. It is one of your principal responsibilities as a leader to keep your team/s informed about what is happening in your organisation so no-one loses sight of the wider business goals and aims – particularly when we’re working in constantly changing and unsettling times.

Building on my point above about the importance of communication, make sure you regularly share updates on how your organisation is managing the impacts of the pandemic. Knowing this will keep your team united, engaged, and loyal. 

3. Proactively maintain a work-life balance 

Technology has allowed much of the workforce to work remotely for most of this year, but one of the drawbacks for many has been separating their home and work lives. 

As a leader you are there to watch out for your team’s wellbeing, so make sure you take the time to see how your employees are coping with new and different ways of working. If someone you manage is struggling with their time management, suggest how they might want to split their time and what working arrangement could improve their work-life balance.

4. Flexibility will go a long way

Being as flexible as you can with schedules and expectations will also go a long way. You can keep deadlines clear and non-negotiable – but try to be relaxed about your staff adjusting working hours or trying different routines. Most people will be working in a different way to what they’re used to, so be accommodating while your team is getting used to our new normal. 

The pandemic has launched us into new ways of working and managing which can bring up challenges for many. However, by taking on board my tips above, hopefully, you’ll be able to keep up the successful management of your team and help them thrive at work, no matter where they’re based.

Watch out for Bookkeepers Summit sessions on taking on staff and managing teams!