3 Things To Focus On In A Hybrid Working World
Many companies are embracing hybrid work. Hybrid work can look different for every person and company. A few different types of hybrid work include:
- At Will – This is where an employee does what is best for them. Sometimes they are remote and sometimes they are in the office or in the field.
- Split Work – The split work model is where employees work from home 2-3 days a week and then work at the office the other 2-3 days a week
- Shift – This Hybrid working model has employees working remotely part of the day and then transitioning to the office for the other part of the day.
- Week to Week – In this model, employees work one week remotely and the other week in the office.
While many employees are excited about this new flexible workplace schedule, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your skills are adapting to the change as well.
1. Professional Communication
You may be working remotely and are (still) rolling into your home office in your pajama pants, but you still have to maintain a level of professionalism with your communication. So what does professional communication look like in a hybrid working environment?
- Effective Communication – It is important that you consistently and effectively communicate what is taking place or what you need. In a hybrid world, you don’t necessarily have the ability to walk into your boss’s office, or sit with your co-worker and go over an issue on the spot. So your ability to effectively communicate digitally is going to be paramount to your success.
- Non-Verbal Communication – Are you paying attention to what your non-verbal communication is saying when on video calls? In other words, is the intent of your message being received by others the way you want? How are you reacting during a video call? Are you sending non-verbal messages that show you aren’t interested?
- Tone – Because most of your communication will be done via online channels ie – email, Slack, Trello, etc. you want to be aware of your tone. The tone of an email can drastically change how the receiver feels about your message. Be clear in your message. Choose your words wisely. Read and re-read your message over, especially in a high-stakes situation. The more aware you are of how your message is going to be received, the more effectively you will be able to communicate.
Keeping your communications professional will build your professional authority. Just because you don’t see your boss or other executives on a daily basis doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention to you and what you’re doing. Don’t let professional communication slide while in a hybrid work situation.
2. Executive Presence
Just as you need to maintain professional communication, you will also want to present an executive presence while working in a hybrid work environment. The more you cultivate your executive presence, the more people within the company will recognize you as an option when those coveted positions become available. So how do you maintain an executive presence?
- What you wear matters – What you wear on video calls still matters. Yes, you can wear those pajama bottoms, but make sure that everything on camera is clean and professional. Avoid busy patterns and distracting clothing like large ruffles or big zippers. Remember the more you look and act like an executive, the more people will see you as one. So dress for success! Perception matters.
- Background On Video – There are so many different ways that you can create a professional video environment. Be sure that when you are on your video calls, your background matches how you want to be seen. Try to declutter your area – or if that isn’t an option, use one of the many digital backdrops, or even a portable divider.
- Pay attention to the camera angle – When you are on a video call, take a few minutes to adjust the camera angle. No one wants to look up your nose – and that isn’t flattering for you either! That means tilting your camera down so it shows the upper half of your body, and sit 2-3 feet away from the screen.
- General Etiquette – Remember video calls may be the only time people are seeing you. So do your best to have good etiquette. This means muting yourself when you aren’t speaking, avoid interrupting, don’t check your emails, or look distracted. People can definitely tell!
3. Getting A Mentor
You most likely are working by yourself at home most of the time if you are in a hybrid environment. And while that has many benefits, it can often leave you feeling isolated from the company. Part of growing in your career is continuously connecting and learning from others who have been there before. Do not let hybrid work prevent you from looking for a mentor.
Mentors are so important for your career success because:
- A mentor can help you stay focused on your next career steps
- Having a mentor will help you network
- Mentors raise your visibility within the company
- A mentor can help you develop key skills that are necessary for your next step.
Be sure that you are actively taking the time to find and maintain a relationship with a mentor. Find ways that you can still communicate and “see” each other on a regular basis. Hybrid work shouldn’t prevent you from tapping into this valuable resource.
If your company doesn’t have a mentorship program, consider reaching out to a person within your company and ask if they would like to mentor you. You will be surprised at how many executives are willing to help! As long as they can see your eagerness, your determination and they feel there is potential in your success, chances are, they will be willing to help, or at least point you in the right direction.
Working hybrid is here to stay, but professionalism and communicating effectively shouldn’t be tossed aside. In fact, it’s even more important to be intentional. The more you can show that you take your career seriously, the more chances you will have to advance. You may not get face-to-face time every day, but when you are seen or heard (on video or in-person), it is imperative that you maintain your executive presence, especially in high-stake situations.
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