How to be a good SME leader in a hybrid workplace

level playing field, hybrid

With the hybrid work model here to stay, many small-business leaders will be considering how they adapt their leadership style to ensure they’re offering sufficient support to all of their employees, regardless of the location each team member works from.

SME leaders should expect to continually fine tune their management tactics to accommodate for flexible work structures. Hybrid working provides valuable opportunities for employees to work autonomously and productively at home and enables greater collaboration and connection in the office.  When done well, hybrid working can have considerable benefits not only for business, but also for an employee’s work-life balance. But how do you ensure that your staff are engaged, motivated and flourishing in a hybrid work environment?

Maintain collaboration 

Even when you’re working from different physical locations, you’re still a team with business objectives to consider, so it’s important to schedule regular team catch ups to ensure that all staff members are across the latest business news and updates.  Regular meetings will also help you prioritise tasks and stay on track to achieve your goals. This kind of collaboration helps everyone to stay accountable and avoids miscommunication and inefficient use of time. 

Motivate your staff 

Remote working can lead to feelings of disconnection. In order to maintain your work community and camaraderie in a small business, managers could organise staff activities (either in person or virtually) to boost morale. This could include small team challenges like meeting a daily step count or a 15-minute virtual coffee break. Regular recognition of colleague achievements is also a great morale booster and ensures people feel seen, even when they are working from home.

Ask for feedback 

It’s important to know what you’re getting right as a business leader, as well as what you need to improve upon. Chances are you’re also new to this hybrid structure so don’t be afraid to ask your staff how you can provide a more supportive and seamless experience for them. Schedule a regular meeting with your employees to talk about how well your hybrid work structure is operating and make it clear that you welcome constructive feedback.

Set clear expectations

Paint a picture of what working from home looks like and stick to these standards. For example, it might mean that you require all staff to connect in the office a set number of days per week, in order to maximise efficiency and face-to-face time. If this is the case, it’s important you voice this expectation to your staff members clearly.

Offer support with tech

Don’t assume everyone is equally tech savvy. It’s important that small-business leaders offer their staff support when setting up their tech equipment for both the office and at home. It might be a case that you distribute helpful resources on how to set up a second screen, or even offer your staff tutorials on how to navigate programs like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. It’s your responsibility to make sure your staff can use technology to enhance their WFH experience and not feel overwhelmed or confused.

Be clear on roles

Help your team be as efficient as possible by making sure each person knows exactly what their role and responsibilities are. Your job is to ensure everyone knows what they need to do so that they can work efficiently whether they’re alone at home or surrounded by the team in the office.