How to Connect with Your Boss in a Hybrid Work Environment
Post-omicron wave, many companies are asking employees to return to the office in some fashion—but your new work world may look vastly different than it did in 2019. Goodbye, Monday through Friday in the office; hello, hybrid. A hybrid work environment—in which most office-job employees are working remotely two or three days a week—is becoming increasingly common. And just as it took time to get into a remote routine with your supervisor, connecting with your boss in a hybrid work environment requires intention and commitment.
Try these tips to cultivate a hybrid working relationship with your boss.
Align your in-office schedule to your boss’s in-office schedule
One of the best ways to stay top of mind for your boss is to literally be in your boss’s sightline. Try to arrange your hybrid work schedule so your in-office workdays coincide with your supervisor’s. That way, you can bump into them at the coffee machine and interact with them in a more natural, organic way than on video chat.
Be just as engaged at home as you are in the office
As the work world embarks on this great hybrid experiment, successful employees are likely to be defined by their ability to stay as focused working at home as they are working in the office. While it is true you may be able to slip in a few loads of laundry on remote days, working from home does not mean you should abandon your routine or commitment. By taking a few important steps—setting up a dedicated workspace at home, establishing a “virtual commute” to transition in and out of work mode, etc.—you can ensure your mindset is engaged and professional. Your supervisor will notice.
Become an expert user of remote work technology
At this point, tools such as Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams are probably second nature to you, but if not, make sure you are fully up to speed on how to use them—and how your boss wants to use them. If your team is using a more robust project management tool such as Asana or Monday, get the training you need to use it effectively.
Understand your boss’s communication needs
One reason the hybrid work environment can be challenging is that it is new for most people. That means your supervisor is also adjusting—not only to supervising you and your colleagues in a hybrid setting, but also to being a hybrid employee. It is going to be a bit bumpy as everyone figures out the best way to communicate and collaborate. There may be a tendency to load up in-office days with meetings and check-ins, and that may prove exhausting for your supervisor. Give your boss some grace to try innovative approaches to routine communications.
Be visible on your remote days
Remember: out of sight, out of mind. In general, you do not want to let a day go by without your boss seeing you engaging in work. You do not need to go overboard, but make sure you are participating in chats, answering emails, and clearly showing your engagement in the work community. Another tip: Do not be the person who never turns their camera on. Your boss wants to see you working and contributing in a professional manner.
Be flexible with your remote schedule
Here are some important words to live by: A remote day does not equal a PTO day. Just because you are “scheduled” to telecommute on a particular day of the week it does not mean your supervisor cannot ask you to attend an in-office meeting or switch your schedule up. Make sure you are familiar with your company’s hybrid work policy, which likely outlines core business hours in which you must be available. If your boss requests an in-person meeting on a typically remote day, it should not be a big deal.
How the hybrid work approach shakes out remains to be seen, but by following these tips, you should be able to make it a success for both you and your supervisor.