Tips and Tools for Hybrid Work

Many people have settled into the new remote work routine and have created a balance between work and personal life—especially during the pandemic. Now that 46% of US companies continue to allow remote work, companies that offer remote work options are more attractive to talent.

One type of remote work is hybrid work, and it has become more popular, as 83 percent of US employees want to work for companies with this kind of model.

With these stats in mind, employers need to consider whether a traditional 9 to 5 onsite work schedule is the best option. If you’re considering a hybrid work option, start by learning the different types, benefits, and tips/tools to apply.

Different types of hybrid workplaces

Many people enjoy social interactions and office shenanigans, and others may feel more productive in a non-office environment. Luckily, there are three types of hybrid work schedules to meet these needs:

  • Employees have total freedom to choose when they come into the office or work from home.
  • Employers decide what days employees can work from home or in the office. Google, for example, has employees spend three days in the office and two days wherever they work best.
  • Departments or teams decide which days to be in the office.

When deciding which type of schedule to choose, consider the factors that make an option less effective, such as employees’ location, company size, technology, tasks and projects, and team size.

The benefits of hybrid work

The best part about the hybrid work model is that it benefits both the employees and the company. Imagine the increased talent you can access when there are fewer dependencies on geographical area. You’ll also find that the benefits your team experiences benefit your company! These benefits include:

Increased productivity and efficiency

A hybrid work model offers your team flexibility and autonomy, which boosts productivity. Think about employees who need peace and quiet to focus or those who thrive in the office. When you allow them to choose their preferred work setting, you give them a choice to work where they’re most productive.

This choice also increases efficiency by eliminating factors like commuting time and can provide people with extra time to spend on self-development and learning. Both are essential in strengthening their skills that can further influence productivity.

Improved employee satisfaction

Flexibility and autonomy increase productivity and are also the key to employee satisfaction. You’ll see employee satisfaction skyrocket if you provide freedom and decision-making on where, how, and when people work!

Improved work-life fit

Work-life fit is a vital aspect of any healthy work environment. Allowing the flexibility to work at home or in the office (or both) enables each team member to fit their work and life together in a preferable way.

Consider this – work leaks into life. But does life leak into work? Allowing people an option to work from home will enable them to balance their work and personal life. If it’s a beautiful day out and someone wants to walk their pup, they can because they have the freedom to finish their work later. You’ll be surprised to see how little things like this can reduce stress and prevent burnout.

Mastering hybrid work

If you want to reap the benefits, you need to strategically plan and sustain a successful hybrid work model. Success is dependent on enabling employees to do their best, which includes providing them with leadership, guidance, and an appropriate toolset. To create an effective hybrid work model:

Encourage meaningful connections

Remote work of any kind can reduce human interaction, so it’s essential to create opportunities where relationships can flourish. Consider requiring team members to put check-ins on the calendar so they can continuously get to know each other better. After all, connected teams thrive!

Also, encourage people to make the most out of each trip to the office. Suggest that they ask others out for lunch or other small activities that allow people to connect face-to-face. 

Emphasize accountability

Trust is a must! Preach the importance of accountability, and you’ll find people fostering independence while staying conscious of deadlines. Still, it’s a challenge to track performance and impact, so employees need to remain accountable for managing, completing, and reporting their work. Consider:

  • Requiring check-in calls with employees to discuss their work
  • Using a software tool to track performance
  • Setting KPIs or goals for employees to reach

Provide the right tools

Whether at home or in the office, a digital and physical workplace is critical for any hybrid work model. Use tools to ensure your team is effectively performing, communicating, and collaborating, including:

  1. Project management software – You can use project management software to bring order and accountability to your hybrid team. A tool such as Asana can help your team people track projects, assign tasks, and collaborate from anywhere.
  2. Scheduling and calendar tools – Scheduling tools, such as the Zoom integration, allow people to sync and schedule meetings across calendars. Have your team share their calendars with each other to make scheduling easier.
  3. Collaboration and communication tools – Invest in tools like Slack or Zoom to enable people to work efficiently and collaboratively no matter where they are.
  4. Cloud-based software – Cloud solutions let your team access and save documents on any computer. Tools like Dropbox or Google Drive let people share files, maintain, update, and change documents—and document changes sync across all devices.
  5. Physical tools – No matter where people work, they need a physical workplace to help them perform their best. Provide a stipend to your employees so they can purchase items like cameras, microphones, or standing desks.

Be transparent

Employees must consider which setting is most appropriate for productivity while being transparent, so others know how to contact them. For example, employees can set their status in Slack or add their hybrid schedule to their calendar.

Change is inevitable

Hybrid workplaces are here to stay. Take this opportunity to get ahead of the game and evaluate how to plan for this change. You can take your organization to a new level of productivity, empower employees to balance their work and personal lives, and attract new talent while sustaining employee satisfaction.

Change is constant – we all know this! The real question is will you avoid change, or are you willing to adapt to the future of work?


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by andreypopov

Support Employees During National Disability Employment Awareness Month

A good indicator of a strong workplace culture is its commitment to diversity and inclusion, where your employees feel comfortable coming to you to voice their opinions and concerns. When employees work in an environment where they feel valued, productivity increases.

Employees with disabilities contribute to the workplace in many ways, and National Disability Employment Awareness Month recognizes this.

What is National Disability Employment Awareness Month?

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) was established in 1988 by the United States Congress to take place during October of every year. It commemorates the contributions of people with disabilities to the US economy and workplaces and reaffirms their commitment to providing equal opportunities for all citizens.

Disability statistics to keep in mind

To create a clear understanding of the relevant challenges people with disabilities in the workplace face daily, here are some vital statistics to keep in mind:

Use NDEAM as a catalyst to support employees with disabilities all year

Review your company policies

NDEAM is an excellent time to review company policies to make sure they display a commitment to having an inclusive company culture.

Establish an employee resource group (ERG)

You can launch a disability Employee Resource Group, or ERG. ERGs offer employees an opportunity to connect and receive support from others with similar backgrounds or interests. If your company has an established ERG, use NDEAM to remind employees of the resource.

Create a display

Make a display on your breakroom bulletin boards or in other places that employees frequently visit. Post positive messages about how your company provides an inclusive workforce on all levels.

Train supervisors and educate employees

Both supervisors and employees have an impact on company culture and inclusion. During NDEAM, conduct training such as:

Publish content

You can publish content such as blogs, videos, or a website page that is related to topics like:

  • Your company’s commitment to inclusivity
  • The process to request reasonable accommodations
  • Recognizing the contributions of important leaders in the disability rights movement

Drive a social media campaign

NDEAM provides resources, such as posts and images, to use on your company’s preferred social media platforms. Use the provided posts and tweets with the suggested hashtag #NDEAM to spread awareness.

Issue a press release

Employers can issue a press release to announce their involvement in NDEAM. A “fill-in-the-blank” template is available for your marketing team to use, courtesy of the Department of Labor.

Volunteer to participate in Disability Mentoring Day

Disability Mentoring Day promotes career development for youth with disabilities through:

  • Hands-on programs
  • Job shadowing
  • Ongoing mentoring

Disability Mentoring Day is observed on the third Wednesday of each October, but you can host your own event any day of October or during any month of the year.


Strive toward an inclusive workplace


Even though NDEAM takes place during the month of October, inclusivity and recognizing the contributions of your employees with disabilities is important every month and every day of the year. A workplace where everyone feels like a valued team member contributes to a strong, healthy company culture and empowers employees to go above and beyond for you, their team members, and the company.


And a workplace where all employees feel valued and empowered is something every employer should strive toward!


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners


Three Books to Help You Jumpstart Your Brand

Creating a relevant, strong, and trusted brand is one of the most fundamental aspects of developing a successful company. Many entrepreneurs find that it’s one of the hardest things to accomplish. Not because it’s unattainable, but because it takes long-term planning, strategy, and self-education, all of which require quite a lot of time. (Oh, and the belief that it’s worth the time.)

One of the reasons creating a successful brand is so difficult is that it’s confusing. Messaging, platforms, brand development—it’s all been rapidly changing for the better part of the last two decades. Keeping up is hard work! But if you put aside the technology and the data and all the fancy new platforms, there are some strategies any business can tap into that are evergreen and will last the lifetime of your business.

Aside from hiring a marketing company to help you, there are an overwhelming amount of resources out there for business leaders to tap into to help them grow and develop their brand. To help, we’ve narrowed it down to three books that will help you cover all the most important bases.

The Truth About Creating Brands People Love

Authors: Brian D. Till and Donna Heckler

This book is excellent for busy leaders who don’t have more than a handful of minutes a day to spend reading. The book is broken up into 51 short chapters, each teaching one specific lesson about marketing. Take your highlighter and go chapter by chapter, allowing each truth to sink in throughout your day. From positioning to strategy, Till and Heckler do a stellar job breaking down common marketing misconceptions and righting the common marketing ‘wrongs’ companies make every day. This book will help you avoid common mistakes and enable you to develop a better understanding of what marketing is and isn’t.

Start With Why

Author: Simon Sinek

Since his famous TED Talk, Sinek has been a household name among business leaders for the last decade—and for good reason. Start with Why breaks down one of the most fundamentally impactful messaging strategies out there. Detailing the same method that skyrocketed Apple into one of the leading brands of the 21st century and enabled Martin Luther King Jr. to move an entire generation, every entrepreneur should read this book—not just people interested in marketing their business. It will help you frame your brand and your vision and enable you to authentically connect with your audience in a lasting and impactful way.

Building A Story Brand

Author: Donald Miller

This bestseller offers a handy toolset designed to help you position your brand in a way that connects with the dreams and goals of your audience. In today’s world, the customer has never been more important, and many brands struggle to understand how to position themselves to their audience. This book takes you chapter-by-chapter, step-by-step, through a series of exercises to help you clarify your message into something your customers will want to listen to. It may even help you better understand your organization. When developing your website, your marketing materials—even your sales pitches, this book turns the traditional advertising storyline on its head in a refreshingly clear and effective way.

Take matters into your own hands 

Don’t let the feeling of overwhelm stop you from attacking the problem of your brand. And don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from learning something new. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a marketing organization to develop a successful brand. In fact, doing the learning yourself will help you develop a greater understanding of your brand, empowering you to take it farther than any external organization has the power to do. The information is at your fingertips; all you have to do is open the book.


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by sergeybogachuk

Soft Skills to Cultivate for 2021 and Beyond

This year has put organizations, communities, governments, and individuals to the test. We’ve been pushed out of our comfort zones and forced to adapt to uncomfortable changes. Most of us have learned a lot, and many have begun to find their footing in the new normal. As we look ahead to next year and prepare to deal with similar challenges, it’s necessary to take stock of what we’re doing well and what we need to improve.

While many of us needed to cultivate new hard skills this year (like learning how to use Zoom to meet the immediate survival needs of the moment), there are other, softer skills that may help us thrive in the long-term.

Developing a systematic approach

If you’re a fast-paced individual who skims through emails and replies on the go, now would be a good time to check yourself. With emailing and messaging being a primary form of communication, your coworkers need you to slow down long enough to read the whole email and respond to each question. If you find yourself rushing through written documents, emails, and comments, it’s time to change up that behavior.

On that same note, make sure you’re intentional about how you reach out to your colleagues:

  • Are you the type to swing by someone’s desk and ask people small questions more than once a day? Stop and think before you send an email or a message.
  • Do you need to ask them right now? Do you think you might have follow-up questions? Consolidate your communication and be as thorough as you can the first time around.

That way, you’re not interrupting your coworkers more often than needed, and you’re allowing them to be as efficient as possible in their response.

Proactive learning

On that same note, being helpless when it comes to answering your own questions isn’t a good strategy. We need to become more self-sufficient and teach ourselves how to do things effectively. If you’re an “I don’t learn that way” type of person, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Just because you’ve done something one way for years doesn’t mean you can’t learn a new approach. And that is what this changing world demands of us.

Don’t know how to use that program? Look up classes online. Ask Google. Watch how-to YouTube videos.

There is a world of information at your fingertips; “not knowing how to do something” isn’t a viable excuse anymore. To stay ahead of the game and function effectively in your role, it’s time to stop being stubborn and get yourself in a learner’s mindset. New solutions, new programs, new approaches all take effort to learn.

So be prepared to make an effort and choose to do it before you absolutely must.

Time management

Working from home can soften your routines and blur the lines between work life and home life. This can make it difficult to set boundaries around your time, take breaks, or even stay on task. Most people haven’t had practice working from home since they were in school and had homework.

Even if you’re not struggling to get work done, your coworkers might be juggling children at home or other challenges that make it difficult for them to manage their time. Make extra sure you’re getting things to people when they need them. Also, know how and where they rely on you. Be conscious and intentional about your approach to your time. Make adjustments and advocate for your (or your team’s) needs when necessary.

Strong written communication

With more communication taking place over email and channels like Slack, it’s incredibly important to write in an exact, concise, and grammatically correct way. Don’t make it difficult for people to understand your emails. Don’t leave them guessing what you mean.

Make an effort to learn etiquette for email, Slack, and other communication channels. It can be difficult to convey tone through writing, so be intentional.

Don’t send an email with a question in the subject line and six question marks in the body. At the very least, say hello and wish them a good day. Without some personal engagement, you risk upsetting someone, coming off as rude, or looking unprofessional. Everyone deserves this: your coworkers, your boss, your clients, your employees—everyone.

You wouldn’t scream at your coworkers, so leave out all caps words unless that’s what you want them to think. Writing is your new voice. Treat it with respect and consideration, or you’ll end up with bad results.

It’s on you 

In the end, it’s on us to figure out what works best. It’s on us to adapt and learn new tools. It’s on us to show up every day and give 100%. Sitting around in frustration about all the things you have to learn isn’t going to help you. Take responsibility for your success. Ask for help when you need it, and rely on yourself when you can. In times of change comes growth, it’s up to us to decide whether we grow or get left behind.


Photo by kristo74

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners