Many companies are now allowing their employees to work from home after the COVID-19 pandemic forced a large portion of the workforce to work remotely and adjust to doing their jobs outside of the office. Some employers fully embraced remote work and told their employees they never have to go back to the office, while others adopted a hybrid work model where employees can work remotely or in the office. But, is every company that shifts to a hybrid work environment really executing the change correctly?
A recent FlexJobs article has identified the top 10 red flags of a potentially toxic hybrid workplace. Here are the three biggest red flags we think you should keep an eye out for as you navigate remote and hybrid workplaces in your career moving forward.
1. There Isn't A Plan To Create A Functioning Hybrid Workforce Within The Company
The transition to a hybrid work model cannot be done overnight. It will take time and a lot of planning to effectively shift to a hybrid workplace, and companies need to realize this before they announce any major changes to how they do business.
A sign of a potentially toxic hybrid workplace is when a company has no real plan to create a functioning hybrid workforce. They are, essentially, just winging it. They made the announcement that employees can either work remotely or in the office, but there are no policies or procedures in place, and possibly no guidance available to workers. So, are they really committed to this change? Did leadership actually think this through? Have they considered how it will affect every single employee at the company?
If a company wants to effectively shift to a hybrid work model, they need to have a plan in place. Otherwise, the hybrid work environment could become toxic, impacting your job and career as a whole.
2. No Senior Leaders Work Remotely
Another red flag of a potentially toxic hybrid workplace is when no senior leaders work remotely. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but when you start wondering how you might be able to move up the corporate ladder in this type of work environment, it may become clear that there actually isn't a way for you to do that as a remote or hybrid employee.
If a company lacks remote or hybrid management, that could indicate you won't have long-term success at the company unless you're physically working in the office 100% of the time. Also, consider how much celebration, praise, and rewards remote and hybrid workers receive in comparison to in-person employees. If there is a big disparity there in favor of in-person employees, that's another indication of a potentially toxic hybrid workplace.
Your employer should always make it clear to you what your career path is within the organization. Although it is ultimately your responsibility as an employee, professional, and business-of-one to prove your value to the company and grow your career, if your employer isn't invested in your career and valuing you as an employee, that is a major red flag of a toxic workplace, hybrid or not.
3. Your Manager Doesn't Have A Solid Communication Plan For Remote Team Members
Communication is incredibly important in the workplace. It's even more important for remote and hybrid employees who aren't physically present in the office and lose that face-to-face communication with team members and other co-workers.
The final red flag of a potentially toxic hybrid workplace we think you should watch out for is if your manager doesn't have a solid communication plan for remote and hybrid team members. What digital communication tools will you be using? What are the communication policies and procedures? How much communication needs to happen in order to be an efficient and productive hybrid team?
A problem that could arise from not having a communication plan in place is remote and hybrid employees not being able to access information that's essential to their job and critical to their success as employees. If managers don't plan ahead with this concern in mind, the hybrid workforce could fall apart. It's already difficult communicating as a remote or hybrid employee, so your manager needs to have a solid communication plan in place, or else your work environment could become toxic.
With many companies shifting to remote or hybrid workplaces after the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a handful of red flags professionals should keep an eye out for in order to avoid a toxic work environment.
A potentially toxic hybrid workplace will typically exhibit the three red flags above. But it's important to remember that the transition to a hybrid work model is bumpy for many companies. Patience and communication are key for both employers and employees during this major shift. A change like this might be uncomfortable at first, but the future of work depends on it.
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