Hybrid working will impact younger people in very specific ways

When considering a hybrid working method for your organisation, it’s far too easy to try think of what will work for all employees as a whole, rather than breaking this down and thinking about the different needs from certain groups of people. One example of this is age and experience. Employees from different age groups and at different levels of experience within in an organisation may have very different needs when it comes to hybrid working. Those who have been with the business, or in a similar work environment, for some time may be perfectly comfortable to work from home the majority of the week, with little help or supervision. However, this probably isn’t going to work as well for younger employees with less experience.

Whilst remote working has been a necessity for some time now, it isn’t ideal for everyone. Many young people have now started jobs at organisations and not yet met their managers and co-workers in person. And yes, we have video chat and messenger platforms, and these are helpful tools, but can they really fill the void of in person colleagues and management?

When in an office younger workers have a team of people around them to offer them help and guidance at any time. They can shadow senior members of staff to learn the everyday ins and outs of the role. Whilst remote working every query, any slight problem that arises must be either put in an email and a response waited for, or brought up on a meeting, what would have been a few second conversation in person, is suddenly a lot more effort.

Then you have the social aspect of the office. Many teams used to bond through everyday interactions in the office. They would ask how each other were over morning coffee, swap weekend plans as they were putting their coats on to leave on a Friday. Many even had lunches together or went to the pub for drinks after the work day was done. Through these interactions a team would become closer and as a result work and communicate better together.

So when considering a hybrid working set up for younger workers it makes sense to have them in the office more regularly right? But most of the problems surrounding young workers can’t be solved by just having them in the office a few times a week, they need their team there too. That isn’t to say organisations should insist that all teams with younger workers flood back to the office as soon as the doors re-open! But HR and managers should consider the needs of their younger workers when setting the parameters for hybrid work.

Ensure that the days your young workers are in the office coincide with the days that managers and senior members of staff are in. Encourage more face to face meetings involving the entire team. If a staff member has started during lockdown, it may be a good idea to arrange some form of team building day once the whole team can meet up again.

This way of working won’t need to go on forever. Once the young worker has grown in confidence and feels they are ready to work on their own more the situation can be assessed and changed. Once this is decided, ensure these frequent check-in sessions continue. Once an employee is having less face to face time with managers and team members, it may be even more important for them to have regular sessions in which to raise questions and voice concerns. This also means managers can continue to monitor progress, if they fear their younger worker is struggling they can re-introduce more face to face time.

Managers can also help younger members of staff by setting clear goals that align with team objectives. This way they will know what is expected of them, and how this links into the overall goals of the team as a whole. Checking the progress against these goals on a regular basis will also give managers a good indication of the employee’s performance level.

By keeping younger workers as aligned as possible with their co-workers, and giving them face to face time with senior members of staff when needed, they will be able to grow their skills and knowledge quicker, and integrate into the team more easily. It doesn’t just help them, it helps the team as a whole and as a result, the organisation in general.