How To Create Psychological Safety In A Hybrid Work World

Image Credit: Library of Congress

Over the last two-plus years, mental health and psychological safety in the workplace have become pivotal issues. The pandemic has led people across sectors to focus on emotional well-being and the consequences of poor mental health. Many now see that emotional health is a critical component to ensuring safety at work — especially in hybrid workplaces.

How do we define psychological safety? Amy Edmondson, the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, first coined the term, which the Center for Creative Leadership defines as “the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.”

In the workplace, psychological safety can apply to both individuals and teams. When everyone feels they have a voice at work, it leads to authenticity, better generation of ideas, greater productivity, and better emotional health. In this article tech leaders from JatApp software development discuss the concepts of healthy work relations and how to create psychological safety in a hybrid work world.

 

Hybrid Work Defined

Hybrid work includes in-office and remote work. A hybrid workplace, in its current form, is often characterized by increased emotional tension between employees, which causes a variety of stressful issues during working hours. This often leads to misunderstandings and employees’ inability to show potential in pursuing their professional goals.

See Also: Every Company Adopting A Hybrid Work Model

 

How Hybrid Work Affects People 

Within any given company, there may be employees from various parts of the world — each with their own beliefs, moods, ways of communicating, and other differences. When you’re working with people living and working in different time zones, and/or a potential variety of cultural differences, psychological safety is all the more important because it can increase the effectiveness of business practices and create places of mutual understanding for employees.

 

How To Create Psychological Safety In The Workplace

Psychological safety directly influences the way employees do their jobs and how they’re treated by others, whether in the office or home office. How can one develop resilience and an open communication style in hybrid work situations? Let’s look at five ways managers and teams can work together to promote better communication and the spread of ideas in the workplace.

 

1) Take It Slowly 

Depending on the issue and employees’ individual comfort levels, sharing concerns can be a real challenge. Encouraging openness should, ideally, be a gradual process. Things to keep in mind throughout: .

  • The fear of being judged by others comes first. Not all people are ready to hear the assessments of others. For this reason, the way employees initially share their thoughts and concerns may not be as open or constructive as you envisioned.
  • Major changes within an organization are often slow for a variety of reasons, including allowing people time to adjust. No one can make an employee share everything. It’s important to give everyone their time, space, and ensure a welcoming atmosphere.

Given how quickly things can shift and change in the way we work, if you are a manager or you’re responsible for human resources within your team, it’s important to start working on hybrid workplace psychology from the very beginning. Listening and patience are crucial.

 

2) Share The Problem 

Nothing can be changed until the real problem is revealed and discussed. Emotional availability, risks, and concerns can make bringing problems out in the open a real challenge for many employees. If you manage a team of people and you notice a genuine problem, it’s better to start the process with a conversation.

If you announce and clarify the problem, your workers may not understand the core of the issue. This is why it’s so important to communicate why sharing their thoughts is an important part of resolving issues as they arise. Encouraging openness increases the general effectiveness of the team, helps set the right mood among participants, and positively influences interpersonal relationships.

Once employees understand the need for and final purpose of an approach, it’s easier to find common ground and accept the problem. The fear of failure, risk, or being rejected by others can stall work processes and harm results. For this reason, sharing the problem is the best first step.

 

3) Lead By Example 

If you want your team to speak up, leading by example is critical. Don’t be afraid to share an unpopular opinion, and be ready and willing to face misunderstanding from colleagues. When others see you’re being open, they’ll feel comfortable following suit.

Do you have a plan, but it’s not entirely clear yet? Are you worried about the results? Don’t hide your feelings. It’s better to show vulnerability so that others feel more comfortable about making mistakes.

 

4) Take Control Of The Situation

Mastering psychological safety and observing and addressing behaviors in work teams is the responsibility of the upper-level staff. If you are a manager, you need to take responsibility for the team. Safety is a crucial element when it comes to the hybrid workplace. If you want to reach goals with positive workplace dynamics, you have to take control of the situation.

It’s up to you to talk to your staff, ensure they share their thoughts, and yours as well. When the workplace is a comfortable space for everyone, there’s no place for tension or pressure from others. Of course it’s a demanding task to work on the concerns, possible risks, and other problems you’ll discover. But it leads to impressive results, so it’s worth the effort.

You can offer psychological safety exercises that help your team communicate better with each other, find common ground, and address and let go of concerns that harm the working routine.

 

5) Be Transparent And Normalize The Situation 

By talking about psychological safety and discussing problems, your team can grow professionally. If you work on mutual understanding within the team, share your problems, and aren’t afraid to receive feedback from others, your business will win.

 

Conclusion 

A lot has been said about psychological safety, emotional availability, work-life balance, and other concepts related to hybrid work. If you want to see better results as an employee or a manager among a hybrid workforce, it’s important to pay attention to the mental health of your co-workers.

The freer employees are, the better the performance of the team. For many, disclosing ideas, sharing concerns, or asking questions can be more challenging than we might realize.

But if you talk about problems, lead by example, and help others overcome their boundaries, it can make a huge difference in the dynamics of the company and ensure stronger relationships within the team.

 

Author’s Bio

Aston Rhodes is an experienced content creator and marketing expert for a software development company. She has been helping authors improve their blogs for the past five years. She enjoys researching tech-related topics and sharing her experiences with a like-minded audience. Aston regularly writes about software development, digital marketing, business, careers, and much more.

This article is part of Buildremote’s contributor series. If you’d like to share some insights about how you run your remote company, learn more here.

About the author

Contributor Series

Add comment

Leave a Reply