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Gleb Tsipursky


Upskilling Remote and Hybrid Employees

How to help hybrid, remote workers survive and thrive in the future of work

Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 11:03

The future of work—of hybrid and fully remote workers—will require upskilling of employees for organizations that wish to succeed in the post-Covid world. Leaders who want to seize a competitive advantage in that future will need to benchmark their training initiatives for best practices on managing hybrid and remote workers. In this piece, I relate the best practices based both on external research and interviews I conducted with 61 leaders at 12 organizations I helped guide in developing and implementing their strategy for returning to the office and their post-pandemic mode of collaboration.

Upskilling employees through virtual training

Hybrid work is neither in-office nor fully remote work. You’ll want to train your hybrid workers on how to work effectively in a hybrid-first model. For those who remain remote, you’ll want to train them on how to collaborate successfully with their colleagues, upskilling both those working hybrid and fully remote schedules.

Upskilling in organizing hybrid work

Your hybrid workers must learn to divide their work activities. Previously, they spent their time either fully remote or fully in-office. Now, they must learn to do different things at home and in the office.

The office will, primarily, serve as a place to work on tasks requiring collaboration with fellow team members. At home, they’ll work on their individual tasks. They’ll also prepare for and communicate about collaborative tasks before coming to the office.

You should provide companywide guidance on best practices for hybrid work and train your employees accordingly. This will help upskill them and set them up for success for your new permanent setup.

Training in virtual communication and virtual collaboration

Too few companies provided training in effective virtual communication and virtual collaboration during the pandemic. Given that you’ll be shifting to hybrid and remote work permanently, it’s time to start training your workers in this ability.

More communication shifting to text, through collaboration apps such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, has resulted in the loss of much of the nonverbal communication so important for communicating our emotions. Transitioning to virtual work has sorely endangered our emotional connection and mutual understanding.

The same applies to virtual collaboration. In the office, face-to-face interactions help employees notice problems and nip them in the bud. Body language and voice tone are easily missed in virtual contexts; challenges in virtual communication thus contribute to virtual collaboration problems.

Effective training helps address these problems. For instance, training in emotional and social intelligence as adapted to virtual settings will help employees communicate and collaborate much more effectively.

A case in point: They need to ask how other people feel, not just how they think, about their proposed ideas. Previously, in the office, people’s feelings were easily expressed through body language and tone of voice. Of course, that doesn’t happen in virtual work environments. It’s important to teach people to “read the virtual room” deliberately to improve virtual collaboration. Many other techniques exist for effective virtual communication and collaboration.

Upskilling in work/life balance

Provide guidelines for and training in work/life balance, customized for hybrid and fully remote employees. As surveys from both FlexJobs and Microsoft indicate, many staff feel:
1. Overworked
2. Burned out
3. Unable to disconnect
4. Obliged to respond to work messages outside of work hours

Unfortunately, some team leaders encourage such behaviors. It falls to senior executives, then, to reinforce the boundaries. That includes regular public reminders to employees to stick to preset hours for communication. It also includes communicating to mid- and lower-level managers that you won’t tolerate them encouraging burnout to meet their goals.

Ask them to speak privately with employees and discourage them from regularly working substantially more than full-time hours. Establish a wellness team empowered to contact employees who regularly log on or send emails more than a couple of hours after the workday ends or begins. The only exception should be an unexpected emergency that shouldn’t happen more often than once per month, or a prearranged agreement with an employee (e.g, they work less during the day due to taking care of kids and more in the later evening after their kids are asleep).

Note: If employees are underperforming, it doesn’t mean they should simply work more. It might mean they need more professional development in how to work effectively, or that their workload isn’t manageable. What you don’t want is someone burning out and resigning with no one left to handle their mountain of tasks.


The pandemic pushed leaders to revamp pre-established management practices and shift to remote and hybrid work. To ensure success in the post-pandemic hybrid workplace, leaders must focus on upskilling all their hybrid and remote workers to survive and thrive in the future of work.


About The Author

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

Gleb Tsipursky

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky helps quality professionals make the wisest decisions on the future of work as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. He is the best-selling author of seven books, including Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage. His cutting-edge thought leadership has been featured in more than 650 articles in prominent publications such as Harvard Business Review, Fortune, and USA Today. His expertise comes from more than 20 years of consulting for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox and more than 15 years in academia as a cognitive scientist at UNC-Chapel Hill and Ohio State. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, Twitter@gleb_tsipursky, Instagram@dr_gleb_tsipurskyLinkedIn, and register for his Wise Decision Maker Course.