By Corporate English Solutions

24 July 2023 - 15:55

Optimise hybrid and remote working

Learner personas have multiple superpowers. In hybrid and remote work environments they hold the key to understanding employees’ skills, needs, preferences and challenges in flexible working. 

Discover how you can use these insights to unlock success, enhancing well-being, collaboration, productivity and performance to ensure your hybrid and remote workers thrive, wherever they are.


Reading time: 6 minutes

There’s no going back: The popularity of flexible working continues to rise. For many workers around the world, flexibility at work is the key to job satisfaction, productivity and well-being. And remote and hybrid work top the list of flexible work arrangements. Over two-thirds of those who currently work on-site would prefer a hybrid or remote work environment. Job candidates are actively seeking opportunities that allow them to work from any location. 

And employers are paying attention. Organisations are refreshing their Employee Value Propositions to ensure they contain location flexibility messaging. Over 50% of organisations globally have flexible working policies. Another 27% allow remote and flexible work arrangements on a regular basis. That’s a significant shift, considering only 4% of organisations offered flexible working pre-pandemic. 

As more organisations embed remote and hybrid work, it’s essential that employees are equipped to succeed. And you already have a resource which provides a window into their skills, needs, preferences and challenges: learner personas.

These generalisations can provide valuable insights to plan and prioritise the policies, strategies, support systems and practices your organisation needs to optimise remote and hybrid work environments.

Read on to discover practical strategies and tips for four common personas, and how you can create work environments where everyone thrives – wherever they work.

Persona #1: Tech-savvy Tahira

Marketing and Communications team, remote employee

Job-related skills 9 years’ experience of marketing, well-versed in digital marketing and data analytics tools and managing online campaigns remotely.
Remote working skills Working remotely since start of pandemic. Excels at remote work productivity, staying focused and using collaboration and communication tools to connect with her team from a distance.
Communication preferences Concise and direct communication through digital channels like emails, instant messaging, and video calls, and checks-in regularly.
Learning preferences Enjoys enhancing her skills through remote learning in webinars, online courses and certifications.
Out of work Has two young children and values flexible working arrangements that allow her to be present for her family's needs.

How can organisations maximise the strengths and effectively support the remote work journeys of tech-savvy workers like Tahira?

  • Provide access to a dedicated IT support team familiar with remote work setups. Set up user-friendly platforms to report technical issues and fix them promptly to ensure uninterrupted productivity.
  • Recognise job-related proficiency and allow them to set project deadlines flexibly. By trusting their skills and providing autonomy, they can manage time effectively and deliver high-quality work while balancing personal commitments.
  • Facilitate virtual networking events and online conferences for them to connect with industry professionals and stay updated on the latest trends and strategies in their fields.
  • Set up online skill-sharing sessions with opportunities to share tech expertise with colleagues, fostering a collaborative learning environment.
  • Implement remote performance recognition to demonstrate that the organisation values their outstanding performance and contributions to remote working. Showcase their achievements to foster a sense of appreciation.

Persona #2. Ambitious Alex

Graphic Designer, Creative Services team, hybrid employee, new joiner

Job-related skills Recent graduate, acquired essential graphic design skills and is determined to refine these to succeed in a professional environment.
Hybrid working skills Excited to start his career in a hybrid work setting and keen to develop skills to for effective flexible working. 
Communication preferences Values open and direct communication and actively seeks feedback to improve his skills and collaborate effectively.
Learning preferences Prefers to use social platforms, micro-learning, video and audio clips and informal learning to develop new skills. 
Out of work Passionate about digital art and animation and connects online with other artists to collaborate.

 How can organisations maximise the potential, enhance the hybrid work experience, and help ambitious new joiners like Alex thrive in their roles?

  • Set up a personalised onboarding process, including meeting team members, managers, and other hybrid workers. Assign a mentor to guide new employees through the hybrid work environment, share best practices, and offer support to help them feel more comfortable and engaged from the start.
  • Offer flexibility in choosing workspaces during on-site days. Provide options like hot-desking or collaborative spaces to empower employees to select an environment that best suits their creative needs and preferences, fostering a sense of ownership over their work environment.
  • Invest in user-friendly hybrid collaboration tools that facilitate seamless communication and project management between on-site and remote team members. Ensure accessibility and provide training to facilitate communication and collaboration regardless of physical location.
  • Conduct regular check-ins to gather feedback on employees’ experience of hybrid work arrangements. Encourage open and honest discussions about challenges and to suggest improvement to demonstrate that their opinions are valued and help the organisation make adjustments to optimise the hybrid work model.
  • Support employees’ passion for digital art and animation by providing opportunities to use this at work on specific projects. Encourage them to attend workshops, conferences, and webinars to learn more, connect with others and develop skills to benefit the organisation and inspire the employee.

Persona #3. Work-life balance Wen Wei 

IT administrator, remote employee

Job-related skills 17 years’ experience as an IT professional, strong technical skills and expertise in managing the network infrastructure and systems.
Remote working skills Working remotely since start of pandemic. Skilled in remote work but has grown unhappy with the lack of in-person interaction and is seeking ways to improve his remote work experience.
Communication preferences Values direct communication and is open to virtual social meetings to foster better connections with his remote team members.
Learning preferences Doesn’t spend much time on learning as his role is quite reactive and needs to work in an agile way. Is open to some micro-learning if it fits with his work responsibilities. 
Out of work Cares for his elderly parents as well as his children and working from home can be challenging due to the number of people in his apartment

How can organisations support work-life balance workers like Wen Wei to balance remote work, social interaction needs and caregiving responsibilities to enhance well-being, job satisfaction, and productivity?

  • Organise regular virtual social events, team-building activities, and informal chat sessions where they can connect with colleagues on non-work-related topics. These create a sense of camaraderie and foster a sense of connection while working remotely.
  • Offer a flexible work arrangement that allows them autonomy to manage their schedules to accommodate work tasks and caregiving responsibilities and allows time to participate in virtual social events and team-building activities.
  • Establish a caregiver support network, providing a platform for employees to connect with others facing similar challenges. This fosters a sense of community and understanding, allowing members to share experiences, tips, and resources related to both remote work and caregiving.
  • Ensure that the organisation has efficient virtual collaboration tools and encourages open communication. Work with managers to develop skills in leading remote teams and asking for and giving feedback.
  • Encourage employees to participate in online workshops, webinars, and industry-related events for learning and to interact with professionals and enthusiasts who share similar passions.

Persona #4. Collaborative Cosima

Customer Experience Manager, hybrid employee

Job-related skills Extensive expertise in customer relationship management and service improvement. Her role is crucial in ensuring seamless stakeholder experiences.
Hybrid working skills Her role has recently become hybrid, being on-site before the pandemic and remote during it. She embraces hybrid work, efficiently balancing on-site and remote tasks, valuing in-person interactions and the flexibility of remote work.
Communication preferences An effective communicator, values both in-person interactions and virtual communication tools for remote collaboration. This combination enables her to maintain strong connections with her team and stakeholders.
Learning preferences Dedicated to continuous learning, keeps up to date with trends and best practices, actively participates in workshops and webinars to enhance her expertise.
Out of work Enjoys staying active. The hybrid work model allows her to pursue hobbies while managing her commitments effectively.

How can organisations support collaborative managers like Cosima to foster a positive and productive hybrid work environment?

  • Establish clear and comprehensive hybrid work policy guidelines within the organisation. This ensures consistency and sets expectations for managers and their teams, addressing work arrangements, communication protocols, and team-building initiatives.
  • Invest in hybrid communication platforms to facilitate seamless communication between on-site, hybrid and remote team members for effective collaboration and information sharing.
  • Organise hybrid work best practices workshops for managers and their teams. These can include effective communication strategies, time management tips, and techniques to maintain team collaboration for more efficient and cohesive teamwork.
  • Offer coaching, mentoring or training to managers to continually upskill them in using tools and techniques for creating psychological safety and a sense of trust and belonging in hybrid teams. 
  • Set up regular check-ins with senior management to help managers align goals with the organisation's vision and navigate the challenges of hybrid leadership. 

Benefits of using learner personas to optimise remote and hybrid work

The impact of targeted policies, strategies, support and resources? A multitude of benefits.

Enhanced wellbeing, communication, collaboration, creativity and adaptability all contribute to a positive work culture, improved job satisfaction, performance and productivity.

The resulting increase in employee engagement has a positive impact on talent retention, saving organisations significant costs of recruitment and onboarding. And establishes a positive employer brand, attracting talent in today’s competitive job market.

Used wisely to avoid over-generalising and stereotyping, learner personas bring a fresh perspective to optimising hybrid and remote working, leading to a stronger and more resilient organisation, better positioned for long-term success in an ever-evolving business landscape.

British Council has been supporting organisations worldwide to identify and develop skills to ensure your talent is equipped for success now and in future. Partner with us to upskill your workforce in the crucial skills for success in 2023 and beyond.