There is no denying that the pandemic has changed the way we work. As companies begin to return to office spaces, there is a need to start considering some changes on how people should return to work. Some companies increase remote working, while others consider different types of work arrangements, including remote and onsite working, and this is what we called the hybrid work model.
A hybrid work model is a plan that incorporates a mixture of in-office and remote work in an employee’s schedule. Employees occasionally have the ability to pick and choose when they work from home and when they come into the office. There is no one-size-fits-all hybrid model. Each company develops a hybrid model based on the needs of the company and the needs of the individual employee.
Why do we need to consider moving to hybrid work?
A recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research shows that almost half of employees (47 percent) would likely look for a job if their employer doesn’t adopt a flexible working model. This shows why hybrid work would be a new “benefit” that a company can offer to their employees.
Here are the benefits of hybrid work:
- Employees can work when they are most productive. In an office-first model, people are expected to be on the clock between 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every workday. In a hybrid work model, employees have more flexibility to adjust with their schedule, as well as their most productive hours.
- A better work-life balance can be achieved. When employees have more control of their work schedule, they can free up some time to take care of their personal lives—whether it is doing errands or chores, picking up kids, or doing self-care.
- Reduce exposure to illness. Due to the recent pandemic, it is very common for employees to be worried about their health and safety when it comes to returning to work. In this model, if an employee gets sick, they can stay home altogether without risking other people in the office.
- Save on operational expenses. With less people working in the office, the need to rent the building becomes less (if they still want to keep a physical office). Even so, the company does not have to keep full capacity in the office.
- Employers gain access to borderless talent. With this work model, your company can hire talent from all around the globe. You can have the access to a wider talent pool, and you can hire people with specialized skills. This can help your organization move into new markets and ensure around-the-clock productivity.
- Save on energy expenses. Employers and employees spend less on gas, commuting, meals, office operations, and other expenses.
So, now that we know the benefits of a hybrid work model, here are the different types of hybrid work models:
- Remote First
Due to the pandemic, many companies have had to go on the remote-first model, where their operations will closely mirror those of a fully remote company, with a few exceptions, such as essential roles. In this variation, it will look slightly different for everyone, but the main principle is that the company should act like a fully remote company with employees spread out across time zones and defaulting to online communication. This approach means that employees can relocate away from the office, but that the company will keep its office space for those employees who value it. In this remote-first model, anyone who can work remotely is allowed to do so.
- Office Occasional
While most employees enjoy working from home, many also long for a chance to meet coworkers physically. The impact of working from home for a long time have been affecting the emotional connection and also create some sense of isolation. In this model, employees can still engage with in-person meetings while at the same time, have the benefit of remote working. The office-occasional model is a good option to give employees a chance to work from anywhere as the employees come into the office for a few days a week. The core of this model is that the company is not going fully remote first like the remote-first model, instead they choose to keep an office and require employees to spend some time in it.
- Office First
Another option is to keep both the office and remote work but designate the office as the primary place for working. This was the most common model prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Usually, this is common if the entire leadership team is in the office. In this model, the company offers a remote work policy and might have some employees scattered, but those who work in-office and those who don’t are differentiated by the connections and opportunities in-office employees get by working closely with the leadership team.
So, how can we adopt a hybrid work model?
To adopt a hybrid model, you need the right people, processes, and technology. Here are some of the tips:
- Survey your employees.
By involving employees, you can create a work model that keeps your people motivated and maintain their performance at work. They would also feel heard and appreciated by the management, when they see that their needs are being considered by the company.
- Define your office’s primary function.
What tasks must be performed by the office? Which tasks are best performed from home? What do your employees need the most from the office? This will help you determine the degree of freedom to give your employees regarding when to work from the office or when to work remotely.
- Build the infrastructure that will support flexible work.
You will need to invest in technologies that enable flexible work, such as a communication tool, a project management tool, on-site video conferencing equipment, etc. You may also need to adopt an asynchronous style of communication to accommodate employees working in different time zones.
- Invest in company culture.
Invest in opportunities that delight your employees. Consider how you can create experiences for the hybrid work perspective around your company’s work value. You may also need a new set of policies to guide you, if you have to transition to a hybrid workplace.
- Redesign your office.
Some features of your office will no longer be useful once you switch to a hybrid workplace. You may need to reduce or remove some unused space in the office and use it for something that is more useful for the current needs with the hybrid model, such as creating collaboration zones, setting dedicated desks, creating private rooms, etc.
- Gather continuous feedback.
Remember to gather continuous feedback from your employees by creating a platform for your employees to share their comments, feedbacks, or ideas of improvement at any time. Platforms, such as Yammer, Slack, or Teams, can also be considered to collect information.
While the hybrid working model has a lot to offer for both employer and employee, there are things to be prepared and it will take some time to implement. There will also be some changes along the way that require some time to adjust until it can be fully implemented. Whatever model that you think will work for your organization, try to be mindful of implementing it and provide clear communication to your employees. Be open to receive questions, so they can transition smoothly to the new work model.
Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family, and personal needs to become healthier, happier, and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness, and wellbeing services provide information, resources, referrals, and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs. To learn more visit www.workplaceoptions.com.