Change is always around the corner, and the rise of new technology and societal changes have catapulted us into the future. During the ongoing global pandemic, with social restrictions, people were encouraged, or even forced, to work from home. The new normal is no longer a 9-5 workday in the office, and some have started to appreciate working more remotely. It's no wonder hybrid work has become a favorable option in the post-pandemic era. We'll let you in on the latest and explain the hybrid work model in-depth.
The hybrid workplace - what is it?
Before explaining the hybrid work model further, we would like to clarify what a hybrid workplace is. A hybrid workplace is, by definition, a mix of remote work and working in the office. Lately, employees have begun to favor hybrid work since it gives them more autonomy and freedom. Managers find that their staff is able to work more productively, and overhead costs decrease when fewer workers require a seat every day, and less office space is required. Everyone can have their cake and eat it too.
It is a reasonable claim that the hybrid workplace is part of the future and has a place in corporate culture. It contributes to agile and flexible businesses that can face new challenges and scale up or down quickly. According to a report by McKinsey, around 25% of employees can work from home more than once or twice per week.
Can everyone work using the hybrid work model?
The hybrid work model works best in industries where work can be carried out on a computer and employees don't have to be present physically. Different types of hybrid work can include project management, accounting, web development, and content creation. In other words, the white-collar workforce that normally works in city centers will benefit from remote work. When you are not restricted geographically, you have the option to design the life you want, whether it's having a side hustle, living on an island or in a cottage by a lake, or traveling the world.
How does the hybrid workplace model work?
When designing a hybrid work environment and setting up teams for both remote and on-site workers, the processes have to be in place. A hybrid workplace model is created to visualize the shift to a hybrid workplace and to display how different pillars will create strong synergies. The hybrid model relies on three spheres (or sets):
- Remote work, which means that the employee is not present in the office. Remote employees work from the comfort of their own home, in a coffee shop, or even abroad as digital nomads. Their work effort is not linked to their physical location. All they need is access to good wifi and proper equipment such as a laptop and camera. Many companies also use a VPN for security reasons.
- In-person is quite self-explanatory. This is a solution when employees meet up at the office to collaborate with their colleagues and team leaders. They can book a conference or meeting room for a brainstorming session, client meeting, or even a course. People are physically present at the office.
- The third sphere, hybrid, demonstrates a mix between the two examples stated above, and they overlap each other like a Venn diagram. A workplace cannot call itself completely hybrid if employees actually cannot leave the office to work somewhere else. The hybrid work model is helpful when you want to emphasize the benefits and realities of combining both in-person and remote work. It transforms an abstract concept into something concrete to take action.
How can the hybrid work model improve company culture?
As previously stated, hybrid work is a part of the future and the hybrid work model has been actualized by the pandemic, during which people had to self-isolate and work from home. Some managers found that teams performed well while working remotely and saw the benefits of a hybrid work model. When the restrictions were lifted, the hybrid work model ensured that the spread of diseases did not increase, and people could return to the office gradually, safe and sound.
Even though people were interested in working from home, not everyone desired to work 100% remotely. Those who work remotely and cannot come to the office run the risk of feeling isolated, and research, shows that 49% of workers support this statement. Additionally, they may struggle to connect with their colleagues and feel distracted. The annoyance of a messy home or not having a designated workspace at home can have a negative impact on productivity and well-being. Therefore, the hybrid work model ensures that employees have both freedom and security.
More flexibility and team spirit with the hybrid work model
The hybrid work model was designed to fulfill the needs of employees who crave flexibility and a better work-life balance. They may want to take care of their pets, go to the gym during lunch hours, or pick up their kids early from school on Tuesdays. Nevertheless, they wish to come to the office occasionally to socialize and have coffee with their colleagues. Employees have stated that they meet up at work to connect and collaborate. There has been an increase in employee engagement and job satisfaction.
A team is typically composed of individuals with diverse skill sets who need to depend on each other to solve complex tasks. In creative industries, many ideas are generated during brainstorming sessions. At times, different teams, such as IT, HR, and sales, need to attend meetings together.
A pleasant workplace with a hybrid working setup, leads to increased productivity. In the long run, it is hoped that the retention rate will also increase. In today's world, it is more crucial than ever to strengthen the company brand. Your hybrid employees will be proud ambassadors of the hybrid work culture.
Transitioning to a hybrid work model
The transition to a hybrid work model may not always be seamless, but it can be made easier. Instead of expecting employees to figure out the hybrid work life on their own, it is important to provide them with the necessary tools to succeed. This requires the involvement of not only workers, but also managers, IT staff, and HR professionals.
A hybrid work policy
First and foremost, it is important to create a policy for hybrid work. Can all teams work both remotely and in the office? Who needs to be where at a certain time? How do you report absences and how can different deadlines be followed up? Some companies even adopt "remote first" as the standard.
It's also important to regularly gather feedback from different team members to fine-tune the remote policy. Consider scheduling 1-2 briefings every week to get everyone onboard early in the process, and design a hybrid work policy that works for most employees. Set reasonable goals and expectations, and provide continuous feedback to support their success.
Ramp up the office space
Secondly, design an office environment that is suitable for hybrid work. Set up numerous flexible desks or smaller meeting rooms that can be booked in advance. Flowscape offers the possibility to book a desk or a smaller venue with our app. This way, team members can meet up at the office and reserve seats next to each other or meeting rooms for their next brainstorming session. Ensure that there are areas more suitable for deep work and set up lounge areas where people can meet, socialize, and welcome clients.
Provide the right equipment
Another crucial aspect is to ensure that remote workers are using ergonomic chairs and screens at home. You could guide your staff in the right direction and provide them with free or discounted equipment.
Streamlined work processes in hybrid workplaces
The hybrid work model should be based on reliable software, collaboration tools, and IT processes. Design a workflow that facilitates communication and project management. Employees should be able to easily contact each other through chat and visually plan their day, with their daily tasks being somewhat transparent to others, especially if they are in different time zones. Knowing what everyone is working on and how they organize their workday is crucial for effective collaboration.
Hybrid teams are a crucial factor IT
Another means of communication that needs to be streamlined is video software and social media, where people can stay in touch and share their thoughts, ideas, and feelings. You could provide employees who do not work on-site with iPads, headsets, and video cameras to help facilitate effective communication.
Additionally, it is important to ensure that the helpdesk is equipped to support the hybrid work model. A remote employee should not be left to their own devices if they encounter technical issues such as a password that does not work or a VPN that breaks down.
Encourage your hybrid workers: foster a strong company culture
To create a sense of community, consider encouraging employees to participate in team-building activities outside of work, such as playing tennis or football. You could also arrange for them to attend courses together. We tend to have a better understanding of others when we know more about their personal lives. Make remote workers feel included and offer them benefits, such as gift baskets or gym discounts, that are comparable to those given to office-based workers.
In the hybrid work model we trust
The middle way is the best option when it comes to deciding between remote and in-person work. You don't have to choose between one or the other - instead, you can combine both. If you want to provide your hybrid workers with the right tools to plan their day at the office, consider using space planning and optimizing office space. That's where we come in - we provide office apps for hybrid offices and the hybrid workforce.