As the world begins to emerge from the pandemic, employees working from home might be a bit reluctant to return to the office full time. After months of adapting to work from home schedules, returning to an office full time is being deemed unreasonable and prompting people to leave their jobs in high numbers.
A hybrid workplace where you work after a Hybrid work model, combining at-home and in-office time, offers a functional alternative and a better work life balance to companies seeking to optimize their organizational productivity and culture. Here are the top benefits of integrating a hybrid work model into the workplace.
What are hybrid workplaces? What is a hybrid work model?
Back in 2020, employers faced snags in terms of resources to maintain productivity while retaining organizational goals and achieving the desired outcome. The hybrid workplace defines the business model which combines work from anywhere and work from home. This may look different to each company, although it generally involves the onsite presence of core groups.
What is a hybrid work schedule?
The use of technology has made this possible for many companies.
The global workforce is changing which impacts the way we work and how productive employees are. Technological advances, such as video conferencing, have allowed employees to communicate with each other more easily than ever before. The rise in popularity of remote working has made it possible for people to work remotely, sometimes from anywhere in the world.
The hybrid workplace model is a combination of these two types of work styles. It allows for employees to have the best of both worlds; the ability to work remotely from home when they need or want to, and the ability to come into the office when necessary.
There are many benefits to this type of hybrid workplace model. For example, employees have the ability to create their own work/life balance, which can lead to increased productivity and satisfaction. In addition, this type of hybrid model can also help to reduce workplace costs for employers.
There are some challenges that need to be considered when implementing a hybrid workplace model. For example, employers need to be sure that they have the right technology in place to support working remotely, and that their employees are aware of and understand the company's remote working policy. In addition, both employees and employers need to be clear about what types of work can be done remotely and what needs to be done on-site in the office.
Overall, the hybrid workplace model is a great way for employers to support their employees' work/life balance, while also reducing workplace costs. With the right planning and implementation, this type of hybrid workplace can be a success for both employers and employees.
What impact does hybrid work have on company culture?
Human beings seek connections. Covin-19 triggered new ways of communicating and a funny thing happened to company culture and communication as we moved on. A recent survey shows that most employees prefer working with colleagues like a friend. COVID pushed business culture away from rigid communication structures towards fluid communication methods. Adapting to remote workforces was crucial for sustaining momentum throughout the pandemic - from Zoom calls in the kitchen to chat messages while walking.
There are a few things that business leaders should think about as they move forward with their communication strategies in a post-COVID world. Here are some key considerations:
1. Encourage Informal Communication
The most important thing you can do as a leader is to encourage informal communication. This means creating an environment where employees feel comfortable talking to one another without having to go through a chain of command.
2. Foster a Sense of Teamwork
Remote work can sometimes feel isolating, so it’s important to foster a sense of teamwork among employees. This can be done by organizing team-building activities or setting up chat groups where employees can share ideas and collaborate.
In a virtual environment, it’s more important than ever for employees to be constantly learning. Leaders can promote a culture of learning by encouraging employees to take online courses or read books on topics related to their job.
4. Encourage Transparency
Transparency is key in a virtual environment. Leaders should encourage employees to share information with one another and be open to feedback.
5. Celebrate Successes
It’s important to celebrate successes in a virtual environment, and leaders can do this by highlighting employee achievements on social media or sending out congratulatory emails.
Why do employees prefer hybrid workplaces?
Even when the pandemic struck, employees valued flexibility within their jobs. It's always been more essential to Millennials than a career or pay. Those changes show an evolving view of how employees see work. The next generation of workers will dominate this demographic soon. They will want to work where they feel comfortable and have the ability to be themselves. For this reason, many experts are predicting that the future of work is in hybrid workplaces.
A hybrid workplace is a workplace that offers a combination of traditional office settings and remote work arrangements. This gives employees more flexibility in how they complete their work. They can choose to come into the office when they need to be there for face-to-face meetings or collaboration. But they can also work from home when they need to focus on individual tasks or if they have personal commitments.
There are many benefits of a hybrid workplace for employees. One is that it gives them more control over their work-life balance. They can structure their days in a way that works best for them, which can lead to a better work-life balance overall.
Another benefit of a hybrid workplace is that it can lead to increased job satisfaction. When employees feel like they have more control over their work, they are generally happier and more satisfied with their jobs. Something that also often leads to increased productivity and engagement.
How to safely return to a hybrid work environment following a Global Pandemic
Mental health and hybrid workplace models
It’s no secret that depression rates peaked during the pandemic. This is related to feelings of fear, loss, grieving and isolation.
According to the Harvard Business review studies in cognitive psychology and neuroscience explain that human cognitive function is dependent on how and where we process signals. With work taking place online, the environmental component of cognitive processing is non- existent, limiting our ability to understand, connect and empathize with one-another. Online meetings eliminate the possibility of spontaneous human moments, which characterize us and allow us to practice full multi dimensional expression, including non-verbal cues. While the task driven nature of video conferencing can be productive in some areas, it generally creates a poor foundation for relationship building—a key factor in mitigating depression.
Facilitating in-person work scenarios help establish relationships, which foster commitment, support and trust amongst teams. These relationships are at the base of maintaining positive mental health and the hybrid work model creates opportunities for relationships to thrive.
Safety when returning to a physical workplace
The pandemic is not fully over, and this means that employees’ concern for safety protocols is at an all-time high. A survey conducted amongst remote workers and global company leaders concluded that 92% of employees had safety concerns about returning to the office. Integrating platforms like Flowscape to help manage desk management, room booking, times, and general workflow to help curb the effects of COVID-19 can help ensure the overall safety of the workplace.
Cost Reduction with remote employees
One of the main advantages of the hybrid model is the opportunity to reduce costs. The number of desks, spaces, supplies and utilities can all be managed to maintain a low overhead cost. Employees also have an opportunity to save money in avoiding the work commute on a daily basis, and often work from the comfort of their personal laptops as opposed to company hardware.
Improved Productivity with a hybrid work model
Flexibility and the option of having a hybrid workplace and the possibility of remote work propel productivity and company culture. The more satisfied the employees are, the greater productivity they will yield. According to Gartner, the hybrid workplace model allows employees to participate in the synchronous and asynchronous working styles which provide the balance needed for a successful hybrid workplace and to be as productive as possible.
The list of perks continues. As 2021 came to a close, it was expected to see different versions of a hybrid workplace model more frequently as they are a viable solution to exiting the pandemic smoothly and catering to employee needs and the ability to remote work and find a better work-life balance. If you’d like to get started on implementing a hybrid work model for a hybrid workplace at your place of work, feel free to engage in a Flowscape demo here
What's the future of hybrid work?
Conversations about working in a hybrid workplace will most likely rise quite a bit in 2022. In addition to a rising need for digital skills, the growing hybrid workplace has been predicted to increase by as much as 50% across Europe and the United States in the coming years. The possibility of hybrid workplaces only scratches the surface. The future of work will be even more interesting and complex as we continue to face disruptions from new technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), the gig economy, and globalization.
A study by Randstad Sourceright in 2018 showed that almost 50% of companies are already using a hybrid workforce model. The number is estimated to grow to 70% by 2022. The study also showed that 85% of companies believe that a hybrid workforce is the future of work. The benefits of using a hybrid workforce are many. They include increased agility, improved employee retention, and the ability to access the best talent from anywhere in the world.
The way work is done is changing, and there's no going back. Those who are able to keep up with the ever-changing demands of the hybrid workplace will be successful in the years to come. Are you ready?