Like it or not, the hybrid work model is here to stay.
But we think employees already like it. So, employers are offering remote positions even in the post-pandemic period.
Research suggests that three out of five Fortune 500 brand executives believe that up to 25% of their employees will continue to operate remotely for full-time positions post the pandemic.
So, if you are planning to offer remote positions, there are several things that you must know about the hybrid work model.
We’ll walk you through every detail of the hybrid work model in this article.
Let’s start exploring!
What Is a Hybrid Work Model?
A hybrid work model is the work arrangement in which employees can work from both in-office and remote locations. This arrangement might allow a few essential employees to work from the office while others can operate from remote locations.
The arrangement depends on what job roles can be efficiently performed from remote locations and require employees to visit the office. All in all, employers and employees can discuss and work out the arrangement.
However, for the hybrid work model to succeed, you must ensure that you have the right technologies, systems, and policies. With the right management of remote and in-office employees, you can make the hybrid model work.
Why are Companies Considering the Hybrid Work Model?
Remote work came into the spotlight when the pandemic hit. Every business – small and large- shifted to the remote work culture. The employers had to install suitable systems, create processes, and build infrastructure to keep the work going.
Soon employees became comfortable working remotely. Also, businesses could save on costs with reduced office space and bills.
Employees working remotely during the crisis with no loss in productivity, raised a question – does it not make sense to keep remote working as an option even after the economy opens up?
Reports suggest that 63% of high-growth companies use a hybrid work model. This is a signal that companies keep the remote working option for employees. Hence, the idea of the hybrid model is warming up. Companies are planning a hybrid model to ensure better productivity and employee satisfaction.
Here we’ll tell you why companies are considering the hybrid model.
Better work relationships
The hybrid model lets employees work from the office, not just from remote locations. It helps in collaborating better promotes teamwork and good work relationships. Further, direct communication instead of virtual meetings help make communication better. It enhances trust and motivates the team too. The hybrid model allows the employees to meet and know each other personally.
Improves work-life balance
The hybrid model gives the flexibility to work from the office and home. Employees can choose not to travel the long road to the office, giving them more time for other activities.
Remote working has proved to make employees more productive. Even before the pandemic, studies suggested that remote working could increase productivity. Plus, employees can save a lot of their time and money.
However, it might not apply to all employees as some find it difficult to work from home. There might be distractions deterring employee productivity. So, if you have the hybrid model, you can get the best of both worlds.
No more tiring video-call days
At times, people get virtual burnout from the back-to-back video calls daily. During the lockdown phase, people started with virtual calls, and for many, it was a new experience. But then, too many meetings and interactions over video calls can be exhausting. It might result in poor communication, misunderstanding, and lack of enthusiasm. A hybrid model is perfect here as it can balance virtual and personal meetings.
Access to global talents
As an employer, a hybrid model is highly beneficial. Why so? Because it gives you the chance to access the global talent pool.
The hybrid model opens doors for employees to work from remote locations, and that has always been attractive for employees. The flexible work model allows you to hire employees looking forward to switching from in-office to remote work options.
Hence, with the hybrid model, you can hire relevant talents for job positions beyond the limits of physical distance.
Monitor employee performance with ease
When you have a hybrid workforce, you need to use collaboration tools and platforms to make tracking performance easier.
With these tools, the high-performing employees get better recognition, while supervisors can identify the underperforming ones and help them improve.
Key Points to Consider Before Switching to the Hybrid Work Model
If you are planning to have a hybrid workplace, then there are several factors that you must consider before the switch.
The hybrid working model has advantages and disadvantages. Employers must transition to this model in such a way that maximizes their benefits and reduces the drawbacks.
So, to get the most out of the hybrid working model, you must work towards reducing the challenges.
What can help here?
A well-laid-out plan outlines all responsibilities and accountability, addresses employee well-being, and prioritizes meaningful work.
Several employees across the globe enjoy working remotely. Across geographies, it is in the US that employees are most interested in accessing the remote work option. Nearly a third of the workforce say that they would like to work from home full time.
So, if you want to have a hybrid working model, then you must sure-fire consider these factors as you create the action plan.
Identify the right balance
It is a well-known fact that though several employees enjoy remote work, a workforce population would love to work from their office spaces.
According to research by PwC, 68% of the executives suggest that employees must work from the office for a minimum of three days to retain the company’s work culture. But 55% of the employees prefer working at least three days a week remotely. These viewpoints clearly have the workforce divided into two groups. Thus, there is a need to balance the two.
Employers should identify which employees must work from the office and how many days a week. Plus, managers must also plan when the employees are working remotely to communicate and collaborate over activities effectively effectively.
Paint a clear picture
Employees must understand getting started and preparing for the hybrid working model. Here are a few questions that might help you get some clarity;
- For which job positions working from the office is a must and why?
- How many days should employees work from the office?
- Are there teams that must be present in the office for meetings and collaborations on the same day as the employees?
- What type of meetings require employees to be present in the office and can be virtually conducted?
The answer to these questions will differ from company to company. Most of the answers will depend on what industry the business operates in, the context of the team, the degree of willingness of the employer to implement the hybrid working model, etc.
A proper plan outlining responsibility, policies, systems, etc., will ensure that your remote teams are effectively managed. Once the implementation of the model is done right, you can further make changes in the process as per requirements.
But if you fail to define the hybrid model plan, opting for it might not be a good idea.
In a remote team, there are chances that the employees might feel left out. So, you must be careful about including everyone equally in the team.
During the pandemic, the aspect of diversity and inclusion changed a lot. It might be due to diverse experiences, circumstances, or employee responsibilities.
There could be biases working in different office environments against remote workers. Also, there might be instances where remote employees feel isolated as they are intentionally left out of discussions.
To ensure the inclusion of every employee in the remote team, you must open the communication channels. In a hybrid working model, one must ensure that the communication flow remains intact. Regardless of where the employee is working from, they must be able to voice their opinions, offer suggestions, and participate in team activities.
Data security is another factor you must consider when planning to implement a hybrid work model.
Every company has sensitive information that needs extra security measures. So, when you have a hybrid workforce, ensure that the remote employees have the required security measures, given, they access the confidential data.
Employers must work closely with the IT team to ensure that confidential data is safe and secure.
Before adopting the hybrid working model, consider cybersecurity training, company security systems, software, etc. These are some of the things that are a must for the hybrid model. If you operate in a highly regulated industry, you must consider checking the policies, regulations, contracts before allowing remote working for your employees.
Employers should try embedding the company culture in the office and remote working.
Company culture talks about what the values of the company are. Without personal interaction, it is quite challenging to build a workplace culture. But employers must ensure that the remote work team embraces the in-office expectations and behavior.
To build the hybrid work culture, managers and supervisors can try out mentoring, guiding, and supporting employees in the diverse locations they are working from. This will enable employee growth and the quality of work will become a priority.
Check-in meetings and weekly or even monthly catch-ups are a great way to enhance communication, facilitate inclusion, and create a positive work culture.
Types of Hybrid Work Model you should Know about
Hybrid working models are not always clearly defined. This might result in misconceptions. Hence, we thought of sharing the four ways of categorizing the hybrid working model with you.
You can have all the four hybrid models in your organization, or even implement only one of them. So, here’s the list of the hybrid working model categories.
Office-centric or In-office
The office-centric hybrid model requires the employees to be physically present at the office to perform their jobs. In this model, the working hours are not very flexible. Plus, the chances of working from a remote location are limited.
Your employees might have a day or two at home, but employers prefer the employees be in the office to perform their tasks. This hybrid working model is more like the traditional way of operating a business.
Work from home
The work from home hybrid workplace model is all about switching between home and office. The hybrid model includes employees working flexibly from their homes or other locations and the office desk.
This hybrid working model also allows employees to leave work early and complete the rest of the tasks from home. For example, if your employees need to leave early for a doctor’s appointment, they can leave the office early and put in another shift at home at a later time.
The work from home hybrid workplace model involves switching between working from the office and home. Hence, employees can choose to work a few hours from the office and rest from home.
This hybrid workplace model primarily requires the employees to work from home or remote locations. The option is perfect for the employees who travel for long hours to reach the office, who prefer not to go to the office, and who travel a lot.
The organization’s purpose changes its focus to activity-based sessions when it comes to the remote working model. If an employer implements this hybrid model, there is no need to have additional spaces filled with systems for all employees. Hence, you can spend your resources on business growth.
Employers can also get creative with the available workstations for employees who work from the office. You can create more collaborative workspaces and ensure the best hybrid working environment for the employees.
The distributed work model is the most radical of all the four categories. In this hybrid workplace model, there is no physical workplace or office. In this model, employees can choose to work from anywhere. But they do not have the option of going to an office. For meetings, employees can meet up at cafes or some other place.
Implementing this hybrid working model aims to cut down on the business costs like space rent, utilities, etc. Also, this hybrid model gives the flexibility to work from anywhere. Small companies and start-ups with fewer complexities generally opt for this hybrid workplace model.
How To Make The Hybrid Working Model Succeed?
2020 and most of 2021 were years of remote working. But 2022 will witness the rise of hybrid work models. Most employees will switch between the office and home. Some of them will split the time.
So, there are chances that you will need a hybrid work model to attract employees. So, how will you successfully implement a hybrid workplace model?
Here are some strategies and practices that you might follow.
Work out the collaboration issues
There will be barriers to collaboration. Your remote employees might miss out on the workplace culture, team activities, and spontaneous communication. So, make sure to include your remote team in all your activities. Make them feel important and that they are a part of the organization.
Managers and leaders can create opportunities for remote and in-office teams to interact via video conferencing. They can also organize creative sessions, calls, etc. to allow free-flowing communication and promote inclusiveness.
Protect company data
Employers often hesitate to allow remote working. A major reason behind it is data security.
For a hybrid work model to be successful, you must plan and implement data security and protection measures. The sensitive data is most at risk when employees access them from a system other than the office systems.
So, it is a must for companies to install security software access management tools, and develop policies to ensure safe data accessibility.
Upgrade workplace technology
Another practice you must follow for a successful hybrid work model is upgrading the existing technology.
A hybrid model will need a proper technological upgrade to facilitate smooth working from any remote location. Hence, the companies must invest in communication and collaboration technology and security software.
Manage your hybrid model employees efficiently
One of the most important practices of a hybrid model is employee management. As employers, you must have a proper plan on managing your employees of the hybrid work model.
Several remote employees tend to feel a lack of recognition. They might also feel left out or treated biased because they work remotely. So, offering support to the remote teams and keeping them motivated is a challenge. If you overcome this challenge, your hybrid model will be a success.
Trust your employees
If leaders place their trust in employees, the chances of productivity increase. Employees feel important, and they are much more satisfied at their jobs.
It is challenging to embrace and trust the employee in a hybrid work model just through the screen. So, make sure you evaluate the employees and support them in their work.
Organizations that have successfully implemented a hybrid work model try to transition from a controlling leadership style to a more contemporary, people-centric style that promotes trust and encourages employees to perform better.
In remote work, it is difficult to empathize with people. As a result, remote employees might feel discouraged or even unheard of. So, ensuring proper communication is a must.
Listen to what your employees say and bring them together through virtual meetings, listen to their issues, and help them cope with the changes.
To make your hybrid work model successful, use the tech platforms effectively to minimize isolation and boost communication. To maintain employee trust, provide them with feedback proactively, empower them to speak directly with their supervisors.
Provide equal treatment to the remote and in-office employees
It is easy to miss out on the remote workers in a hybrid work model. Since employees exist in and outside the office, managers might face challenges in treating them equally.
To ensure equal treatment, leaders must ensure that all the employees get equal opportunities. Also, employers must try to offer the same flexibility to on-site and remote workers.
Set clear intentions and goals
When you have a remote team, make sure you discuss and set clear goals for them to follow. Employers must provide the employees with clarity and consistency. It will ensure an increase in productivity and higher employee engagement.
Chalk out plans regarding how the work will get done, how meetings should take place, how to schedule the working days, and how to connect all employees. Such plans ensure creating a consistent experience for everyone in the organization.
The Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Work Model
Now that you know the factors and best practices to consider before implementing a hybrid work model, it is time to know the pros and cons.
A hybrid workplace has its benefits and drawbacks that you must know before the transition. It will help you take advantage of the perks while developing strategies to overcome the drawbacks.
Advantages of a hybrid workplace
Here’s a list of the several advantages of a hybrid workplace.
Access to global talent
With a hybrid work model, you can access talents across the globe. It helps you to build exceptionally skilled teams across the globe. Since geographical distance is not a constraint in this model, your team can work across different time zones to deliver the best results.
In a hybrid workplace, employees get to work to their strengths. Some focus better in the quiet of their homes while others are more productive in the office. The hybrid model offers both options. Hence, you get to enjoy the highest productivity levels of employees.
Accommodate employees with disabilities
With the work from home option, people with disabilities and medical conditions can work from their comfort zones while staying connected with the rest of the team.
When you have fewer employees in the office, you have lesser bills to pay. You can rent a smaller office space, have a lesser number of systems, and cut down on the other business expenses.
Disadvantages of a hybrid workplace
Here’s a list of the disadvantages of a hybrid work model.
Isolated remote employees
Remote working might often result in employees feeling left out or disconnected from the rest of the team. They miss out on the office chit-chats and the happy hours like birthday celebrations, potlucks, etc. As a result, employees might feel demotivated.
If you have remote teams in another time zone, the hybrid work schedule might be a challenging thing to plan. The in-office employees might have to wait for long hours (even a day) to respond to the remote employees. Hence, collaborating over a project might become difficult.
Lack of effortless communication
Unlike in-office employees, communication with remote employees takes a little extra effort. You must consider using tech platforms and tools like Slack, Zoom or Google Meet, emails, etc. to stay connected. It demands both communicating parties to check in on time and has good communication skills.
Though this is not always true, a hybrid workplace might trigger inequality in opportunities for in-office and remote employees. The managers get to interact with the in-office employees regularly, so they might offer faster promotions and extra opportunities. On the other hand, the facetime with remote workers is a lot less, so the chances to climb the success ladder might be lower.
Need A Hand In The Hybrid Workplace Transition? Choose Multiplier
The shift to a hybrid workplace might not be easy. As employers, you must assess your business functions and resources to understand if the model would work.
Also, you must consider the issues that you might face in a hybrid model and how you plan to solve them.
Partnering with Multiplier can make your transition much smoother. You can get help from the PEO to hire and set up your remote work teams. The organization takes good care of employee compensation and the perks that they deserve.
You want a seamless implementation of the hybrid model in your organization. And that’s what Multiplier does!