Many organizations are contemplating the best ways to transition employees back into their offices this year after most of them spent a significant part of 2020 working from home.
Hybrid work models have become a key component of the reopening plans of many businesses. Google is one of the first corporations to express its plans to use a hybrid return-to-work model come September. This plan will see employees report to work for at least three days a week onsite and the rest of the days remotely.
According to a PWC survey, many people expect the hybrid workplace model to take shape soon, depending on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is why you should consider switching your company to a hybrid workplace model. Here’s a look at some essential elements of this model.
- Understanding the Hybrid Workplace Model
- Pros of a Hybrid Workplace
- Cons of a Hybrid Workplace
- Implementing a Hybrid Workplace Model
- In Conclusion
Understanding the Hybrid Workplace Model
A hybrid workplace is a business model that combines office work with remote work. There are many forms of hybrid work. Some organizations implement teleworking once per week. In other companies, there’s more balance between telework and office work.
Additionally, the hybrid work model can work with other models such as smart office, co-working, and flex office. Therefore, remote employees who operate on the hybrid approach don’t need to have offices on an organization’s premises.
This means their working hours and space are more flexible compared to employees who are working on site. For example, a remote employee doesn’t have to work full time. As a result, these employees are more productive than workers who operate from the office.
The hybrid workplace is an integration of physical and digital workspaces, commonly referred to as physical work. This is not a new concept and has been used in the past in the retail industry.
It creates a physical shopping experience in the store and a digital shopping experience in an e-commerce site. In the corporate world, the physical concept facilitates collaborative work between teams, whether working on-site or remotely.
Pros of a Hybrid Workplace
1. Improved Productivity
One of the benefits of a hybrid work model is that it emphasizes productivity and not efficiency. In the past, employers focused on having a large portion of the distributed workforce at the office, emphasizing the hours worked to maximize efficiency. Management would assess the completion of projects based on the number of work hours inputted.
With the hybrid model, it’s essential to delegate responsibilities to remote workers and determine how much they have achieved on any given day.
Besides, this model places a lot of emphasis on talent and capabilities, which translates to improved productivity. Management focuses on boosting productivity by supporting workers with the resources they need.
The hybrid workplace approach allows employers to utilize workforce scheduling tools to manage institute breaks, shift rotations, and manage schedules remotely. Additionally, these innovative tools help team members stay updated on who is responsible for what and their progress every day.
2. Low Operation Costs
Another advantage of the hybrid workplace approach is low operation costs. Since the telework model means fewer employees are working from the office, employers need less office space. This translates to fewer office supplies and rental cost savings.
For example, in the office environment, an employer has to address concerns such as ensuring there are enough snacks for everyone and a water dispenser. Furthermore, a digital workplace means employees spend less time and money commuting to work.
3. Improved Collaboration
An important benefit of the hybrid work model is simplified collaboration. There is a large collection of collaboration technologies that support the hybrid workplace approach. Employees don’t have to be in the same room to collaborate or brainstorm.
Furthermore, there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to online collaboration. The adoption of video conferencing and asynchronous communication allows location-independent meetings. This advanced form of collaboration still retains the feeling of everyone working together in the same place.
Cons of a Hybrid Workplace
1. A Blow to Customer Experience
Hybrid work models have significantly reduced customer experience. Since there’s no need for the customer to physically address their concerns to employees at a workstation, some serious issues may be overlooked. For example, in a bank, customers are accustomed to going to a physical office for specialist services.
2. Employee Isolation
Another downside to the hybrid work model is employee isolation. When employees are working away from each other for a long time, their work bond and camaraderie tend to fade.
Some employees feel lonely and unmotivated because they no longer enjoy the stories and outings of normal working days. The diversity of workers is also a challenge for this model. For example, marginalized workers like women find it difficult to express their opinions.
Implementing a Hybrid Workplace Model
1. Intranet Software
One way of implementing a hybrid workplace is through the innovation of intranet software. This software automates various business processes, such as those involving paper forms.
Intranet also allows communicators to determine whether office employees have read important organization correspondence and announcements.
2. Involvement of Office Employees
Another vital part of implementing a hybrid workplace model is to involve office employees. For instance, companies can use surveys to ask employees about their opinion regarding various aspects of the return-to-work hybrid model. In addition, the use of meeting rooms such as Zoom will ensure employees air their views regarding different issues.
3. Health and Safety Standards
Moreover, a return-to-work scheme should meet all the health and safety regulations. For instance, you should be keen on the number of employees allowed in a workplace. You should also focus on cleaning and hygiene methods, social distancing guidelines, employee communication, and risk assessment.
4. Equal Opportunities
Implementation of a hybrid workplace also involves creating an even playing field for those who work remotely and those who work at the office. This means providing the same opportunities for the hybrid workforce. You should invest the same amount of effort for all your employees.
Video town hall meetings and online collaboration platforms are some ways to ensure all your employees are aware of your shared goals and values. It’s also a great way to make sure employees understand their expectations and what to expect from you.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many corporations have embraced the importance of remote working. As the risk of the pandemic tends to diminish, some businesses are warming up to the idea of adopting a hybrid workplace model.
This isn’t only a smart return-to-work approach for many corporations that had sent their workers to home due to the pandemic, but it’s also the future of work worldwide.