The term hybrid work model has been doing the rounds since the pandemic happened and has now become a part of our daily conversations today.
As the pandemic struck, people spent time working from home, and most have become quite attached to the work-life fulfillment and the flexibility this mode of work offers. While people are increasingly expecting additional flexible ways of working, organizations also seem to be open to this concept. But how can organizations and leaders nurture a productive and constructive culture when employees aren’t in the same office and instead work remotely?
The answer to this problem is a hybrid work model. Read on to understand more about the hybrid work model.
What Is Hybrid Work Model?
A hybrid model of working is where employees are split between remote and in-office locations. This arrangement may mean that only a few essential employees are needed to work from the office while others can choose to work remotely. It may also mean that all employees are free to choose their schedule and work location. However, a successful hybrid work culture is more than just about creating a model around location and hours. The hybrid work model is the mixture of behaviors, workplace systems, and values that cut across remote teams and in-person and impacts the complete employee experience. The hybrid model of working is all about bringing together the different working ways of people.
Different Types of Hybrid Models
Work models signify the standards for an organizations’ day-to-day functioning. They recommend work arrangements that employees are required to stick to, especially related to where the employees work from. The three main types of hybrid work models are:
Remote First Model
In this type of hybrid work model, employees working remotely is the default - be it from their homes or also other non-company spaces. An organization that depends on this model still maintains and holds on to some office space so that employees can sometimes go to the office; however, all the policies and operations align with remote work and its needs. Remote-first organizations generally depend on various tools to support their collaboration and communication and ensure that everyone receives all the information they need on time.
Some organizations do not want to incur a loss due to unused office space or require their employees to come to the office frequently. Such businesses may organize a hybrid model of working that can be described as office-occasional. The office-occasional model requires employees to come into the office at least twice a week. The crux of this model is that the organization keeps an office and requires employees to spend some time in it.
Office-First, Remote Allowed
In an office-first hybrid model, the organization needs its employees to come to the office most of the time while letting them work remotely (generally from home) for a fraction of their working time. Employees are generally allocated a day or two weekly or a few days per month for remote work. In some cases, employees can use this flexibility perk when they need it. In other companies, such remote days are allowed only on a case-by-case basis, based on who is required to be at the office. The goal of all such organizations that follow the office-first model is to offer flexibility as an employee perk.
Why Is It Becoming Popular?
The whole remote work culture has been growing in popularity with the increase in the digitization of work roles, availability of cheaper laptops, and faster internet. Remote work also enables an organization to find the best talent by searching beyond its city/region or also a country. Working remotely also decreases office space costs – which is a huge deal for small business setups. When the pandemic struck, both small and large organizations shifted to remote working.
These organizations were forced to develop their IT infrastructure and processes required to sustain work-from-home. Employees thus continued to work through the whole crisis with no loss of productivity – something that has silenced even the nastiest critics of remote work. But does it make sense for companies to allow working from home as the world opens up?
Benefits/Advantages of Hybrid Work Model
Following are the benefits of a hybrid work model:
Increased Employee Satisfaction and Productivity
With the increased flexibility of a hybrid work model, employees generally feel more vested to capitalize on their strengths, which has a constructive impact on their efficiency.
Better Opportunities for Continuous Learning
The hybrid work model enables employees to participate in constant learning outside of their usual workspace.
Enhanced Collaboration and Relationships
As opposed to remote work, a hybrid model of working enables face-to-face collaboration and communication, which encourages healthy team-building and improves collaboration between employees.
Better Outcomes for Mental Health
The work-from-home culture has removed the stress that came with a traditional work model, such as the pressure of investing extra time at the office to meet deadlines, the stress of commuting, and so on.
Disadvantages of Hybrid Work Model
As a coin has two sides, everything has its own pros and cons. Thus, let us understand the cons of a hybrid work model.
- Working remotely can deter an employee’s opportunities for promotions.
- Remote workers tend to work for longer hours which could cause burnout.
- There is a disconnect between the remote and in-office employees.
- Balancing between the days to have employees in the office and the days where employees can work from home could be challenging.
- It takes significant effort to build inclusive and equitable cultures with no partiality between in-house and remote employees.
- Making sure that employees can access the right technologies and tools to do their jobs takes a significant amount of time.
Secrets of a Successful Hybrid Work Model
Here are a few ways that organizations can achieve a successful hybrid work model:
1. Trust Your Employees and Listen to Them
Organizations that have successfully implemented hybrid workplaces are ready to shift from a control leadership style to a more conventional, people-centric style. A style that trusts employees to get the job done from anywhere. Also, to maintain employee fairness and trust, they proactively ask for employee feedback in real-time, which could be through regular pulse surveys, feedback sessions, and so on.
2. Personalize Your Organization’s Hybrid Model
Organization leaders have to do the hard work of understanding what hybrid structure will help their businesses the best. For example, companies such as Ford and Google are asking individual teams to customize the schedules of at-home days and in-office days. Whereas other companies are designating specific in-office days organization-wide.
3. Increase the Number of Fully Remote Roles
Fully remote work decreases the costs of maintaining office space and also increases employee output.
4. Create Equality Between In-person and Remote Employees
When employees are scattered, it is very easy to ignore those who do not get much face time with management. Successful hybrid leaders ensure that all employees are considered for promotions and projects and ensure that no one is left behind.
5. Offer Clarity to Your Employees
As we begin this new normal of a hybrid model of working, it is important for employers to offer consistency and clarity to their employees. This not only helps with employee engagement and productivity but also improves the well-being of all working in the organization.
How to Implement a Successful Hybrid Work Model
To implement a hybrid model of working successfully, there are some key factors to consider:
1. Create Clear Procedures and Policies
Organizations must develop procedures and policies that enable their staff to transition to hybrid working easily. For example, update a flexible working policy you already have in place or create a new one.
2. Understand the Legal Implications of Transitioning to Hybrid Working
Organizations need to understand the legal implications of hybrid working. This means making a formal change of your organization’s terms and conditions of employment.
3. Make Interaction Between Your Staff Easy
How leaders communicate within the business and between teams influences the success of a hybrid working model.
4. Include Training and Development Into Your Hybrid Model of Working
Hybrid working has new demands on the entire workforce and brings unique challenges with it. An organization must develop a learning and development curriculum to help ensure the workforce productivity.
5. Ensure Your Employees Have the Right Equipment and Technology to Succeed
Irrespective of the hybrid work model you choose, the workforce should be able to work seamlessly between the office and home.
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We are at a crucial point in history where a reflective shift in how and from where we work has started, and there is no turning back. As a result of this intrinsic need for flexibility, freedom, and face-to-face interaction, a hybrid work model is the best solution for organizations looking to adapt to a post-pandemic world. However, developing a successful hybrid workplace that fosters productivity, collaboration, and growth will need careful planning and preparation as businesses continue to adapt and evolve to the uncertainties of the future.
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