Interested in the hybrid workplace model?
Many employees would prefer to work from home full-time, even after the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.
However, firms need to have at least a few members in the office to upload files to the system server, meet clients, attend urgent team meetings, etc.
Fortunately, companies have started to introduce a work arrangement that satisfies every employees’ requirements — the hybrid workplace model.
This article includes:
(Click on the link to go to a particular section)
- What is a Hybrid Workplace Arrangement?
- 6 Key Advantages of a Hybrid Workplace Model
- 3 Major Challenges of a Hybrid Workplace Model
- How to Structure Your Workplace for a Hybrid Team
- How can You Help Your Employees with the Transition
Let’s get started.
What is a hybrid workplace arrangement?
A hybrid workplace is a working model that combines both office and virtual work.
In other words, you’ll have team members working from home, office, or both. Your team may also have employees working from a co working space.
Additionally, some employees can work from home a few days each week and report to the office once a week if necessary.
6 key advantages of a hybrid workplace model
According to PwC, almost 55% of US employees now want to work remotely at least three days a week.
Another survey conducted by Global Workplace Analytics reported that 25-30% of the total workforce would follow a hybrid workplace arrangement post-pandemic.
Business leaders like Microsoft have accepted the new reality of a hybrid work model. According to their hybrid workplace policy, its corporate employees can work from anywhere.
But why are teams shifting to hybrid workplaces?
Teams prefer the hybrid workplace model because of its benefits. Let’s take a look at them:
1. Better employee experience
According to Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends, 80% of business and HR leaders believe that positive employee experience is important to them.
Here’s how a hybrid workplace model improves employee experience:
- Helps maintain a good work-life balance.
- Develops a smooth relationship with co-workers.
- Offers freedom during work.
Additionally, a survey conducted by Hibob shows that 65% of hybrid employees were satisfied with their jobs, while only 53% of those working onsite exclusively were happy.
This is a good sign as high employee satisfaction leads to increased employee efficiency and productivity.
2. Saves money
The hybrid workplace model helps both your team members and the organisation save money:
A. How employees save money
Onsite employees spend a good part of their salaries commuting to work.
They also spend time traveling back and forth between home and office. Employees who are paid based on their billable hours can lose out some money as they might not clock in enough hours.
The hybrid work environment allows your employees to work from home most days and helps them save the money they usually spend on commuting.
Additionally, hourly employees can get more time to work and consequently earn more.
B. How firms reduce expenses
An organization spends a lot of money on renting offices and maintaining them.
With fewer employees coming to the office, your organization won’t have to spend on real-estate or restock office supplies like snacks, papers, etc.
Your firm can also save money spent on electricity by allowing employees to work together in one room – rather than the entire office space.
3. Sustainable work system
The hybrid workplace model is one of the safest and most effective work arrangements during a pandemic.
The on-site system makes it difficult for your team to follow social distancing. It can put your team members at the risk of being infected.
And the remote work system makes it hard for employees to collaborate due to ineffective communication between team members.
The hybrid workplace model brings the best of both worlds together and is crisis resilient.
This way, your distributed workforce is less prone to get infected. Additionally, the hybrid workplace model enables your team to meet at the office only when they need to discuss critical situations.
4. Ability to collaborate from anywhere
The on-site working system helps teams collaborate and make important decisions face-to-face.
However, in a hybrid workplace system, your team members can make plans or brainstorm solutions over a video call.
This way, your team members can collaborate and make effective decisions from anywhere in the world.
5. Higher employee productivity
The hybrid environment enables your team members to work however they choose.
In the on-site work model, employees have to work from the confines of the office, which they may not enjoy. On the other hand, a completely remote team may not perform up to its potential due to the lack of strong bonds between its team members.
In a hybrid model of work, your team members can work from the comforts of their home and interact with their team occasionally to build strong relationships.
6. Promotes digital transformation
Technological advancement and hybrid workplace systems depend on each other.
When teams shift to a digital workplace model due to the Coronavirus outbreak, they’ll adapt to it as the ‘new normal.’
This transformation will make task automation easy and accelerate technological development.
Firms will invest and use modern tech tools for seamless communication, effective project planning, etc., to develop a successful hybrid workplace.
Your organization will be a step ahead of its competitors as it would be adapting to cutting-edge technology because of this new arrangement.
3 major challenges of a hybrid workplace model
Let’s take a look at some challenges you might face while shifting to a hybrid workplace:
1. Diminished client experience
You’ll have to make sure clients are happy and satisfied with your work, as it ensures they’ll come back for your services in the future.
You can provide an amazing client experience by prioritizing their needs, solving their problems immediately, etc.
However, these strategies are easy only if your team members work in the office as it’s easy to meet clients and discuss their needs.
In a hybrid working model, your remote team members may find it difficult to keep up with on-demand face-to-face client meetings.
Although video conferencing and Webex assistant will help conduct meetings, it’ll reduce the meeting quality as it lacks the human touch. Additionally, a poor internet connection or software glitches during the meeting can negatively affect the client or user experience.
2. Increased employee isolation
In a hybrid workplace model, your remote worker may engage in conversations only with few colleagues.
Over time, your employees may feel isolated and detached from the rest of the team. This may negatively affect employee engagement and reduce their will to work.
You can solve this problem by conducting video meetings regularly. This will help your team members establish a trustworthy relationship.
3. Power disparity
Your on-site employees spend more time in the office space and consequently have better access to information.
Additionally, they may have a good relationship with the team leaders who may come to the office regularly.
Unlike on-site employees, your remote team members may not get frequent work updates. This may demotivate them and make them feel less involved in the team.
You can prevent this from happening by updating your remote employees via messages or video calls. You can also assign an office employee to keep your remote employees up to date with the latest work policies, guidelines, or updates.
How to structure your workplace for a hybrid team
You can make a few modifications in your workplace design when your team uses a hybrid workplace model.
Here a few ideas to get you started:
1. Install call booths
Your onsite and remote team members may have to talk to each other every day to plan projects, make decisions, etc.
Your team members can be interrupted by noise or other colleagues as they might not have a private physical space for such meetings.
You can install small soundproof booths for your team members so that they can discuss without interruptions. These booths will help your on-site team members concentrate, plan, collaborate and execute tasks with your remote team.
2. Flex desking
With a hybrid workplace model, you can downsize your office space, as not everyone will be working at the office every day.
But if many employees turn up on the same day, your office may not have the required supplies like chairs, tables, etc. This may discourage your employees from coming to the office at all.
To prevent overcrowding, you can introduce flex desking.
With flex desking, your team members will have to book a table for themselves the day before they go to the office. This way, everyone can know how many desks are available for the next day.
You can prevent overbooking and ensure that everyone has the necessary resources at the hybrid office.
3. Install maps
A hybrid workplace model can have team members who rarely come to the office.
They may not know where to find equipment like the printer or rooms like the conference room or meeting room.
You can guide these employees by installing maps that show employees where to find a particular item or a room and how to reach it. This way, your employees will feel comfortable in the office environment.
How can you help your employees with the transition
Hybrid workplace model is the future of work – so your team has to transition to it sooner or later.
As the team leader, you need to ensure that your team members settle into the new arrangement with ease.
Here are a few tips that will help you guide your team members through the transition:
1. Educate employees about hybrid workplace system
It’s necessary that your employees know the ins and outs of hybrid work.
They should realize that work-life will be different for employees in on-site and remote work systems. Educate them about the problems their team members may face in these models.
This way, they can empathize with each other and improve collaboration.
For example, your on-site employees should know that your remote employees may have to take breaks more often, as they need to manage household responsibilities. As a result, your field staff won’t be frustrated if remote employees are unreachable from time to time.
2. Set guidelines and policies
Your hybrid worker may feel that they receive unequal treatment.
Your onsite team members may not have a flexible work-life like your remote employees. They may have to reach the office on time and can’t work from home.
Similarly, your remote employees may work for longer hours as they don’t have to spend time commuting.
You can solve this problem by setting common rules for all your team members and educating them about the firm’s policies.
For example, you can ask all your employees to start working before a fixed time. You can also ensure that they work for a maximum number of hours every day.
3. Provide proper communication tools
Efficient communication between your team members ensures smooth workflow and a good team culture.
Hybrid teams may find it hard to communicate with each other due to the distance between them. They may not be able to build relationships that are required to work together as a team.
So, how can you help?
Ensure that they engage in group video calls like Zoom Happy Hours. You can also schedule one-on-one video meetings for all your team members so that they get to know each other personally.
4. Get together occasionally
Your onsite team members can take breaks together and bond with each other outside work.
However, your remote team members can’t do the same and may not develop a strong relationship with their on-site or remote colleagues.
You need to bring all your hybrid team members together and encourage them to spend time in team building activities when they meet. This way, they can build a strong, sustainable relationship with each other, improving team dynamics and productivity.
5. Use productivity tools
If you’re a team leader who comes to the office regularly, you may be more close to your on-site team members rather than your remote staff.
You may feel your on-site team works more and has higher productivity levels – as you can see them working in real-time. So you might give them a good review during performance appraisal meetings.
On the other hand, your remote team members may not receive a favorable score as you wouldn’t know how productive they are.
Fortunately, you can use software like Time Doctor to measure your remote team’s productivity.
Time Doctor is an employee productivity tracking software that will help you track your employees’ work hours. Used by small businesses as well as huge firms, Time Doctor helps you manage your remote team members easily.
Here’s a quick look at Time Doctor’s best features:
- Tracks time manually or automatically.
- Provides detailed productivity reports available for every day, week, or month.
- Takes screenshots and video recordings of employees’ monitors.
- Offers integrations with premium software like Asana, Bitrix 24, etc.
- Offers a Chrome extension and is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac devices. It also provides a mobile app for Android devices.
Many teams around the world are adopting a hybrid workplace system due as it offers a lot of advantages for employers and employees.
If you’re also planning to do the same, it’s important that you and your team learn about the hybrid workplace system.
With the right tools like Time Doctor, your team can easily adapt to this new system and be more productive and efficient.
Sign up for Time Doctor’s 14-day free trial and boost your hybrid team’s performance today!
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.