Looking for the right work models to maximize employee efficiency?
The COVID 19 pandemic caused a strategic shift in business operations across the globe.
And from bidding goodbye to office cubicles to creating a personalized home office, employees and organizations are now adapting to new work models.
In this article, we’ll explore the various work models. We’ll then help you determine which work model aligns perfectly with your business goals and objectives.
This article covers:
(click on the link to jump to a specific section)
- What Are Work Models?
- What Are The Different Types Of Work Models?
- How To Optimize The Hybrid Work Model?
- 3 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Work Model
Let’s get started.
What are work models?
Work models determine how a particular organization functions daily.
It defines the strategy and working arrangements for employees to follow.
Different organizations have been experimenting with various work models to test their effectiveness. Some have asked their staff to return to the physical office, while some have rolled out new guidelines for WFH (work from home.)
And a few businesses have allowed their employees the luxury of choice – between working from home comfortably or commuting daily to a well-sanitized office space.
What are the different types of work models?
Let’s explore the three popular work models:
1. Fully remote
In a remote work model, freelancers and full-time employees can work from anywhere they want — a nearby cafe, a public library, or their own home.
They can also travel around the world while working remotely (with access to strong WiFi).
You could even adopt a freelance model, where your entire team consists of freelance contractors that work remotely.
Additionally, time tracking tools and online productivity platforms enable any team leader to regulate work effectively. Team members in different geographic locations and time zones can work together towards common goals with ease.
1. Eliminates the daily commute
Avoiding the hassles of daily travel is one of the biggest rewards of remote work – especially when the world’s biggest, busiest cities like New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Delhi report terrible traffic conditions.
The energy and time saved can be channeled into work instead, which contributes to the organization’s development.
2. Flexible schedule
As it offers full time employees the freedom of working from anywhere, millennial employees highly prefer this new model.
Remote working also offers better control over your team’s personal schedule.
Rather than restricting themselves to the nine to five schedule, remote employees can work when their productivity or creativity is at its peak.
Such flexible work models help any employer attract and retain talented employees.
3. Improved health and wellness
Remote employees can take better care of themselves when they’re not restricted by stringent rules. They can even accommodate a doctor’s appointment on a typical workday.
Moreover, by working from home, employees also reduce the risks of contracting COVID-19.
Additionally, many employees show lower stress levels when they’re able to function independently – as they’re not pressured by their team leader.
4. Diversity of talent
Remote working opens up better opportunities for a candidate as well as an employer.
Employers can easily find highly suitable and skilled candidates from anywhere in the world.
And as long as employees have a stable WiFi connection, they can contribute efficiently from any corner of the world.
1. Heavy reliance on technology
In the absence of a physical office, remotely working companies rely on sophisticated technology and virtual communication.
Even a single case of malfunctioning WiFi or technologically impaired employees can reduce the work model’s effectiveness.
2. Can affect work-life balance
The lines between personal and professional life are often blurred for remote employees. Taking breaks and setting boundaries often become a challenge.
Constant digital connectivity makes the workday extend way beyond the established working hours – leading to employee burnout.
3. Personal distractions
When they’re away from the work environment of a physical office, employees in remote work models are surrounded by multiple distractions.
From running personal errands to browsing social media, the list is endless.
4. Lack of supervision
Some employees tend to be more proactive and diligent in the presence of senior executives. In such a case, flexible work models may make a remote worker more likely to procrastinate.
Moreover, in a remote setup, some employers often don’t share information across teams. This can cause informational silos, which can be detrimental to productivity and employee engagement.
2. Working from the office
In this work model, employees are expected to log in at certain hours from a dedicated workspace.
Working from the office helps build team spirit as colleagues can easily turn to one another for quick, professional advice.
This is especially true for employees involved in social work. Also, the duties of a social worker require their presence in the office more often than the employees at tech companies.
From consulting with a fellow worker to reporting project status to the manager – such an environment helps team members stay on the same page. It also promotes a strong company culture by making room for healthy side conversations.
1. Easier communication
Conference calls cannot beat the impact of direct conversation.
Even workplace conflicts can be tackled with better success using narrative therapy in this work model.
2. On-the-spot decisions
The decision-making process is also accelerated when employees are readily available for a face-to-face discussion.
This way, you can avoid wasting time waiting for a reply to an email.
3. Time management
Following this work model establishes a certain discipline and a common work ethic over a period of time.
It helps everyone understand the importance of professional skills like punctuality and time management.
4. Better collaboration
Isn’t consulting a colleague way better than pondering over a problem all alone?
In an office, employees have access to all kinds of resources – from sophisticated computer systems to experienced associates. This may quicken their pace of work progress.
1. Reluctant workforce
During the pandemic, many got accustomed to remote working, which gave them the liberty to work as per their own schedule. This way, they could also make time for personal interests.
There’s a high chance of employees exhibiting withdrawal symptoms when asked to return to their workplaces.
This lack of enthusiasm can have a detrimental effect on the work.
2. Safety concerns
Employees may feel more vulnerable working in confined areas and sharing the space with several colleagues. Here the scope for social distancing is very slim.
From punching in, to using door knobs, employees share common touching surfaces which can increase the risk of Coronavirus infections.
3. Corporate politics
Foul play and favoritism within a particular organization are more prominent when employees are working closely together.
Additionally, it’s easier to form groups or team up against a new member in this setup.
3. Hybrid work model
In a hybrid work model, some employees are assigned to work remotely and some work in an office space.
Even a company like IBM is exploring this work model.
Employees can either avail a mix of both options or follow the set rules as directed by management.
Ideally, an employer may identify departments that are required to come into the office.
For example, marketing teams whose work can continue online may work from home. But sales and servicing teams whose majority of work involves dealing with clients may need to come to the office.
The team leader should have a strategy in place before venturing into a hybrid model.
1. Boosts productivity
Under the hybrid model, employees can use the office space for team collaboration. On the other hand, they can also function independently from home.
Such flexible work models can enhance employee productivity by allowing them to work in their most productive hours and environment.
Naturally, it has a positive impact on the overall organizational performance.
2. Maintenance cost savings
With alternate teams attending the office each day, organizations can do away with designated cubicles. Few employees coming to the office would mean less usage of office space and lower rent.
With a smaller onsite staff, even cleaning and maintenance bills are likely to reduce.
3. Improved work-life balance
Remote work is not necessarily more relaxing than working from the office. The time slot of nine to five is followed only in theory.
In reality, the work hours tend to stretch beyond this duration – employees are expected to respond to urgent emails even after work hours.
So, hybrid work models aim to provide more balance for employees as they include fixed working hours – so employees can log off at a reasonable hour.
This improved work-life balance also reflects positively on their mental health.
1. Synchronization issues
The initial stage of hybrid work is often characterized by delay and disruption.
With half the hybrid team functioning from home and the other half from the office, establishing a seamless workflow may be challenging.
Procrastination by even a couple of members can affect the progress of the entire team.
For instance, when a remote team member responsible for preparing a presentation starts late, an in-house employee who has to present it to the client may have less time to review it.
Such incidents may bring down the team morale and performance.
2. Communication gap
Clarification of doubts and following up on tasks can make the job tedious and tiresome.
With part of the team on-site and the rest being off-site, team discussions also suffer a major setback as they have to rely on video calls. Employees may not be able to read their colleagues’ body language — leading to miscommunication.
3. Cyber security
Since all the employees rely on the internet for all their work — they may be putting your company’s data at risk. If they’re not using a secure internet connection, their files can be stolen by hackers.
How to optimize the hybrid work model?
Organizations are on the lookout for suitable professional models that allow employee flexibility while boosting productivity.
With a shared purpose and strong teamwork, here’s how an organization can make the most of a hybrid work model:
1. Measure productivity
Regardless of where a particular employee may be functioning from, companies can ensure that the productivity levels don’t dip.
They can introduce real-time performance measuring tools like Time Doctor.
What’s Time Doctor?
Time Doctor is a powerful time tracking and performance management tool used by major companies as well as by small businesses to boost productivity across the organization.
With Time Doctor, companies can keep their employees accountable towards their tasks.
Here are some of its robust features:
- Comes with a manual as well as an automatic time tracking feature.
- Create and assign tasks and projects to employees.
- Generates work activity summary and other detailed reports that give you insight into employee productivity.
- Create and manage employee work schedules and track attendance.
- See what employees are doing in real-time with screencasts.
- Pay your employees directly with Paypal, Wise, and Gusto integrations.
2. Increase team effectiveness
When team members share common values and a vision, they can accomplish every task easily.
They can choose from various project management tools to stay in touch.
From discussing timelines to meeting deadlines, businesses around the world can use these tools to function efficiently.
Some of the best project management tools include:
- Microsoft projects: Allows for efficient organization of work and comes with highly customizable schedules.
- Evernote: Helps build a wide knowledge base that can be accessed by the entire company.
- Slack: With its easy-to-use instant messaging features, employees can connect with colleagues and resolve their queries.
3. Plan meetings in advance
In a hybrid working model, it’s essential to note everyone’s availability before scheduling a meeting. The meeting’s agenda should be very clear.
This will ensure productive use of everyone’s time.
On the other hand, miscellaneous doubts, project updates, etc. can be communicated via a project management platform.
In short, executives should carefully assess if a particular Zoom call is absolutely necessary or can be handled via email.
3 factors to consider when choosing a work model
Choosing the right work model that employee efficiency isn’t that easy.
Although many companies consider the hybrid model the future of work, it may not be feasible for everyone. Organizations must decide on the best model for their business.
Here’s what you’ll need to consider:
1. Team size
How many employees will work from home, and how many will punch in and out of work premises?
The management should understand the roles and responsibilities of each department. This way, they can accurately determine whether it’s more fruitful to have them at the office or home.
2. Stage of growth
Is the organization a growing startup, an established multinational corporation, or somewhere in between?
A multinational corporation will be well-equipped financially to implement a hybrid work model. Whereas, a newly formed start-up may lack the economic resources to smoothly sustain a hybrid work model.
3. Timeline of transition
Organizations willing to restructure workspaces must take into account their employees’ concerns. A sudden shift without prior information may lead to a negative employee experience and workflow disruption.
You could consider implementing practice models for the team to become accustomed with new ways of working.
They must be given more freedom and time to adjust to the chosen working model gradually.
Giving employees a chance to prepare themselves ensures that the work quality stays unaffected and they adapt to new norms quickly.
While remote and hybrid work models are economically viable for both the employee and organization, not all companies may be able to adopt it as a long-term work arrangement.
As discussed above, every work model comes with its own set of challenges as well as opportunities.
That’s why employees and managers must come together to decide the best work model for their business.
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.