Working on your return-to-office approach? Starting to consider a hybrid work model?
As we’re beginning to return to office spaces, a hybrid work environment may be the best way to do so.
We’ve experienced a drastic departure from the traditional work model due to the COVID pandemic. Gone are the days when employees reported to their designated space five days a week.
According to a Harvard Business School survey of about 1500 professionals, 61% want to work from home two to three days a week, whereas 27% would like to work remotely all of the time. Just 18% want to go back to the office full time.
Most businesses have taken several work-from-home (WFH) initiatives and these initiatives don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
However, some businesses might still benefit from having an on-premise crew.
If you’re a little unsure about what a hybrid model is and how you can transition to one smoothly, then this guide is for you.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
What is a hybrid work model?
The variations of the hybrid work model
What are the pros and cons of a hybrid work model?
How to make the hybrid model work
Real-life hybrid work model examples
Consider going remote-first
Ready? Let’s get started.
What is a Hybrid Work Model?
A hybrid work model is a plan wherein employees work partly from home and partly from the office. For instance, employees work from home for two or three days a week and the rest of the week from the office.
A company that has adopted the hybrid work model might also allow its employees to work fully remote or on-premise.
A hybrid work model has many variations. Companies seem to adopt the following variations of the hybrid model:
- employees can work remotely and on-premise part of the week.
- they can work either full-time remote or full-time on-premise.
- a combination of the above two.
Let’s look at some of the popular variations adopted by companies of all sizes.
What are the Variations of the Hybrid Work Model?
The three popular hybrid work model structures are:
- Office-first, remote allowed
When a company takes a remote-first approach, it acts as a fully remote company with employees working from home and spread out across multiple time zones.
But the company decides to keep its office space for different reasons. Here are some reasons why a company would want to keep its office space:
some companies choose to keep their office as space for those employees who value it.
others require some employees to continue working out of the office.
The Office-occasional approach is adopted by those companies that aren’t sold on remote work yet.
For some reason, they’re eager to get back to the office. 🙂
This approach requires employees to work out of the office a few times a week.
For instance, employees work two days a week from the office and spend the rest of the week working remotely.
Companies that adopt this approach typically tend to keep an office and require most of their workforce to spend some time in it.
And since employees are required to work from the office occasionally, the workforce is mostly local rather than distributed.
Office-first, Remote Allowed
This was the common approach before Covid-19. In this approach, the entire workforce uses one main office as the primary place for working.
This model might also offer a remote-work policy and allow a few employees to work remotely.
The one downside to this approach is that remote employees can end up feeling like second-class citizens.
This can negatively impact their productivity and lead to poor retention & performance.
What are the Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Work Model?
Here are some benefits of a hybrid work model:
- The biggest advantage of adopting this model is that you would be able to put together a team of highly talented individuals. You’re now open to hiring people across the globe and that makes it easy to put together a team of people with exceptional skills.
- When most of your employees work from home, you reduce exposure to illness, which may result in fewer sick days.
- When you give employees the ability to work where and when they’re most productive, you let them work to their strengths and raise productivity.
- People with certain medical conditions or disabilities will benefit from working remotely.
Just like any approach out there, it isn’t without its downsides:
- Since remote employees work from home, they may feel disconnected or left out from the on-premise team. Also, remote employees may miss out on the many benefits that the on-premise team enjoys.
- When your employees are scattered across different time zones, it can become a challenge for your team to communicate and work together.
- Remote employees do not receive the preferential treatment or faster promotions the on-premise employees enjoy simply because the higher-ups and managers do not get to interact with them or see what they’re up to as much as they do with the on-premise employees.
How to Make the Hybrid Model Work
Here are some steps and best practices your company can take to make this kind of environment work for your company:
Find out what your employees need
Survey your employees to learn their needs and preferences. When you have a clear understanding of their needs, you’ll create a workforce that’s motivated to do their best work.
Provide equal benefits and opportunities for employees
A hybrid work environment can create a feeling that certain employees are treated better than others. To combat this, here are some things you can do:
- let each team member have one-on-one meetings with their managers every week.
- conduct virtual happy hours and company mixers.
The ultimate goal is to offer equal perks to show that they’re appreciated.
Build the necessary infrastructure
You need to create an infrastructure that smoothly bridges the remote and on-premise environments so your employees can effectively work together. It involves investing in technologies like new communication tools and on-premise video conferencing equipment.
Build a virtual community
Apart from the virtual project management tools you already use to track work tasks, you need to build a digital community within your organization. This community can make your remote workforce feel not so isolated and a part of the team.
Gather continuous feedback
Collecting feedback regularly is essential to creating a hybrid work environment that’s ideal for your company
Real-life Hybrid Work Model Examples
Here are some examples of a hybrid work model implemented successfully by some popular companies:
Kissflow, a SaaS company based in Chennai, India, has taken an approach that lets employees work from home for three straight weeks and then work from a central work site for about a week of face-to-face, in-person collaboration.
Quora has adopted a remote-first model. Here’s what their chief executive had to say about the model: “Remote work will be the primary orientation of our company — the default for all choices.”
Google lets individual teams decide on the schedule of when they would prefer to work from home and the office.
Microsoft lets its employees work from home permanently. But they’ll have to give up their office space. Employees who want to work from the office occasionally will have to use a “touchdown” space.
Vanguard Group, one of the world’s largest investment companies, has specific on-premise days companywide. It allows its employees to work from home on Mondays and Fridays.
Consider Going Remote-first
Here are some reasons as to why you need to consider going remote-first or adding more fully remote roles:
- Having to travel or live near an expensive city can be quite a pain. Also, you give them a chance to spend quality time with their families and practice intentional living. This can lead to increased productivity, overall well-being, and loyalty.
- Fewer people working out of the office means businesses spend less money renting office space and have fewer office expenses.
- You have access to a global talent market. This widens the talent pool and bolsters diversity.
- You avoid many of the pitfalls of having your workforce split between remote and office.
A hybrid work model will become even more common as more employees demand flexibility.
Adopting a successful hybrid work model requires careful strategy and planning.
The tips and suggestions in this guide will help you successfully transition to this new model of work.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article!
If you’re looking to survey your employees, you would want to check out SurveySparrow.