Most of us are aware of the debate going on in the business world between those who favor a return to full-time office work, and those who argue for the benefits and flexibility of full-time remote work.
While there are companies that will need to choose one over the other, most will find that there’s a lot of middle ground to work with.
That’s where the hybrid workplace model comes in.
The relative novelty of the hybrid workplace model means that there are no hard-and-fast rules for how it should be structured.
While that may seem intimidating at first, it also offers the opportunity to customize a work model with flexibility in mind to ensure that both your company and your employees are getting what they need.
Where to Start
The hybrid workplace model is defined as one that combines in-person office work and remote work with an emphasis on flexibility.
There have been several attempts to pin down the different “forms” of a hybrid model, but it mostly comes down to two things:
- How flexible you can afford to be with your scheduling
- How much autonomy you can reasonably grant your employees
Your employees might be most productive with a fully flexible schedule and one required in-office day per week.
Or, collaboration and other factors might make it necessary to offer only one or two days of remote work every week.
By the same token, you might be able to give your employees assignments and turn them loose to execute, or a strict deadline and multi-step project might require regular check-ins and updates.
Either way, the best place to start is by identifying the needs of your company and the desires of your employees. Then, find a way to strike a balance between scheduling and autonomy that will work for most everyone.
Flexible Office Layout
An unexpected factor to consider in a hybrid workplace is the physical layout of the office itself, including office size, lighting, and furnishings.
In a hybrid workplace, you might have meetings where some team members are able to attend in person while others will need to attend virtually. For this reason, it’s beneficial to have modular furniture that is easy to rearrange as needed.
In addition, removing the more formal aspects of office design in favor of one that blends the feel of a traditional workplace with a home office may help employees adjust better when it comes to switching back and forth.
It’s also worth considering whether your business even requires a full-time office, or whether renting a flex space or experimenting with desk hoteling might make more sense for your needs.
Automation and Centralization
When selecting the software and systems that you’ll use to support your hybrid work team, here are a few criteria to keep in mind:
- Ease of use
As much as possible, try to keep everything on a single platform with centralized information and employee access.
This not only increases efficiency and productivity, but it prevents your employees from becoming frustrated (or worse, burnt out) due to “platform hopping” in order to find the information they need.
It’s also helpful to automate whatever processes you can, such as onboarding, communications, and project updates and reminders to keep things running smoothly and to free up your employees for more important tasks.
Maintain a Strong Company Culture
At the core of most business owners’ concerns when it comes to hybrid or remote work is the integrity of the company culture.
This merits an entire blog post of its own, but in general, you want to make sure that you’re giving equal attention to your in-office and remote employees.
Encourage communication and engagement through virtual social hours and team-building exercises.
It’s also vital to be aware of your decisions when it comes to workplace recognition and promotions. Favoring one group over another in these areas is a sure way to undermine both the company culture and the relationships your employees have with one another.
Finally, don’t neglect wellness and inclusion and diversity. Supply your team members with the resources they need to take care of their jobs and their mental health.
Seek Out Actionable Feedback
Our final piece of advice for implementing a hybrid work model is to consistently seek out feedback and make adjustments based on your findings. Obtaining feedback from both employees and managers as well as reviewing KPIs, efficiency and time management metrics and other productivity-related data is helpful in guiding decision-making.
You can collect this information with regular surveys
and also by holding town halls and fostering a workplace environment that encourages regular communication across all levels of your organization.
Use Cura HR to Help You Explore the Possibilities of a Hybrid Workplace
Like any business model, the success of a hybrid workplace will depend on your ability to identify areas for improvement and to adapt quickly.