For the first time in the previous year, many organizations allowed their employees to work from home. While the COVID-19 vaccine is becoming more widely available, not everyone is ready to return to the traditional workplace. Employees and organizations alike have recognized the benefits of remote working, and many are considering making it permanent or implementing a hybrid model.
However, there are some things to think about before transitioning to a hybrid work model. Changing to a completely new work model does not happen overnight with a few minor tweaks. Here are the things your organization can expect when you transition to a long-term hybrid work model.
Top 10 Things to Expect When Shifting to a Hybrid Work Model
1. Prepare for technological issues.
While you won’t necessarily need to be your own tech team, you will most likely need to understand the fundamentals of troubleshooting minor tech issues. Prepare to encounter a few stumbling blocks when working remotely in a hybrid arrangement, such as internet or computer issues.
Make a backup plan in case your technology fails, such as a portable hotspot, an extra laptop battery, or a nearby coffee shop with good WiFi.
2. The cloud is key.
Consider moving as much of your work to the cloud as possible. You may not be the only one working a hybrid schedule, which means you and your coworkers may rarely, if ever, be in the office at the same time. By putting everything in the cloud, every team member has access to the project, is aware of any updates, and can see what work remains to be done.
3. Communication will be more important than ever.
Thriving in a hybrid work environment necessitates communication and accessibility. Communication tools are an essential component of success for remote workers, and how you use them and communicate with others will influence your success as a hybrid worker.
The same is true for staying in touch. Using a messaging system and scheduling regular catch-up times will keep everyone informed and moving in the same direction. It’s also great to get to know each other!
4. Adopt a hybrid work routine.
Having a daily routine for work is often a critical component of success, regardless of where you work. A daily workday routine also assists in getting your brain into work mode, signaling that it is time to get things done and keeping you on track.
The thing about a hybrid work environment is that your routine will change depending on the day. Some days will be your “going into the office routine,” while others will be your “working remotely routine,” but the two will almost certainly not be the same.
5. Redefine Your Process Design.
Some of your critical business processes may require redesign, and simply retrofitting technology around an existing suboptimal process is rarely the best approach. The Harvard Business Review emphasizes the risks of this approach, stating that new hybrid arrangements should never replicate existing bad practices, as was the case decades ago when companies began automating work processes. Instead of redesigning their workflows to take advantage of what new technologies enabled, many businesses simply layered them onto existing processes, inadvertently replicating their flaws, quirks, and workarounds.
Take the transition to hybrid work as an opportunity to take a step back and ask what is working and what needs to go.
6. Build equity between employees.
One thing to think about is how to create more equity between employees who work in the office full-time and those who work from home most or all of the time. Team members who are consistently in the office will have access to managers, equipment, and possibly even opportunities that arise as a result of being able to walk over and say hello or ask an IT colleague for help with resolving a technical issue. Creating solutions that increase equity in how resources are accessed can give you a significant advantage in making the most of remote and hybrid teams.
7. Consider hot desks or dedicated desks.
One of the most frequently asked questions by employees and managers is, “Where will employees work in the office if they don’t have a dedicated space?” When employees do not require permanent seating due to hybrid work arrangements, hot desking or hoteling can be a viable option. A rotating bank of hot desks provides flexible seating for anyone in the office with hot desking. Hybrid employees can use hoteling to reserve a specific desk for when they will be in the office.
8. Building Trust
Trust is an essential component of the hybrid work environment. How can employers ensure that their teams, no matter where they work, are maximizing productivity? According to PWC, collaboration tools, project management tools, and productivity analytics tools can all help you better track work in the new hybrid working environment and redesign processes and solutions that give employers visibility into what’s working. Employees’ long-term confidence in the model can be built over time as they demonstrate their ability to successfully navigate the hybrid work environment.
(RELATED: Hot Desking Guidelines During Covid-19)
9. Address any security and data security vulnerabilities.
Because of concerns about sensitive data, some employers are hesitant to allow employees to work from home. When employees access office systems from home, there is always a security risk. To ensure secure access to confidential information, businesses must implement security software, identity and access management tools, and policies.
10. Address collaboration barriers.
When you transition to a hybrid work model, some of your employees will work in the office while others will work from home. So, if you want hybrid work to succeed in your organization, you must make it simple for team members to collaborate and work together—regardless of where they work. Employees who work remotely typically miss out on office culture, spontaneous communication, and other team activities.
Through connections, calls, and creative sessions, business leaders should create opportunities for their teams to come together. This allows for open communication and a sense of belonging.
In many ways, hybrid work provides employees with the best of both worlds—but only if it is implemented correctly. Hybrid work solutions are likely to become the norm, for practical reasons as well as to better meet the needs of in-demand workers. Getting your technology and processes ready for today’s hybrid revolution can make the transition much easier.
For more info, feel free to chat with our team or check out our flexible office space options for any type of hybrid work models.