Employee expectations of what their working day and week should look like have changed as a result of the pandemic, with employers looking to retain and attract the best talent by implementing more robust flexible and hybrid working policies. With the end of lockdowns and the ensuing mandated working-from-home requirements, many businesses have chosen to change the way they work by adopting a hybrid model.
Without a doubt, the future workplace will be hybrid. However, as previously stated, it is still uncharted territory for the majority of organizations.
What Does Hybrid Work Model Mean?
A hybrid work model can be many things, but at its core, it involves a combination of working remotely and on-site in a traditional office setting.
Many businesses are adopting a hybrid model that combines work from home with time spent in the office rather than sticking with remote-only or returning to sharing a workplace from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week.
Those contemplating a hybrid model should avoid taking half measures. To effectively implement a hybrid model, a company must go all-in or risk a lack of consistency and alignment across the organization in how work should be done, how people communicate, and what the office’s purpose is.
Not sure if a hybrid work model is right for your company? Here are a few reasons to switch to hybrid working.
1. Enhanced productivity
A hybrid model can provide flexibility and allow employees to work to their strengths, increasing productivity. Teams can achieve a good balance of creativity and collaboration by encouraging a culture that views remote work as a positive alternative to completing deep-focus tasks in the office. Employees who require peace and quiet to concentrate or who thrive in an office environment can be given the option of working where and when they are most productive.
According to McKinsey, the organizations that saw the greatest increases in productivity during the pandemic supported and encouraged “small moments of engagement” among their employees. Coaching, idea sharing, mentoring, and collaborative work take place in these small moments. This productivity boost is the result of managers being trained to reimagine processes and rethink how employees can thrive at work.
2. Employee satisfaction and culture have improved.
Autonomy is the key to employee satisfaction: If you give your team members complete autonomy and decision-making power over how, where, and when they work, employee satisfaction will skyrocket.
Autonomy is also important for on-site employees. Employees who return to the office after more than a year of setting their own schedules will need to feel trusted to complete tasks without the presence of a manager.
3. More opportunities for professional growth.
Many organizations are performance-driven, but this frequently results in insufficient time for learning because employees are too busy performing. An output-focused approach does not allow for long-term employee development, and high productivity can mask an exhausted workforce.
The beauty of the hybrid work model is that employees can work whenever they want, which means they can schedule their work outside of regular meeting hours to focus on getting work done peacefully and without being disturbed or distracted.
4. Improved collaboration and working relationships
In hybrid work, virtual meetings can play an overpowering role. According to Microsoft, weekly Teams chat time has increased by 45 percent per person since February 2020, and weekly meeting time on Teams has increased by more than 148 percent – more than doubling what it was in 2020. We need to find new, more efficient ways of working that do not involve long meetings during the workday.
Adopt a facilitator’s mindset to accomplish this: consider how human relationships work and design work processes that fit team members’ habits and needs. Facilitating discussion about how teams can work together improves understanding, strengthens relationships, and improves communication.
5. Better mental health.
According to Microsoft data, one in every five global survey respondents believes their employer is unconcerned about their work-life balance.
While work and life are rarely perfectly balanced, work-life fit is an essential component of any healthy work environment. And hybrid work allows each employee to balance work and life in a way that works for them. This reduces stress and aids in the prevention of burnout.
6. Real estate cost savings.
A physical headquarters can serve as a symbol of a company’s brand and values, as well as a location for face-to-face collaboration and team-building. Companies can retain the benefits of having a headquarters while reducing their real estate costs by downsizing their portfolios or using flexible workspaces for their satellite offices by having employees on-site only a few days a week.
7. Mitigating uncertainties.
According to Collier International’s Flexible Workplace Report 2020, the emphasis of newly optimized real estate strategies will be on the tenets of increased flexibility and choice, which a hybrid model supports. Why are these principles so important? They enable businesses to remain agile in the face of uncertainty. If circumstances change, a hybrid model makes it easier to adapt both a company’s real estate portfolio and how employees approach their work.
8. Employee preferences.
Hybrid work models not only assist businesses in remaining adaptable to the unexpected, but they can also assist businesses in better accommodating employee preferences. The
2020 U.S. Workplace Survey by Gensler Research Institute says approximately 52 percent of U.S. workers prefer a hybrid model, working part-time at home and part-time at the office. Allowing employees to work from home on certain days can help them feel more at ease and in control when they arrive at work.
What to Consider When Shifting to Hybrid Working
Before making the switch to a hybrid working model, there are a few key questions to ask yourself:
- Have faith in your employees -The ability of the employer to trust their employees will be critical to the success of a hybrid working model.
- Define what hybrid working entails for your workforce – As an employer, you should clearly define hybrid working in your organization. Outline any spaces that aren’t suitable for hybrid working, as well as any core hours. Also, explain to your employees what is expected of them in terms of flexible working.
- Determine how to communicate – Knowing how your company will communicate is critical to the success of hybrid working. As an employer, make certain that your employees have access to appropriate communication tools.
When carefully and strategically planned, the hybrid work model has the potential to propel your organization to new heights of productivity.
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