The Hybrid Work Model: What is it and How Does it Work?
By Varun Bodhi
The hybrid work model is a new way of working that has solidified itself in today's economy. Hybrid workplaces have completely changed the way traditional offices operate and offer a completely new work lifestyle. But first of all, what is hybrid work?
To assist businesses in their journey we will dive into the fundamentals of a hybrid work model and provide guidelines on how to apply this yourself.
- What is hybrid work?
- The hybrid work environment and its value
- How to adopt a hybrid work model
What is Hybrid Work?
The definition of hybrid work is a remote working model that consists of a blend of in-office and out-of-office work. This can be done through either working from home full time, coming into the office for specific days or a mixture of both. The idea is that employees have more control over their work schedule and where they do their work, as long as the company's productivity goals are being met.
Here are a few hybrid work policies which companies have in place:
- Complete hybrid autonomy: Decide what days you wish to come into the office at your own will.
- Hybrid at managerial discretion: Your manager will allocate what days you will come into the office.
- Hybrid team functionality: Teams are rotated in and out of the office based on function.
While these are the most common hybrid arrangements available, according to research most companies will utilize hybrid at managerial discretion.
This policy offers an ideal balance for companies and employees. The company still maintains some control over the workforce while affording employees a certain degree of flexibility. As a result, productivity remains the same and employees enjoy a better work-life balance which has many mental health merits.
The Hybrid Work Environment and Its Value
When looking at employees preferred pattern of working hours, majority do not prefer spending all hours in the office. According to research done by the University of New South Wales, most employees find around 40 to 60 percent of work hours being at home is the sweet spot.
From this we can understand that employees place value in flexibility and hybrid's work from home aspect.
The first step in understanding how hybrid work works is identifying the types of employees that would best fit this type of arrangement:
1) Office-based workers who occasionally need to work from home
2) Home-based workers who occasionally need to come into the office
3) Office-based workers who need to spend more time working from home
4) Home-based workers who need to spend more time in the office
By making a business malleable and open to the concept of hybrid work you have now opened doors to four more type of workers.
Productivity is increased
People have different times of the day where they feel most productive. This is something everyone has experienced from studying and completing assignments early in the morning or cramming for exams late at night.
A flexible schedule in a hybrid workplace allows for enhanced productivity by avoiding the standard 9-5 conventional office format, and it diverges from it. Whether firms allow their employees to work out of the office only at home or wherever they choose is also a factor in terms of flexibility.
This method also promotes four types of collaborative opportunities highlighted by Gartner for optimizing productivity:
- Working together, together: Teams share the same space and collectively work towards the same thing.
- Working together, apart: Teams will be spread apart but participate in virtual meetings
- Working alone, together: Teams share the same space but do not work towards the same task.
- Working alone, apart: Teams will be spread apart and do not work towards the same task.
A Global Talent Pool
Work from anywhere you want, whenever it's convenient for you. Depending on your preferred hybrid work model, organizations will have access to a worldwide talent pool to recruit from. This opportunity allows businesses to benefit as it exposes people with unique talents that they may be having difficulty finding locally while also establishing a global presence and increasing productivity regardless of time zones.
An example of a hybrid model which successfully executes this would be the hub-and-spoke office model.
How does a hybrid office save money?
A hybrid office is a cost-effective solution for companies as it requires less office space and equipment, therefore cutting down on workplace overheads, including rent and energy bills.
If using a hybrid work model correctly, then managers can allocate office hours in a manner which ensures only a certain amount of desks and equipment is needed.
Hybrid workplaces also lets employees save money by reducing the amount of commuting costs such as petrol, public transport fares, and parking fees.
Fewer sick days
Simply put, hybrid work models reduce sick days.
The less people present in a shared space at one time, the less chances of illness spreading. In addition, employees who are feeling under the weather can work from home without infecting their colleagues.
This was a very important benefit during the peak of Covid, but has still persisted throughout the pandemic as people became more comfortable with the idea of working from home.
Improved work-life balance
The most obvious and desired advantage of a hybrid work model is the improved work-life balance it offers.
Employees may tend to personal errands or other appointments during the day without missing work or using their yearly leave. This also improves employee morale and productivity, which leads to a higher level of output.
How to Adopt a Hybrid Work Model
The first step is to understand which type of hybrid work model would be the most beneficial for your company.
Once you have decided on the right model, it's important to make sure that everyone in the company is on board with the change and that you have the necessary processes and technology to carry out this change.
There are a few fundamentals that you will need to consider.
Explain the importance of a company's purpose and values in relation to a hybrid work model
A company's purpose and values are important in regards to a hybrid work model because they help to guide the company in making the right decisions for their employees. A company's purpose is their reason for existing, while their values are the principles that guide their actions.
When a business comprehends its aim and values, it is better equipped to make decisions that are consistent with them. A firm that focuses on staff well-being might opt for a hybrid model in order to provide employees more flexibility and balance between job and life.
Making the switch to a hybrid work model can be a big change for a company, so it's important to make sure that everyone is on board with the decision. This includes employees, managers, and executives.
It's important to communicate the reasons for the change and how it will benefit both the company and its employees.
Create a remote work policy
Even if your company decides to adopt a hybrid work model, it's important to have a remote work policy in place.
This policy should outline the expectations for employees when working remotely, such as the hours they are expected to work and whether they are allowed to take work home with them.
The remote work policy should also state what type of work is allowed to be done remotely and what needs to be done in the office. Employees need to have access to the same tools and resources whether they are working in the office or from home. This includes the basic such as a computer, printer, and internet access.
Because this can be quite a lengthy process, you can refer to Servcorp's Hybrid and Remote Teams Policy template which includes a downloadable file to edit based on your business's needs.
Invest in the right technology
A big part of successfully implementing a hybrid work model is having the right technology in place.
Companies need to have the ability to track employee time worked and performance. They also need to have the correct apps and software in place for employee communication, collaboration, and file sharing.
While there are many different options available, some of the most popular include:
- Slack: a messaging app that can be used for both internal and external communication. It's perfect for hybrid teams as it offers video calling, screen sharing, and file sharing capabilities.
- Google Hangouts: a video conferencing app that can be used for team meetings, one-on-one catch-ups, or even client presentations.
- Zoom: another video conferencing app that offers features such as screen sharing and recording.
- Asana: a project management tool that helps teams to track their work and progress.
It's critical to balance employees' and bosses' expectations when adopting a hybrid work model.
Employees need to understand what is expected of them when working remotely and what type of work is allowed to be done from home. They also need to be aware of the tools and resources that are available to them.
At the same time, managers need to be clear about how they will be monitoring employee performance and what type of communication is expected. It's important to have regular check-ins with employees to ensure that everyone is on the same page and meeting expectations.
The clearer that everything is explained at the start, the smoother the transition will occur.
Evaluate and adjust as needed
A hybrid work model, like any new approach, must be tested and fine-tuned as needed.
This includes assessing how well it's working for both the company and its employees.
- Are employees meeting their goals?
- Are they happy with the new arrangement?
- Are there any areas that need improvement?
The same goes for the company.
- Is the hybrid work model reducing overhead costs?
- Is it improving employee productivity?
- Are there any areas where the company is losing out?
It's critical to keep an eye on the hybrid work model and make improvements as needed. This includes revisiting the remote work policy and making adjustments as required. It might also imply investing in new technology or training staff on how to use tools already at their disposal.
The hybrid work model is a great way to promote flexibility and freedom for employees while still maintaining productivity and reducing overhead costs for companies. By following these steps, you can successfully implement a hybrid work model in your business.
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