Hybrid workplace models are growing in usage throughout the country as employees and employers alike want more flexibility. In a hybrid workplace model, employees are able to find a balance between working at the office and working remotely based on their position and life. If you're interested in applying a hybrid workplace model to your organization, it can be useful to understand more about how to do so effectively. In this article, we explain what a hybrid workplace model is, explore the benefits of using this model and list tips to consider when creating a hybrid workplace.
What is a hybrid workplace model?
A hybrid workplace model is a type of workplace where employees are offered flexible options for working in an office, remotely or a combination of the two. Hybrid workplaces have become increasingly popular among both employers and employees. The hybrid workplace model generally offers employees the ability to determine on their own when they work at the office or work remotely, although employers may be able to set guidelines. This is different from a schedule that is more structured, where employees are required to be in the office on certain days or times.
Related: 7 Ways To Collaborate With Your Team
Why is a hybrid workplace model beneficial?
There are many benefits to a hybrid workplace model, which include:
Cost-effective: Employers can reduce their office costs by only needing enough space for non-remote employees, and employees save on expenses like commuting.
Employee satisfaction: Employees tend to appreciate the flexibility of the hybrid workplace model and how it can accommodate their life and needs. The hybrid model also shows trust in employees, which can make them feel appreciated.
Convenient: This model is convenient for everyone, as employees are able to decide when they want to go to the office or work remotely and employers have a staff that is in the office when it's really necessary.
Employee productivity: Many employees are more productive when working remotely, but they may find it productive to come to the office for meetings, so this allows employees to optimize the right combination of workplace models for their productivity.
Efficient: Employees don't have to be in the office when it's not necessary, so they can be more efficient with their time.
Tips for instituting a hybrid workplace model
Here are some tips to keep in mind when instituting a hybrid workplace model in your workplace:
Offer a few options
Offering only a few options for how employees work can reduce confusion and keep things organized. This means you may have two or three options for employees, such as working mostly remotely or working a schedule that is split between remote and in the office work. It's not necessary to require each employee to commit to the same exact schedule as others using the same option, but it does reduce confusion to have people on similar plans.
For instance, one employee might prefer to work in the office most of the time but wants to work from home one day per week, while another also prefers to work in the office most of the time but wants to work from home for the first hour of every day. Similarly, one employee might prefer to work remotely except for attending in-person meetings three times a week, while another employee prefers to work remotely other than one half-day in the office each week.
Related: Guide to Flexible Work Schedules
Plan to use technology
Technology is incredibly important to operating an effective business in the hybrid workplace model. There are a variety of different kinds of software that can make it easier for employees to collaborate regardless of where they are, which may vary depending on the type of business. These might include communication software, file sharing software, videoconferencing software and cloud-based software to enable collaboration.
It's usually important to have a plan for the technology your company will use before you begin using a hybrid workplace model, as that can make the transition easier and allow people to collaborate more quickly.
Optimize your office
When you move to a hybrid workplace model, you are likely to end up with a lot more empty desks and spaces that don't make quite as much sense for your new type of workforce. For this reason, optimizing your office for the workplace model you're using is important. This can be especially useful if there are aspects of your current office setup that don't function effectively or require improvement. Analyzing how your employees plan to use the office can be helpful in deciding what is needed.
For instance, you may find it useful to have a variety of coworking spaces in your office that allow employees who work mostly remote to have a space to work in the office without it being a dedicated space that goes unused most of the time. Similarly, additional meeting spaces can be useful if you find many of your employees come to the office for meetings specifically.
Discuss options with your employees
It's important to discuss the options with each employee to understand which option is going to be most effective and useful for them and their life. This allows managers to understand what their employees prefer as well as what they are able to do. Not every employee has the same needs and lifestyle, so it isn't usually effective to ask only some employees. However, it's also important for managers and other leaders to be honest about what's possible with the planned hybrid workplace model and what's not.
For instance, one employee may prefer to work entirely remotely, but their manager feels they need to be present for certain client meetings to be effective. In this situation, a discussion with everyone involved can help find the right balance for everyone involved.
Schedule regular meetings
One concern with the hybrid workplace model is that employees may spend less time together in person due to differing schedules. Scheduling regular meetings for the company, different departments and teams can be helpful. Additionally, one-on-one meetings between employees and their supervisors can be helpful in determining how to keep each employee connected and engaged in their work. Particularly with employees who are primarily remote, it can be easy for them to feel disconnected from their colleagues, and meetings can help reduce that.
It can also be useful when planning meetings to consider which meetings are okay to have a mix of in-office and remote employees in and which meetings require everyone involved to be in person together. This can help employees plan their schedule and prioritize when they need to be in the office.
Be clear in job listings
When hiring new employees into a hybrid workplace, it's important to be up front about how your organization operates. This helps prospective employees make an informed decision regarding if your company is the right fit for them and vice versa. Mentioning that your company has a hybrid workplace model as well as what that would mean for that particular position in the job listing can be very helpful.
This is also important to discuss during interviews, so that hiring managers can explain the available work options and ask candidates how they would prefer to work given those options. Then everyone involved can make the best decision possible.