As we move into the post-pandemic era, many are questioning whether there will be a return to the office or if they will keep working remotely. With social distancing, a lack of office space and the anxiety some may feel surrounding being face to face full time again, the future of working in an office may look very different.
Many have become accustomed to flexible working and the work-life balance that it has provided them. Parents and carers are able to pause working to pick their kids up from school and work after they have gone to bed. This is where you could introduce a hybrid working model.
It does not have to be home or office working, 5 days a week. A balance is achievable. You should talk to your team members about how they prefer to work. If you do decide to go forward with a hybrid working model, we have answered some questions you may have.
What are the Benefits of Hybrid Working?
Studies conducted during this pandemic have proved that remote workers are more productive than their office counterparts. For too long, the emphasis has been on hours and not output.
You can sit at a desk from 9-5 in an office and get distracted by colleagues, or find that you hit a brick wall in problem-solving or content creating and have to sit there. With remote working, you are allowed the flexibility of going on a walk to spark up ideas!
Hybrid working also allows for your employees to work the hours and in places that suit them. Some may be morning people, whilst others may not. You want to get the best out of your employees, and flexible work encourages this!
Your workers being more productive is not the only selling point. Hybrid working also cuts down your operating costs. Hot desking is becoming more commonplace. Gone are the days of assigned desks, and with it comes savings in the form of cheaper offices.
It can also mean investing in coworking office spaces. These are built environments for hybrid working, which allow for pod-like office spaces as well as areas for communal working.
With hybrid working, you can also alleviate some of your employees' concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of your workers may not want to be back in an office, with or without masks, and take public transport to get there.
Hybrid working keeps your employees safe and successful!
What are the Pitfalls of Hybrid Working?
The most obvious disadvantage of hybrid working is that those at home can easily be left behind. The senior leaders may choose to return to the workplace and follow a traditional working model. Your remote workers may miss out on opportunities because they are out of sight, out of mind.
It’s not only opportunities they could be left out of but also impromptu meetings. If there is a problem or an idea, the team may not take the time to inform the ones who have not returned to work in the office space.
Hybrid working does not allow time for team-building activities. Employee morale has slid dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, we are looking at the biggest resignation potentially ever once this is all over. With hybrid working, it can be difficult to have all the employees in a set location to develop shared team experiences.
Training also becomes more complex. Development days would become a thing of the past. With a hybrid working environment, training would either have to be done online to accommodate for the employees who work at home, or as a personal continuous endeavour.
Moving into hybrid working may be intimidating, people are not a fan of change. However, adaptability and innovation are crucial for business.
What to Think About Before You Implement a Hybrid Working Environment?
First, it is important to ask how your employees feel. A hybrid work environment is not a one size fits all solution. There are certain questions that will need answering:
- How often should employees come into the office, if ever?
- Is it a matter of personal choice the morning of if someone decides to work remotely, or will certain teams be required to be in on certain days?
- Will all meetings become hybrid, in person or remote? What software will need to be purchased?
A clear protocol needs to be set out before you start making moves.
What are the Models for a Hybrid Work Environment?
There are 3 different models for a hybrid work environment:
- Remote-first — If you choose to take this approach, you will mirror a remote organisation. All employees would work online, with certain exceptions for those who need to be client-facing.
- 50/50 — This is an office-preferred model. There is an option to come into an office space or stay home, depending on the employee’s personal preferences. However, the office space is more likely to be communal and smaller than it has been in the past.
- Office-first, remote-permitted — This was the pre-Covid norm for many organisations. The majority of organisations required that employees came into an office space, but allowed those who found it difficult to work remotely.
How to Successfully Implement a Hybrid Working Environment?
Regardless of the model you pick for hybrid working, there are some key tips for the implementation:
- Make sure everyone feels involved — this means that it is best to have weekly scheduled meetings, be that formal or informal, both for the team and the senior managers. It is also important to have a monthly catchup with a larger group of people, depending on the size of your organisation.
- Be flexible with people’s ability to work certain hours — people may have adjusted to having certain hours off like longer lunch breaks, exercise classes in the middle of the day or child caring responsibilities. Others may not want to take public transport at rush hours and so prefer to work later. However, it is important that employees ensure they are available for scheduled meetings.
- Focus on output not hours — As long as they are putting in the time and effort when working and ensuring all projects are completed to an appropriate standard within deadlines, then 9 to 5 is not necessary.
- Invest in software that is hybrid working inclusive — You need to make sure that all your employees have the same access to information. Accessibility is also important. Any product that you procure needs to be secure and user-friendly.
How can Convene be an Asset to Hybrid Working?
Convene is a Board Portal solution that aims to assist all our customers, no matter their working environment. Our secure Document Library allows eyes-only access to essential files, both online and offline, at a moment’s notice. Our software simplifies remote meetings by allowing you to follow along with the speaker's page, and highlight information with the exclusive laser pointer tool.