Everything You Need To Know About A Hybrid Work Model
Ever wondered what taking a people-first approach to work looks like? Then a hybrid work model might be the answer you are looking for.
To put it simply, a hybrid work model allows employees to be just as productive running routine errands during their 9-5 as they are working in the office. It’s like getting your cake and eating it too.
Curious to see what draws employees (like you) to this working model? Keep reading to learn more about this concept and what it entails!
How does it work?
Bringing together the best of in-office, remote, and on-the-go work is like mixing two great things together to make an even better thing. And that’s exactly what a hybrid work model does.
A hybrid work model involves a flexible work environment that supports a combination of in-office, remote, and on-the-go workers. It offers employees the autonomy to choose to work wherever and however they are most productive. While some may call it chaos, many also call it a home away from home. Or, in this case, an office away from the office.
In the midst of a revolutionary change in the definition of “working” bought forward by COVID-19, many people are turning to a hybrid work model and finding out that it is a fitting solution for their needs. After all, hybrid work models are a good compromise that allows employees to take advantage of the benefits of remote work — in addition to the benefits of working in person, as was more common prior to COVID-19.
Even though it seems like it, the concept behind hybrid work is not new. As companies strive to find ways to benefit from both digital and physical presence, they have implemented “hybrid” or “blended” teams that combine remote workers with traditional office employees. This allows them to take advantage of their strengths while mitigating some of their weaknesses. Different organizations have different structures, but most typically have a core team that remains onsite, while others come and go whenever they want.
Why it’s so successful
A hybrid work model gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “work smarter, not harder.”
The whole point of a hybrid work model is to give employees a realistic work-life balance so they can strike a healthy work-home balance and become happier, more engaged, and more productive. Sure, they may still have to report for daily meetings. But this has still introduced a new level of freedom and control of their time.
Employees can now choose the time to perform individual tasks. Instead of focusing on intensive projects during regular business hours, they have the flexibility to decide when they work. They can then focus on their most critical projects when they feel that they can be most productive.
This is especially important considering that today’s employees are more in demand than ever before. Millennials expect wellness benefits as part of their employment packages. Gen Zers want flexible schedules so that they can spend more time with family and friends. Baby Boomers want more flexibility so that they don’t retire too early or stay unemployed longer. Lastly, Generation Xers are looking for ways to continue working after retirement age because it gives them purpose and helps them feel connected socially (and financially).
So let’s face it: the hybrid work model is here to stay. It’s a way for businesses to attract and retain talent, and for workers to be more fulfilled in their jobs. The model benefits everyone: employees get the flexibility they need and employers get access to the best talent out there—all while saving money on overhead costs like office space or benefits packages.
What does a hybrid work model look like?
Depending on how much you value your flexibility, here are some of the most popular types of hybrid work policies companies are using:
Flexible hybrid work model
In this model, employees can choose their location and working hours based on their priorities for the day.
For example, if they need to spend time focusing on a particular task, they can work from home or in a coffee shop. If they want a sense of community, need to meet with their team in a co-working space or simply go into the office. Employees at Cisco are able to choose where they work every day under this model.
Fixed hybrid work model
In this case, the company decides the days and times employees will be working remotely or going into the office.
For example, it could be that certain teams (such as Marketing and Sales) go into the office on Mondays and Wednesdays. Other teams such as Accounting and HR may go in on Tuesdays and Thursdays. A company can also allow everyone to work from home on pre-determined days each week.
Office-first hybrid work model
If you miss the hustle-bustle of your morning commute and picking up coffees from Starbucks every day, then you’ll love this approach.
Here, your employees are expected to be on-site but they also have the flexibility to choose a few days a week to work remotely. Google plans to adopt this type of model where employees work in the office three days a week but have the option to choose two days for working remotely.
Remote-first hybrid work model
Love taking meetings in your pajamas from home? Then this is for you.
Lastly, in this model employees work remotely most of the time with some occasional visits to co-working spaces or the office for team building, collaboration, and training. The company may not have an office space and instead might rely on staff in the same area to get together when they see fit. Twitter has adopted this remote-first model and will allow all employees to work from home.
Why employees value it
Taking an intentional approach to hybrid work models has the potential to give workers the flexibility they desire. All while also maximizing employee engagement and productivity. What’s not to love about that?
When employees feel they have more options in where and when they work, they will not be tethered to their desk or office as much and will be able to create their own individualized workplace with clear boundaries between home life and the office. Employees are happier, more productive, and more engaged overall when given the autonomy to take ownership of how and where they do their job so that it aligns best with their unique preferences, ultimately making them more efficient.
A few factors to consider…
Hybrid work models are flexible and adaptable to the needs of your company. It’s important to note that hybrid work is not a one-size-fits-all model, but rather a blank canvas that you can paint in any way you wish.
So if your team doesn’t have a detailed plan for your hybrid work model yet, you are not alone. A McKinsey & Company survey of C-level executives conducted in May 2021 revealed that 68% of them didn’t have a work model strategy in place, nor communicated it with their employees.
Hence when you sit down to design your hybrid work model, it’s important to keep the following factors in mind:
Know what your employees want
You can quickly get an idea of how your employees feel about a hybrid work model by asking them to describe their perfect work day. You’ll likely hear things like “morning meeting, then commute” or “routine is key.” By learning what your employees want out of a hybrid work day, you can tailor your hybrid work model accordingly.
To help you do this, surveys are your best friend! Ask your people what they want and then deliver exactly that.
Holding surveys will help you find out how to build a working model that works for your company. Speak with your workforce and let them tell you what they need. This will allow you to create a work model that gets your folks ready to embrace change and keeps them motivated to do their best work. This includes asking questions about the working setup they’d thrive most in and including potential examples.
Invest in your company’s culture
Employee culture is the heart of your organization. And the success of your hybrid work model depends on it.
Be intentional about reinforcing your company culture as people come back into the office. It’s the key ingredient in keeping your hybrid-work lifestyle running successfully for the long run. In fact, 88% of companies offer incentives to get their employees back into the office! So if you want to build company culture and excite your employees about staying connected to the office, find creative ways to stay in touch with them outside of work.
Investing in opportunities that delight your employees, like revamping your office environment, will help ignite company culture and encourage people to choose to work from the office. It’s also important to create experiences for the work-life blend around your company’s core values. For example, if your organization values creativity and innovation, you can arrange an in-person or virtual team-building activity. Host a happy hour. Or even send everyone on a bonding/retreat weekend. The options are endless!
Establish a foundation that supports flexibility
How you communicate with coworkers, both in-person and digitally, is an essential part of business in a hybrid work model.
If you’re going to have a remote-friendly workplace culture, you need technology that helps employees keep communication flowing. The importance of this becomes even more apparent in hybrid workplaces, where employees may not work in the same setting but are still expected to work together.
In order to accomplish this, it’s important to invest in technology at work, including remote communication tools and on-site video conferencing equipment. Assess your needs for new tools and the capabilities of existing ones.
You should ensure company-wide communication best practices are in place and encourage team leaders to set clear expectations for their staff. You can adapt an asynchronous communication style to accommodate employees with different time zones, for example.
Create the ideal “workplace experience”
A study done by Harvard Business Review concluded that “experiencing new ideas and approaches” was the biggest driver behind being productive in the office. So if you want to find out how much your employees love their workspace, make sure you bring them there.
In the end, a successful hybrid work model depends on employees having a great experience in the office. If you don’t create a fantastic work environment, your employees won’t interact in the way that you want them to. Interactions at work increase the likelihood of people collaborating on projects and building relationships with their coworkers. And the more there are people on-site, the better the experience becomes for those who are there to meet and collaborate in person.
Keep learning and adapting
As a business, you’re bound to experience your share of ups and downs. The same goes for introducing a new, innovative idea to your workforce. However, if you want that idea to be successful, it’s important that you learn from your mistakes.
The most efficient way to make decisions about your company’s work model is to gather data from employees. This will not only help you to understand what’s working (and what’s not), but it will also help you learn more about the direction you want your company to take in the future.
Therefore, collecting feedback from employees and doing periodical check-ins is absolutely essential to ensuring your hybrid work model is successful.
The bottom line
Ultimately, hybrid work models offer flexibility for both you and your employees. If you have remote workers, this is an excellent opportunity for them to be productive from home or other locations where they feel comfortable working. For employees who prefer face-time with their coworkers, hybrid models allow them to go into the office during certain hours of the day or week—or even every day if they want.
So, the choice is up to you and the decision is yours to make. Either way, these hybrid work models seem like a viable alternative to your current working structure, whatever it may be. We here at Vacation Tracker are certainly excited to see how it will change the workforce as we know it!