Hybrid models are the future of the workplace.
With startups moving to co-working spaces and remote work, to larger companies offering hybrid work options, flexible work models are becoming more popular. The push toward hybrid work has demonstrated significant benefits for organizations and individual employees, such as a better work-life balance and cost savings.
However, as with anything new, adjusting to hybrid work involves experimenting with new processes. The right hybrid workplace management ensures your business runs smoothly and efficiently. It helps overcome workplace challenges and equips you with the right tools and organizational structures to set you up for success.
See how a coordinated hybrid approach can substantially boost employee productivity and morale. But first, let's start by understanding what’s a hybrid workplace.
What is a hybrid workplace?
A hybrid workplace is an environment where employees work both remotely and in an office environment. Employees can work from home, in a co-working space, or in the office on specific days and times.
Hybrid work allows for greater flexibility and benefits both employees and employers. Such a working arrangement relieves stress and increases productivity, enabling employees to work in a more comfortable and convenient environment.
For employers, it reduces overhead and adds a more diverse workforce to their talent pool. While it's important to balance remote and in-office work, hybrid workspaces offer employees and employers the best of both worlds.
The benefits of a hybrid workplace
With the pandemic hovering over, employees are quickly transitioning to remote work and experiencing a better work-life balance but missing the opportunity to build interpersonal workplace relationships. The hybrid approach gives them the best of both worlds.
Hybrid work improves productivity and allows employees to work where they’re most focused and comfortable.
Some people are more productive in their cozy home offices with little distraction. Others need the hustle and bustle of a co-working space or cafe to feel motivated. Yet others need a balance of both to break the monotony. Put simply, coordinated hybrid work offers your workforce flexible working options that significantly improve productivity.
While hybrid work is often considered employee-centric, it directly benefits the organization. The most visible way to see hybrid work’s impact is in cost savings. An organization can save up to 30% on office costs with a hybrid model!
With a hybrid team, fewer people come into the office daily, and some may work remotely full-time. Therefore, less space is required for people who work in person. For smaller organizations, co-working spaces can eliminate 100% of leasing costs, while downsizing is an option for larger organizations.
Businesses also save on energy costs such as heating and electricity. If fewer people come into the office or there are days when there are no employees, the electricity can be switched off completely. Ancillary costs such as maintenance, insurance, and travel allowance can also be reduced.
Employees who pay for their gas or public transportation save money by not having to commute. They can also save on eating out in a restaurant or having a babysitter, no longer needed in the home office.
Improves work-life balance
You’ve all been there, stuck in the rut of work and so busy you don't have time for lunch or a workout, let alone spend time with family or friends. But with the ability to work anywhere, employees can prioritize different aspects of their personal lives, like family responsibilities and health.
The time normally spent commuting without being physically present in the office is freed up for taking the kids to school or an early morning workout. With the traditional 9-to-5 office work model, you rarely have the opportunity to devote yourselves to what you love and need for your physical and mental health.
But with a hybrid work option, if a midday yoga session is needed to relieve stress, employees can choose to work from and make time for a quick meditation.
Reduces employee turnover
A better work-life balance also translates to higher employee satisfaction. Doing what you love while working and feeling valued makes you feel fulfilled. Imagine seeing the world while doing your job, living your love of travel without jeopardizing financial stability.
Flexibility leads to greater satisfaction for many reasons. It allows employees to work in environments where they feel most comfortable. Additionally, in a hybrid model, work is often judged on quality rather than quantity, reducing the unnecessary pressure of long hours. This motivates employees to do better and drives loyalty.
Flexible working hours and location-independent work are decisive parameters for many people, especially younger employees, when choosing a company. When employees are happy, they choose to stay. This reduces employee turnover and attracts new employees.
Creates a diverse team
Hybrid organizations can expand globally without geographical boundaries dictating their teams’ location. You can access the best candidates worldwide as the hiring pool is open worldwide.
It also brings different perspectives into the conversation, stimulating innovation and creativity. A flexible model also opens up opportunities for people with disabilities who cannot be physically present in the office. Those who couldn’t work in physical offices can now do so.
Hybrid work contributes to greater diversity by enabling more women to enter the workforce. Many women have family responsibilities that prevent them from pursuing a career, such as caring for children.
But working from anywhere allows women in this position to take care of their families (while continuing to work). For example, a working mother who no longer has to commute to the office has more time to take her child to school.
Hybrid workplace challenges
While hybrid workplaces offer many benefits, they’re not without some challenges, particularly when it comes to management. Leading a team you don't see every day across different time zones and locations can be challenging for even the best leaders and managers.
We often say, "Out of sight, out of mind." Unfortunately, that's not the case with hybrid workplaces. Due to the "productivity bias," when managers don’t physically see their team, they believe the work’s not getting done.
While this is often wrong, for traditional managers, this bias leads to distrust of remote workers. When it comes to hybrid work, productivity cannot be measured by how many hours are spent in the office. Quantifying productivity harms the company culture and the chances of successfully implementing a hybrid workplace.
The core idea of hybrid work is that employees only come into the office on certain days. However, this poses a challenge when teams need to work together in person or when the office space can only accommodate half of the team at a time.
Managing spaces can be difficult when you run a hybrid organization. Every employee who comes to the office needs a comfortable workplace, and the team needs spaces for collaboration.
Coordinating in-person (and remote) work
In a hybrid workplace, not only space has to be managed, but also time. Managers need to know who works from home and when. Hybrid organizations often employ "flextime," which allows employees to work when they’re most productive during the day.
However, coordinating the working hours isn’t easy. When will each team member be on the clock? When will they work from home? When are they free to commute to the office? You have to account for many factors.
Maintaining workplace connection and culture
It can be difficult to connect and create a culture of togetherness when teams are spread across geographies and time zones. Humans naturally form relationships and connections with people close to them. Remote work can make you feel disconnected from the team or organization.
An article by the Harvard Business Review explains how having friends at work improves business outcomes, so prioritizing connection has a real business impact. Similarly, culture is built through shared experiences. And while this can happen virtually, it’s difficult to create and maintain.
How to overcome hybrid workplace challenges
Technology and organizational goals help teams thrive in a hybrid workplace. Whether upskilling managers or implementing hybrid workplace management software, these tips will help your hybrid business run smoothly.
Train managers for a hybrid workplace
Leading a hybrid team is a new experience for many managers. In particular, those with the organization for a long time may be rooted in traditional ways and need to learn to lead teams in this new context. Just as you would help new hires acquire skills that will benefit your company, you train the managers to operate in hybrid workplaces.
An HSM Advisory report suggests that managers must mitigate tensions that arise in a hybrid workplace, such as "presenteeism versus performance." To avoid bias, managers should evaluate their team members based on actual performance rather than time spent in the office, which is no longer a measure of productivity.
The report also suggests many skills that good managers should acquire, such as “people skills” and “performance-focused leadership skills”. Learn more about how to make a successful hybrid work culture.
Use employee scheduling software
With the innovation in hybrid work technology, you can overcome every hurdle when transitioning to a more agile enterprise using a variety of software platforms.
Improve synchronous communication
Before the world moved to remote work, many communication platforms helped improve synchronous communication – when not everyone was present in the same place at the same time. Video conferencing enabled teams to connect across countries or the world, and chat platforms enabled instant messaging without waiting for an email response to a simple question or request.
Focus on hybrid schedules
Employee scheduling software allows employees to book when they’re in the office, working remotely, or in a different time zone. Managers can then quickly determine which days are best for in-person meetings. This saves managers from reviewing each person's schedule individually and consolidating scheduling information.
Rising real estate and energy prices require office space to be optimized or reduced. Space management software helps collect information about office space use, such as how many people come daily and on which days more people can be seen.
This data shows that you may not need as much space as you previously thought, helping you downsize your business. It could also indicate that few people come into the office on certain days, allowing you to switch off and save on energy bills. In addition, office managers can ensure that everyone gets the space they need on the days they want to come.
Yes to trust, no to micromanagement
One of the key management challenges in hybrid workplaces is building trust between leaders, employees, and peers, even if they've never met in person.
To be able to establish that trust, avoid micromanagement. As mentioned earlier, managers may see productivity falter when they don’t see their team's workload. But trust them to get the job done instead of trying to regain control by hovering over each employee.
of employees consider quitting due to micromanagement. By micromanaging, you're jeopardizing productivity and overall employee satisfaction and retention.
Source: Management Consulted
Measuring success in a hybrid workplace is less about how much time is spent doing the work and more about the actual results. And often, when employees can explore, think, and create without the pressure of micromanagement, they achieve even better results.
To remove the lack of connection between remote employees, you need to embrace people-centricity. But what does it mean? It means prioritizing your people and their well-being across all aspects of your organization. People-centricity can take many forms, but let's talk about a few.
For example, offer colleagues the opportunity to meet in person. Depending on your company's working model, this may be more or less necessary. Suppose you lead a highly distributed global team. In this case, subsidizing meetings with team members or organizing company-wide meetups is essential to build community and connection.
Being human-centric can also mean involving the team more in decision-making. Whether it's as simple as picking the day to meet in person or as complicated as strategizing for the next year, allowing everyone to participate creates a culture of inclusivity that can sometimes be lost when some team members work remotely.
Hybrid work increases productivity and employee satisfaction, so your business will benefit if you take the opportunity to try it. Remember that organization and coordination in a hybrid workplace with the right tools and management is key to getting the most out of it.
Whether coordination means adopting software or committing to a people-centric approach, these steps are necessary to ensure success.
Invest in your employees' well-being
Employees who work in a hybrid environment are more engaged, productive, and happier than their counterparts in a traditional workplace.
Offering the flexibility to work from home can ensure that employees find a better balance between their career and personal life, leading to improved morale and higher job satisfaction. It’s no surprise that many companies are transitioning to hybrid workplaces – it certainly makes sense to invest in their employees' well-being.
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