The hybrid working model is becoming more popular and widely accepted as employees begin to demand more work-life balance.
A hybrid working model consists of employees working from different locations, including a traditional office, a home office, or another remote work location. Under this model, some employees may work in an office part-time and in remote locations other days of the week.
A hybrid working model can also consist of different groups of employees working from different locations. This can include a collaborative workspace while traveling or on the go. A hybrid working model can designate separate satellite offices or arrangements where some departments work remotely full-time and others go back and forth between a company office and home.
One of the advantages of a hybrid working model is that it provides control and flexibility. Employees can work from home or remotely when they need to, which can increase feelings of goodwill toward the organization. This, in turn, can cause engagement and organizational commitment to remain stable or rise.
A hybrid working model can work well for employees that need a balance between interaction with co-workers and added control over their work environments. By working remotely a few days of the week, they can be more productive in accomplishing tasks that require enhanced concentration. Employees can also get the level of in-person socialization they need with peers to get their jobs done.
Higher engagement and commitment levels mean increased staff retention. This can alleviate some of the burden associated with turnover and recruitment. Organizations can avoid the knowledge and skills lost when employees become disengaged and seek employment elsewhere.
Putting a hybrid working model into place could be more intimidating for inexperienced managers. However, there are some best practices organizations can follow. These include creating policies, adjusting the office workspace, encouraging collaboration and relationships in different ways, and equalizing benefits.
Creating policies starts with asking employees about their needs and preferences. A hybrid work model can accommodate those needs and preferences by establishing various protocols. For instance, those who want to work from home part of the week can establish regular schedules with their managers that designate “in-office” versus remote working days.
Since different groups of employees may be using office space at various times, the traditional method of designating individual desk space may no longer be efficient. Having fewer desks, but setting up a reservation system where employees can claim a desk when they will be in the office can work. Other organizations may stagger the weeks that groups of employees work in the office versus remotely, allocating available desk space to whichever group works in-person during designated periods.
Peer to Peer Relationships
Using technology to encourage and replicate in-person collaboration can help maintain camaraderie. Using online collaborative tools and video calls can encourage employees to maintain conversations. These tools can substitute for face-to-face meetings and team-building activities.
Benefits that employees working in the office enjoy can also be extended to remote workers to foster relationships. For example, going out to team lunches and celebrating birthdays in the office is common. Sending meal gift cards and birthday care packages to at-home workers can maintain the same sense of belonging.
As hybrid work models and needs become more common, leaders and managers can find ways to implement them well. This includes setting policies and maintaining positive associations between workers and the organization. Surveying employees and designing hybrid models around organizational and worker needs is crucial.