With the effects of COVID-19 starting to subside, employers and employees are bracing for yet another shift — work in a post-pandemic market. Many employers are struggling with the decision to continue with the remote work model developed during the pandemic, bring all their employees back to full-time onsite work or develop a new hybrid work model, which offers both remote and onsite work options.
Our research shows that workers might be ready for an end to full-time remote work. According to our research, 78% of the global workforce is ready to come back to the workplace, at least part-time. Although, some of these employees are not exactly ready to come back full-time. In fact, one in three employees believes a hybrid work model to be the most ideal work arrangement and nearly one in four wants flexible hours.
“...78% of the global workforce is ready to come back to the workplace, at least part-time."
Taking these statistics into consideration, it should come as no surprise that major companies, such as Microsoft, Google, Ford Motors, are already investing in hybrid work.
What is a hybrid work model, and will it work for your company? This article will provide more information about hybrid work models as well as tips for creating a productive hybrid workplace.
What is a hybrid work model?
A hybrid work model incorporates aspects of both the onsite and remote work models. It can work in two different ways. The most common option is where employers allow their employees to work some days from home and some days in the office. The second hybrid work model is where some employees can work remotely, while others must maintain an onsite work schedule.
If you are considering implementing a hybrid model, it’s important to have a plan in place right from the start. To help you get started, we have created a list of do’s and don’ts regarding hybrid work best practices.
do: understand your employee’s needs
By and large, employees across the globe stepped up and did what they needed to do to get through the pandemic. While things are slowly returning to normal, many of the extra stressors on your employees' work and personal lives remain. Certainly, you can’t create a work model that addresses every employee’s needs, but you can get a sense of the major challenges facing your workers.
With this understanding, you can create a hybrid model that promotes productivity and employee morale while helping your workers maintain a healthy work-life balance. It’s equally important to schedule frequent check-ins with your workers to monitor the success or weaknesses of the new work model and adjust as necessary.
do: set clear expectations
Research shows that employees want greater guidance when it comes to hybrid work options. Basically, they want to know what’s expected of them. According to our research, 27% of employees want stronger policies on work hours, while 24% are looking for more stringent protocols involving both remote and onsite work.
When creating new policies for the hybrid workplace, always be clear and concise. Workers should understand what their responsibilities are (work hours, communication obligations, etc.) whether they are working from home or at the office. Your workers should also know exactly how performance will be measured and who to contact for various issues.
don’t: put all the decision-making in the employee’s hands
It may seem like the ideal model to just let each employee determine what days they want to work from home and what days they want to come to the workplace. Unless these employees work independently of their coworkers, this type of arrangement could incur multiple challenges.
First, most employees are going to choose to work Monday and/or Friday from home. So, if your goal is to have fewer workers at the workplace on any given day, this could be a major challenge. Secondly, if team members have alternative days off, using the workplace to enhance innovation, creativity and team-building will not be possible.
A better hybrid work model is one where team leaders together with their employees set the parameters for remote work. You can still offer some flexibility with hours, but the remote model works best if schedules are set at the team, department or company level.
don’t: rush to make permanent decisions
It’s important to understand right from the start that creating a hybrid work model takes time. It’s highly likely that the policies you put in place today will have to be modified over the upcoming weeks and months. In fact, it could ultimately take several years to develop a hybrid workplace that is ideal for your company. These changes are ok because this happens when implementing any new business process.
The one mistake you don’t want to make is promising that these new work arrangements are permanent. Instead, let your employees know that developing a hybrid model is a work in progress and that the company will evaluate its effectiveness periodically and initiate changes if necessary.