The Rise of the Hybrid Workplace
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global workplace drastically shifted toward remote and hybrid workplace models. Instead of commuting to the office, most companies have adjusted to a hybrid workplace solution.
Employees and companies saw the benefits of the hybrid workplace during the pandemic, and some major companies are making a permanent change to how their company works. Find out more about why the hybrid workplace is growing in popularity and how you can implement it in your company.
What Is a Hybrid Workplace?
A hybrid workplace offers a blend of in-office work and remote work. Employees are able to work from the office, but as part of their schedule they have the option to work at a remote location. Hybrid work looks different for each company, as it can be modified to match the needs and structure of the organization.
How Has the COVID Pandemic Affected the Hybrid Workplace Model?
When COVID-19 struck, it forced changes in both society and the workplace. One of the biggest changes was the limitations put in place to how people could safely interact. Because corporate teams could no longer meet together, the pandemic triggered a digital revolution, with the corporate workplace quickly trying to create a way for employees to work remotely.
In 2019, about a third of Americans worked remotely. This number significantly increased during the pandemic, with a historic switch to the overwhelming majority of employees working in a hybrid or completely remote environment.
Initially, there was some fear around such a major shift to the structure of the workplace. However, despite some initial predictions, the economy performed better than expected as both employers and employees saw the benefits of remote work.
Those benefits were so impactful that many employees wanted to continue working remotely and employers decided to continue to allow remote work, even after lockdowns and restrictions have been lifted. It is difficult to estimate the outcome of the COVID pandemic on remote work, but some suggest that as much as 65% of the workforce will want to keep working remotely even after the pandemic has passed.
Hybrid workplaces have been established to combine the benefits of working from home with those of meeting coworkers in an office environment. Hybrids give the best of both worlds to meet employee needs.
What Are the Benefits of a Hybrid Workplace?
A hybrid work schedule helps both the employee and the employer. Here are just a few of the ways a hybrid workplace solution can help your company.
• Ability to Attract and Retain Talent
Thanks to the pandemic and the influx of employees who experienced the many benefits of working remotely, more employees are looking for those benefits to continue. Companies that offer hybrid options have a better chance of attracting new talent who are looking to work for a company that offers hybrid workplace solutions, and are able to better retain their existing talent.
• Increased Job Satisfaction
Remote work has a positive relationship with job satisfaction. The option for a hybrid workplace helps employees feel they have more autonomy and can resolve any work-family conflicts, which helps them feel more satisfied.
• Increased Productivity
While some workers say that it’s difficult to stay attentive or productive while surrounded by distractions at home, research shows that remote workers are more productive than those who work at the office.
• Improved Employee Mental Health
The COVID-19 pandemic seriously impacted the mental health of millions of Americans. Throughout the pandemic, there was an increase in major depressive episodes and suicidal ideation. However, a hybrid work environment helps create an essential space to find a better work-life balance. Additionally, remote work also helps reduce stress by removing distractions and interruptions from colleagues and office politics, and creating a more comfortable, personalized, and quiet work environment.
• Improved Inclusion
Working in a traditional office leads to working with the same teams and circles of people. In most work environments, there is no need to socialize or interact with other workers unless you are working together on a project. With a hybrid workplace solution, companies have the potential to help create cross-functional meetings and improve inclusivity. Meeting and interacting with more individuals introduces workers to a wide variety of opinions and ideas and reduces bias.
• More Diverse Hiring Practices
Companies are not restricted to their typical location bases when they offer remote and hybrid work environments. This helps companies to hire a more diverse and dispersed team. With a more diverse team, companies are able to drive innovation and inspire creativity.
• More Environmentally Friendly
Remote and hybrid workplace solutions remove or significantly reduce commuting time. This reduces the carbon footprint of each employee and helps keep cities smog-free. Additionally, employees who work remotely deal with everything digitally, which removes the impact of piles of physical paperwork. By switching to a hybrid workplace model, your company helps reduce emissions and becomes more environmentally friendly.
How Can You Make a Hybrid Work Environment Work for Your Company?
Introducing a hybrid work choice for your company doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few simple steps you can take when creating your own hybrid option.
1. Survey Employees
Before you make any decisions about remote, virtual, and hybrid options for your company, start by determining the need for those options. The more interest and demand there is behind the initiative, the more prepared your company will have to be. Planning for 10% of your employees to work hybrid is a very different problem than creating a plan for 70% of your workforce to work remotely.
As part of the initial survey, assess whether your workers have appropriate work settings to work remotely. If they do not have access to essential resources like a stable internet connection, they may not qualify to work remotely. At the same time, temporary, rented meeting rooms or office space might be an economical solution if your employees only need these things sometimes.
2. Pick Your Hybrid Workplace Model
You get to determine what hybrid work looks like for your company. There is a wide range of options, and it is up to you to determine what is best for your organization. You should tackle questions like:
• How often are employees expected to work remotely?
• How often are employees expected to come to the office?
• To offset spikes of attendance and overfilling the office, will you implement staggered hybrid options? For example, some employees working M/W remotely, and others working T/Th remotely.
• Do entire teams have to be on the same hybrid schedule so they can be in the office on the same days?
• Which meetings are required to attend in-person/digitally?
• Which roles/tasks/assignments can be completed remotely? Which responsibilities must be completed in the office?
• How flexible is the hybrid work schedule? What hours are remote employees expected to work each day?
Establishing the model you’re using will help you ensure that work is being done, while also providing employees with information about how they are expected to perform to succeed.
3. Ensure Hybrid Workers Receive Equal Opportunities
Hybrid workers are sometimes forgotten or overlooked because they aren’t in the office. Hybrid workers should never feel like second-class employees and deserve the same treatment as your traditional employees. They are just as valuable as employees who come into the office and deserve the same attention and training.
Consider answering the following questions:
• How will you measure employee productivity for both in-house and hybrid workers?
• How will you avoid giving preference to team members according to visibility and recency?
• How will you make information accessible to your entire team? Remote workers don’t have access to the “buzz” in the office. What channel will leadership use to clearly and consistently communicate key pieces of information?
4. Assess and Prepare Digital Workplace Tools
Your company has to provide software and other necessary tools to help your employees to work in a hybrid work environment. This should include a virtual meeting platform, a digital communication channel, and a shared online calendar or project manager, including any necessary hardware or software needed for remote workers to perform their job.
Some hardware, like a laptop or keyboard, can easily travel to and from remote locations, but you may have to invest in necessary duplicate materials to ensure your employees have the tools they need to succeed.
5. Establish a Data-Driven Feedback Loop
When you’re first starting out, your hybrid model won’t be perfect. It may take some time to figure out. When first establishing a hybrid model, be comfortable in the fact that nothing is set in stone and there is always room for improvement.
The ideal implementation strategy for your company will only come through feedback and improvement. This should include both employee input and workplace analytics to determine where there are opportunities for growth.
Remember to be transparent with employees about the shifting needs and growth of your hybrid model. As you grow and start to emphasize new key performance indicators in your hybrid model, always inform your employees about the new expectations.
6. Refine Hybrid Workplace Culture
Hybrid workplace culture links employees together with your brand and provides an opportunity to improve engagement, happiness, productivity, and retention rates. Hybrid employees should still be a part of that culture even while working remotely. Small “water cooler moments” and similar workplace moments should still be possible for hybrid workers to feel your workplace culture.
Extend Your Hybrid Environment with Davinci
If you’re working remotely with a hybrid workplace, choose to use a Davinci virtual office space. They help you retain a professional work environment and look even if you work remotely and feature a professional business address, mail forwarding, and lobby directory listing.