The workplaces of the future are likely to use the hybrid workplace model. Remote work and hybrid workplaces were already trending hot – and then 2020 happened. The businesses that had never considered or desired a remote workforce were suddenly fully remote, seemingly overnight and with little to no preparation. Of course, at that strange point in time, it was what had to be done to keep things moving to keep businesses running.
These events caused a swift shift in the American workplace that is predicted to be here to stay. Even when we can safely say that we are in the aftermath of this pandemic, the hybrid workplace is sure to be a more permanent fixture in the way we set up our businesses. Here are some survey data points to paint the picture:
- 52% of workers surveyed say they prefer the hybrid work model.
- The majority of workers expect to work from home one day a week or less post-pandemic.
- 87% of leaders say they will allow more flexibility about where, when and how people work.
- 80% of American workers reportedly expect to work from home 1-3 days per week post-pandemic.
- 87% of leaders say they expect to allow more flexibility about where, when and how people work — a 38% increase from April 2020.
Contradictory to the headlines, keeping the workforce at 100% remote is not going to work for many organizations and their workers. The hybrid workplace is expected to be the new normal in today’s business world. This new paradigm shift leads to a bevy of important questions that need to be answered as we shift to the hybrid model.
Building a hybrid work culture presents some tricky problems
All the data points indicate that the hybrid workplace is here to stay, however the story doesn’t end there. Getting the hybrid model right is not easy. Just like anything company culture-related, the issue may go from being not easy to downright hard or impossible if not given ample planning.
First your company will need to deal with logistical issues. Deciding who works from home, who works from the office, and how often in-office workers will need a desk can be a complex issue. Some companies will find that they have enough desk space for every worker to maintain an office workstation, while others will need to implement a desk scheduling app to manage sign-ups.
And implementing structure to meetings and socializing events will be nuanced for every organization, every department, and every work style. Some departments may have everyone join every meeting in a web conferencing software, while others may choose to gather in a room with conference call tech. If your company does not implement a detailed policy and communicate that effectively to employees, your remote or hybrid workplace model can negatively impact your business’s culture and dampen collaboration and innovation.
How hybrid and remote work will impact company culture
The good news, however, if it’s done correctly, a well-strategized and well-executed hybrid workplace model can bring about cultural benefits that catapult your company above and beyond its vision and goals.
Innovation gets harder, but may produce better results
In an in-person office culture, opportunities to collaborate outside your immediate team abound. The ability to make connections and tap into technology to optimize those relationships becomes both more crucial and more elusive at the same time when workers are more separated by distance. With proper thought and planning, innovation and collaboration can also thrive. But meetings must be set and tech tools must be in place to support the collaboration session and follow up becomes more formal.
Offering hybrid work makes your company more competitive
The hybrid workplace brings with it many advantages that you’ll need in today’s competitive marketplace. A hybrid culture can emphasize work-life balance to recruits, and ease the anxiety employees may have related to returning to the office or hopping back onto public transit. Other competitive advantages include:
- Reduces costs – When you downsize or get rid of a centralized office, you can also remove expensive commercial real estate, insurance, taxes, and maintenance costs.
- Increases your ability to pivot – Scaling up, down or testing new markets gets easier and cheaper with a hybrid workplace that has undergone a digital transformation.
- Optimizes recruiting – Your talent pool just got a lot bigger as you are no longer confined to hiring employees limited to your nearby region.
Also Read: Tips for Onboarding Remote Employees
Tips to winning the switch to a hybrid workplace:
- Make it equitable – A hybrid work policy has to be fair to all employees. This will look different from org to org, but the work from home offering has to be inclusive to prevent a negative impact on culture.
- Measure the engagement – A key metric for your hybrid workplace launch is around engagement. Making sure your team is engaged whether in office or remote is your temperature of how well your plan is working.
- Training, tools and tech – Provide your employees with what they need to make things work. From the right tech to training on how to use it, set your team up for success and you’re on your way to a solid hybrid workplace.
More and more workers expect working from home to be an option on the table and organizations are becoming forced to adapt – pandemic or not. Additionally, organizations are seeing the benefits of the hybrid workplace in much further depth than just related to the pandemic. The key to a successful hybrid workplace is ensuring it has a positive net effect on the company, not negative. While this is not an easy endeavor, it is doable with proper planning and strategy.