What are different models of Hybrid Remote work?

The Hybrid Remote Work model refers to a flexible work arrangement that allows a team to work from any location and at any time when they are most productive. The pandemic has forced us to reimagine the future of work with the hybrid model emerging as the most popular choice. Hybrid remote work models blend the best of remote work models with the traditional in-office working models.


Hybrid remote work models are classified based on preferences for work location and work schedule. Depending on the prescribed preferences, you may want to consider one of these types of hybrid work models

  1. All-remote
  2. Office-centric
  3. Remote friendly
  4. Time split
  5. Team split

All Remote

The All-remote model allows employees to work anywhere and in the comfort of their personal space. The approach allows its teams to balance work and personal lives. It derives from the concept that you don't need to be in the office to work. The All-Remote model was a part of many businesses way before the pandemic hit, however, a shift in our working environment post-pandemic further highlighted it. Remote workers are those who work from home, coffee shops, or other places that aren't an office. They might even have a small space set up for themselves at their house or another location.

An example of the All-Remote Model is Gitlab, the world's largest all remote company with 1,200 team members spread across 65 countries. Remote work has made its space in the employees' "must-have" list so much so that a recent study by Growmotely suggests that 97% don't want to return to the office full-time and demands some kind of flexibility regarding work. Another data suggests that 61% of employees prefer being fully remote.

These numbers present that your team is looking for more than just a place to work, they are aiming for overall development and opportunities that allow them to explore their hobbies, indulge in family time while focusing on personal development.This approach has plenty of benefits, especially for those who enjoy working alone. There's no office drama or distractions and workers don't have to worry about feeling pressure from coworkers because there won't be any in their space. "While this model offers a major advantage of minimizing inequities, it can be very challenging to build a strong sense of belonging," adds Rebecca Hinds, an organizational physician and entrepreneur.


Office centric

At premise work model brings your team into an office together under one roof, which makes for easy collaboration and immediate feedback. Rebecca Hinds, an organizational physician and entrepreneur, shares her experience with this model at her company, Asana. She says that they are "adopting an office-centric hybrid approach in which employees will be co-located in an office most of the time but are able to work from home on Wednesdays and also have a lot of flexibility in terms of setting their own hours."

This work model provides a sense of camaraderie, teamwork ,and synergy that happens when people are in the same space working toward the same goal. Employees can pick up on social cues through nonverbal communication or share their ideas during brainstorming sessions without needing to find time for a video chat. However, there are some downsides to this model. Not everyone wants to work in the same space, which means you'll have to hire multiple teams who work well together and understand how their lack of face-to-face collaboration will affect the outcome.


Remote friendly

Remote friendly allows flexibility of work while keeping the office visits in mind.

It is a sweet spot between All-Remote and Five-days at the office work model for IT and allied industries that require some work to be done from the workplace. For example, you might have a design team work at your office, but allow your marketing and customer service teams to work from home. This gives remote workers the freedom they want while also granting the on-site team the ability to be face-to-face when needed.

Hybrid remote work could be good for those who like the idea of working with other people but don't want to do it all day every day. They might feel pressured by coworkers and need time away from them to concentrate on a task. It could also be that they just struggle with social anxiety and would rather work in an environment where they can have some quiet time. "The biggest pitfall of this approach is that remote workers can end up feeling like second-class citizens. They also often have fewer career opportunities. That combination is bad for employee engagement, productivity and retention," writes Hailey Griffis, the head of public relations at Buffer.

It allows your team to optimize work when most productive. On productive days, they can visit the office and switch to a more remote version on days when they feel like following their creative pace. The option to choose when and where to work is what makes the Hybrid approach a popular alternative to many organizations.

As per an annual report by Owllabs, 90% of US employees believe that they were more productive while working remotely. And 84% of employees are ready to take a pay cut because working remotely makes them happier.

US employee perception towards hybrid work


Time Split


Time-based classification experiments with routine schedules and eliminates the need to be present "9-5" to complete a task. It provides your team with options based on their willingness and ability to visit the office space. Different time split models to consider include

  1. At-will model
  2. Week model (Split-week model & Week-by-week)

At-Will model

This model allows your team to visit the office when needed. It is helpful for those who are ready to step out of their homes and feel it's safe to work from the office and share the space with others.The at-will model requires teams to collaborate and deliver real time productive results by being physically present in the office space.

Pros:

1. Better collaboration.

2. Increased productivity.

3. A sense of team spirit with teams working together within a common space.

Cons:

1. Not ideal for teams located in multiple locations.

2. Less productive for teams with routine tasks.

Week model

As the name suggests, this model allows your team to pick days on when to work remote or from office. It can further be classified into split week and week-by-week approach.

The split week approach divides a week among days when your team members are expected to show up for work. This model works best for organizations with global presence, the days of a week are divided between a team. For example, a few team members can work on-site on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday while the rest can visit the office on the remaining days of the week.

The week-by-week approach allows your team to work alternately between home and office with employees working a week from home and another one from the office. This provides balance and flexibility of work and lets your team members decide the weeks that they would want to visit the office. It fosters efficiency and productivity while keeping the organizational goals in mind.

Pros:

1. Eliminates overcrowded office space.

2. Less operational costs.

3. Work flexibility.

4. Productive results.

Cons:

1. Lacks inter-team interaction.

2. Less productive for small scale organizations.

3. Less team interaction.

4. Would require team members to be located around the office space.


Team Split

In this model designated teams can work from the office based on need and nature of work while others are allowed flexibility to work from home. Teams are divided into two or more offices with a few teams assigned on-site work while the others continue to work remote.

Offices under team split model are interdependent and not affected by geographical constraints  which means they can be co-located with team offices in the same city or global with offices in different countries. For example, a team overlooking a new product launch can be divided and assigned different offices catering to individual launch needs such as market research, competitor analysis, prototype production, marketing, etc.

Pros:

1. Better productivity with dedicated teams.

2. Flexibility of work.

Cons:

1. Less opportunities for team bonding.

2. Lack of collaboration.



How to successfully adopt a hybrid remote work model

The hybrid model encourages your team to visit the office space once in a while, which further leads to regular interaction with coworkers, participation in team-building activities, and spontaneous communication which assures team camaraderie. It offers a way to strategize tasks while ensuring an overall employee experience and brings satisfactory results for large and small enterprises.

A well laid out plan to outline organizational and your team’s goals is essential to maximize the results of a hybrid remote work model. A few ways to make a hybrid remote work model adaptable for your team:

  1. Encourage inter-team interactions and allow your team to participate in the process.
  2. Outline a strategy with clear guidelines for remote and office work schedule to avoid unnecessary confusion within the team.
  3. Practice inclusion by keeping your communication channels accessible to remote as well as at-office teams.
  4. Find a balance between your team’s productivity in remote and at-office working conditions.
  5. Follow the results and keep experimenting with hybrid models to find the one that works best for your team.

To read more about ways to get started with hybrid working models, click here.


Which companies are going Hybrid?

The world of work is ever changing. People are no longer merely punching the clock at nine and five but looking for balance in their workspace. Globally small businesses and large corporations, predominantly in IT like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, and Facebook have all transitioned into all-remote or hybrid-remote workplaces.

A prominent research by Buffer, State of Remote Work 2021 studied 2300 remote workers and found that 97.6% of them choose to work remotely at present and would like to continue in the future. Almost the same percentage of them readily suggest remote work models to others. This set of data speaks volumes about the hybrid transition that your teams are looking forward to. Some prominent organizations that have successfully gone hybrid in the past years are:

  1. Spotify
  2. Hubspot
  3. Lockheed
  4. Reddit
  5. Grammarly
  6. Citigroup




Which is the right model for your team?

Some of your team members enjoy creative liberty and work best in a remote setup while some thrive around spaces shared with the rest of the team. You need to pick a working model that enables the best in your teams. Hybrid remote work models help you to design a routine that is centered around your team's preferences and is flexible with the change in routines.

Office-centric and weekly time split for large organizations: Adapting to the change post-pandemic can be tricky for large enterprises because of their global presence and teams working in different time zones. Lack of proper communication brought by the absence of a shared space can cause critical team alignment problems. The office-centric model works best for the industries such as professional service firms and IT industries that function on large hubs with employees expected to brainstorm ideas and innovations daily. A hybrid model for such an organization should be strategized in a way that allows remote working while keeping the option of visiting the office open to the teams. Large enterprises can also engage in a weekly time split which fosters flexibility and productivity in the organizations while keeping the organizational costs in check. In a large scale enterprise, teams work together on specialized knowledge and creative based activities and managing such teams are made easy with office-centric and weekly-split which expects teams to participate in frequent collaboration through physical presence in the office. For example, while the remote teams can include employees who cater to different time zones backed up by asynchronous meetings and daily feedback processes, the office space can host employees who live close to the hubs and are ready to commute.

Flexible location and at-will time split for small businesses: Flexible approach is suitable for small enterprises with routine tasks that can be distributed and digitalized across teams to derive results. It provides the team members flexibility of working when they are the most productive. Likewise, the At-will model allows your team to prioritize working remotely while keeping the option to visit office spaces open. Your team members who work the best in a shared space can visit the office while the ones who like more flexibility around their work can work remotely.  This hybrid work model thus allows each worker to utilize the most efficient work practices for them optimizing your workforce. For example, small scale organizations with hubs centered around a few countries can practice a flexible approach under an at-will working model for their teams. The reason to do so will be the limited expansion of small businesses that doesn’t necessarily require the team's presence at the office.


Conclusion

The selection of the right model for your team can help to tap on the available opportunities in this transformational hour. Many economists have referred to this as the "Great Upheaval" where the employees have experienced the pros of flexibility that Hybrid remote Work Models offer and are willing to explore it even after the pandemic effect settles down. Any workplace that prioritizes and nurtures employee experience will need to meet the employees expectations for hybrid work.

The important thing to remember here is that you take your time and consider all the pros and cons of each model before choosing one for your organization. As a team leader, it's essential for you to know what will work best depending on what type of work your employees are responsible for since each model has different requirements.

Take some time to analyze the clientele you serve as well as the industry your company belongs to. This will help you decide which hybrid model is best suited for your organization. If you're still having trouble determining which model is right for your company, you can always test out a few options and see how they affect productivity and employee satisfaction.

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