What are some examples of successful Hybrid Work Models
In 2020, almost every team was talking about remote work. How to do it effectively, what the challenges were, and whether it was a good fit. In 2021, the conversation has shifted to being about hybrid work. How can organizations combine remote workers with an in-person component in their existing office spaces now that people are starting to meet in person again?
As workplaces begin to reopen, organizations find that their workforce is unwilling to give up remote work. People who started working remotely because of Covid-19 overwhelmingly support it and want to continue to do so. Companies can no longer say they can't operate remotely. Still, with a global pandemic underway, they can't ask employees to return to the office full time. The most popular solution is the hybrid work model that all organizations seem to be grappling with right now.
Different types of Hybrid Work Models
People refer to the hybrid work model a lot, but there isn't precisely a clearly defined example. Ultimately, it involves a combination of working remotely and from an office. So far, the hybrid work looks different for each organization, but there are some clear themes. However, companies that choose to incorporate a hybrid work model will face some challenges regardless of the details.
a. Office Occasional
Some companies are anxious to get back to the office. They may not want to lose money on unused office space or are not yet sold on remote work. These companies may set up a hybrid work model that can be described as office-occasional. The idea here is to have employees come into the office several times a week.
The core of this model is that the company is not going completely remote. Instead, they choose to maintain an office and require employees to spend some time in the office. Some employees may even want to spend more time than needed there. Regardless, the workforce will be primarily local rather than distributed because employees have to come to the office from time to time.
b. Remote First
Many leaders choose to go remote first, which means their operations will closely mirror an entire small company, with some exceptions.
Remote work will first look slightly different for everyone. Still, the main principle is that the company should act as an entire small company with employees distributed across time zones and default to online communication.
c. Office first, remote work allowed
Another option is to maintain office and remote work but designate the office as the primary workplace. This was a standard configuration before COVID-19; companies would have a small percentage of their remote workforce, and the rest would work from a prior office space.
This approach is widespread if the entire leadership team is in the office. The rest of the company is likely to be office-centric by default. The leadership team will generally have in-person conversations and collaboration to exclude remote workers.
However, the hybrid workplace model is a type of work environment that combines aspects of remote and in-office work. In a typical hybrid workplace, some or all employees have the freedom to choose where and when they work, dividing their time between working from home or at the central office.
Using the hybrid workplace model, a company may have one or more offices in which a portion of its employees regularly attend, while the rest work remotely or from home. This model is the opposite of a fully remote position. There are no physical facilities, and all employees work remotely.
A hybrid work environment depends on the company but could include permanently on-site employees or different teams working on staggered schedules, with exchanges every two weeks. A hybrid workplace could be almost entirely remote, with employees coming together for face-to-face meetings. Or they could be almost entirely in the office, with only a small group of employees or teams working remotely.
Pros and Cons of Hybrid Work Model
Having a team with employees working from home and in the office offers many advantages for leaders and teams. Still, it also presents some challenges and drawbacks.
- Happier employees: some employees like working remotely, and others like casual chats in the office; with this model, workers can get a balance.
- Increased employee retention: employees are more likely to stay longer if they are happy. Offering this type of flexibility to team members can prevent them from looking for other employment options.
- More candidates: don't worry, as a leader, you also have more options. If you have an opening on the team, you can search for the best candidate anywhere in the world.
- Difficulty making social connections: Relationships with colleagues are essential. Making those connections can be tricky when people are not in the exact location.
- Lack of visibility: it's much harder for managers to know what employees are working on, which is a problem for employees.
- Lack of communication: When working under a hybrid work model, it is more challenging to bring all employees together, which leads to isolation or loss of information and errors. Unfortunately, this type of situation is familiar to many remote teams.
Examples of Hybrid Work
- Working from the office every monthFor example, employees are directed to come to the office two days a week of their choice. Depending on the needs of the company, this can be a somewhat flexible policy. As Facebook did at the beginning of the pandemic, employees are instructed to come to the office two days a week of their choice.
- Working from the office or remoteAn example of this hybrid working model occurred due to a large number of Covid-19 contagions with Microsoft. This company established that part of the workers worked on-site while others worked remotely.
- Working remotelyQuora announced that they would be moving to the first remote model. This approach means that employees can move out of the office but that the company will maintain its office space for those employees who value it. In particular, it specified that it would not work out of the office or be there more than once a month and that the leadership team would also not be in the office.
- Working from officeGeneral Motors references this type of hybrid work, which announced that employees would return to certain plants and use personal protective equipment, which will become part of the official work uniform. Companies that adopt this hybrid work model must ensure compliance with biosafety measures.
Which model is best for your organization?
Some tasks can be performed from home, and others must be carried out in person. The human resources department should classify employees according to their functions and health status. Caution should be taken with people who have already had a coronavirus or suffer from a chronic illness so that they can only work from home.
Priority should be given to people at risk to provide them with the necessary facilities to work safely and comfortably. Likewise, the company should test employees who come to the office for coronavirus regularly to prevent contagion.
Finally, it is also crucial that leaders consider their facilities as their cultural headquarters rather than their primary workplace.
In a scenario where workers will be distributed in different environments, offices become the strategic location for team cohesion and fostering creativity and collaboration, among other relevant work competencies to be developed in 2021.
Regardless of the method of organization, the goal of a hybrid workplace is to balance the individual needs of each worker with their ability to collaborate and be productive in a shared workspace.