Hybrid work is a new trend that organizations worldwide embrace since the advent of COVID-19 and remote work. As a result, many organizations now understand the benefits of flexible working for multiple stakeholders. But what is this hybrid working? How to make a smooth transition to hybrid work and make use of all of its benefits?
Simply put, hybrid work is a model that organizations use to give their employees flexible working conditions – they can work from anywhere, on their own schedule. Many companies have been obligated to embrace remote working since last year, and the majority of them have discovered that many employees prefer this working method. Therefore, to support their employees’ preferences, many employers will maintain remote work options in the workplace.
According to a survey by Envoy, nearly half of respondents (48%) said they would like to work from home on certain days and from the office on others. Since remote work is here to stay, hybrid work is here too! However, hybrid work has some drawbacks, so companies need to follow certain best practices to manage their hybrid workforce.
Let’s take a closer look at what employers can do to successfully manage hybrid forms of work in their organizations.
How to effectively manage hybrid work model
Data from a recent study by WeWork and Workplace Intelligence shows that 75% of employees are willing to sacrifice at least one benefit or perk in exchange for the flexibility to pick their work environment.t. In comparison, 64% would pay up to $300 for access to an office space.
While many employees appreciate hybrid working and can significantly improve workplace culture, it has its pitfalls and downsides. Since hybrid working typically means a combination of office and remote workers, employers must figure out the best method to manage both types of work.
Physical-virtual work landscape by Envoy.
Follow these next steps to help your hybrid employees succeed.
Meet the requirements and preferences of your employees
To mitigate the conflicting sides of remote work, you must understand the impact on employee engagement and productivity. In addition, since employee collaboration is one of the most common downsides of remote work, it’s also important to understand the consequences of physical separation.
According to the earlier study, employees decide where to work based on what they need to get done (39%) and who else will work that day (37%). Therefore, understanding employee preferences and how they work is critical to establishing a successful hybrid working strategy.
Establish and communicate clear expectations
It’s never been easy to achieve good organizational alignment, and now it’s more important than ever. Hybrid working makes organizational alignment even more challenging, which is why clear communication about an organization’s strategy, goals, mission, and vision is critical.
Unfortunately, as Alight states, only 61% of employees say they receive the right amount of information about what’s happening in their company.
The distributed workforce needs to have a clear understanding of their shared goals. When employees and groups understand what is expected, they should never hold them back from achieving their goals.
Prioritize employee communication
Proper employee communication is an absolute requirement for successful hybrid working. Many employers struggle to take their communication efforts to the next level, but most have made workplace communication their top priority.
Based on the research above, employees’ main expectation is that their employers communicate effectively. However, only 42% of employees believe their company does an excellent job communicating overall. Good employee communication technology is often the biggest blocker to improving remote communication in the workplace. In contrast, the best employee communication apps are designed to support employers in reducing the adverse effects of remote work by making information more relevant and available to all employees.
Give and receive regular feedback
Hybrid work requires better employee listening. Getting feedback from your employees is critical to understanding the impact of hybrid work on employee wellbeing, motivation, engagement, collaboration, and productivity.
That’s why companies around the world conduct regular employee surveys. While they only conduct annual employee engagement surveys, some now collect daily feedback from their employees.
However, many employers struggle to get feedback from their employees, especially those hard to reach. Using the right technology that allows you to contact the right employee with the right content at the right time is critical to collecting valuable feedback from your employees.
Specify hybrid work principles
Your employees should never guess if and when to show up at the office. Although the hybrid work model ideally sits between remote-first and office-first, it can easily be dragged in either direction without clear guidelines. For this reason, it’s essential to establish new rules, procedures, and best practices for hybrid working. For example, if the collaboration and in-person meetings are important to some of your teams, you may want to establish two days a week when those teammates must meet in the office.
Treat all employees equally
Recently, Dropbox addressed an issue that many have neglected with the hybrid model – promotions and benefits may not be awarded equally. Dropbox’s statement said, “Hybrid approaches can also perpetuate two different employee experiences that can create barriers to inclusion and inequities in performance or career progression.”
Research on the topic also backs up the idea that employees who go to the office are more likely to be promoted. Gartner stated in their survey that 64% of managers are more likely to give office workers a higher raise than fieldworkers because they believe office workers are higher performers. Companies should invest in training managers to recognize biases against remote employees in performance reviews.
Provide remote workers with new benefits
Due to the rise of hybrid work arrangements, employers need to rethink their employees’ perks and benefits. While car allowances and travel expenses used to be a good perk, these benefits are no longer an option for most employees.
Employers are instead looking for more relevant perks for their remote employees. For example, some employers offer to cover the electricity bills and internet costs. Some offer home office supplies like standing desks, others pay for coworking spaces, and some even offer psychological support.
Upgrade your tech stack
If you want to introduce the hybrid work model into your business, you first need to ensure that your company’s tech stack can support it. Since the advent of the pandemic, many software vendors have adapted their technologies to support remote working.
Fortunately, modern employee apps, employee engagement software, and employee communication tools allow employers to adapt to new working methods and keep their employees informed, safe, and productive.
Another key benefit of this technology is the ability to combine multiple tools into a single platform. Today’s organizational technology ecosystem is becoming extremely complex, and integrating technology is at the top of every organization’s priority list.
Best Advantages of Hybrid Work
Even though hybrid work has downsides, much research proves that flexibility motivates employees, makes them more engaged and productive, and keeps them longer.
Here are the key advantages of hybrid work models.
Improved employee experience and satisfaction
According to research, 66% of employees say they are concerned about their health and safety when it comes to returning to work, and 56% of employees believe a hybrid working model would positively impact them.
The hybrid working model inevitably offers much more flexibility, positively impacting employee wellbeing, safety, and work-life balance.
Increased employee performance and engagement
Happier employees with better work experiences are also considered to be more engaged with their tasks. According to a Gallup survey, employees who practiced remote work before the pandemic and during the pandemic had the highest levels of engagement.
Many professionals and well-known leaders worldwide agree that hybrid working is not just a temporary solution to meet pandemic health guidelines but part of a permanent shift in the way we work.
Attracted and retained better talents
The study mentioned above showed that 41% of workers would accept a lower salary if the company offered a hybrid work model. So while total flexibility used to be a rare talent attractor, it is now becoming a requirement for many employees.
Similarly, employees who value flexibility stay longer with companies that offer hybrid work models. Flexibility allows employees to create greater balance and autonomy during their week. Employees can spend time with their children, avoid taking vacation days for medical appointments and save time and money on commuting.
Proper communication is the key to successful hybrid working
As mentioned earlier, good communication and proper workplace management are prerequisites for successful hybrid working. When employees rarely see each other and managers have limited face-to-face meetings with their teams, digital communication channels and HR software become crucial. Skilo is comprehensive HR solution companies can use to transition to hybrid work in their organizations.
Learn how Skilo can help you improve employee experience and implement and better manage hybrid work in your workplace.
Skilo is a Salesforce native app that provides a ready-to-use talent management solution. It streamlines, simplifies, and unifies the end-to-end process of talent acquisition, development, and retention. Skilo provides effective performance management, competency frameworks, along with skills development, career planning, training management, feedback, reviews, and social employee engagement. For more information, please visit www.skilohr.com, Linkedin profile, and Facebook page.