At the height of the pandemic, many businesses were forced to suddenly adopt remote work setups in order to stay operational. However, when COVID-19 cases started to drop, the government gradually eased restrictions. In response, some organizations shifted to hybrid work, an arrangement that blends in-office and at-home work setups.
While a hybrid work environment brings plenty of benefits, such as flexibility and improved employee well-being, it also introduces some challenges.
1. Your hybrid work arrangement needs to be clear
A hybrid work setup can be implemented in so many ways. For example, some organizations may require their employees to work from home on some days, and in the office on other days. For other companies, a hybrid work arrangement may mean some employees can work completely remotely, while some have to report to the office every workday or only on certain days. Given how different hybrid work setups can be, you need to clearly state how your company will operationalize your own version. Having no clear hybrid work policy to follow may confuse or frustrate your employees.
Solution: Create a new or update your existing flexible work policy. It should include the following details:
- What type of hybrid work model will be adopted
- How to be eligible for hybrid working
- How eligible employees can request hybrid work privileges
- What company policies and procedures will be put in place
- Who will have new or adjusted roles and responsibilities in the hybrid work setup
2. You need to have the right amount of office space
You’ll need office space to enable a hybrid work setup. This office space, however, may become underutilized or overcrowded if you fail to plan properly before rolling out this work arrangement.
Solution: Shift to a dedicated office space that’s just big enough to accommodate a certain number of hot desks equal to the number of workers that you aim to be on site per day. A hot desk is a workstation that can be used by different workers — instead of one particular employee — at different times, on an ad hoc basis. This means staff must reserve a hot desk prior beforehand to ensure that there’s an available workstation for them in the office.
Another option is moving to a coworking office space where individuals or employees of different companies share facilities, equipment, utilities, and services (e.g., receptionist, office maintenance). Such a space will enable your company to realize cost savings while also ensuring that there are enough workstations for in-office employees on any given day.
3. Managers have to be able to manage hybrid work staff
Managing remote employees can get tricky, what more managing both remote employees and in-office workers.
For instance, managers might find it difficult to provide adequate guidance and feedback to their remote subordinates. In other cases, managers may begin favoring in-office workers over their not-so-visible remote counterparts. This prevents remote employees from having equal access to promotions and other career advancement opportunities.
Solution: Use online communication and reporting tools that are accessible to both remote and in-office workers. This will enable managers and workers — regardless of their respective physical locations — to easily converse and work with one another.
Your company should also use performance monitoring and evaluation tools that allow managers to objectively evaluate employees. This way, workers who meet their performance metrics — regardless of how much face time they have with their managers — are the ones who get promoted.
4. Hybrid work staff must find ways to connect with one another
When people aren’t working together in the same location, it may be more challenging for them to develop and/or maintain strong relationships with one another. Some workers may then feel disconnected from their colleagues and less committed to the company, pushing them to search for work opportunities elsewhere.
Solution: Equip all employees with videoconferencing tools and high-speed internet connections so that everyone can stay in touch with one another. Train facilitators on hybrid meeting best practices to keep both in-person and remote workers engaged.
Make sure to also schedule in-person company events (e.g., conferences, team building activities, and retreats). Such events enable workers to have casual conversations with one another and foster social connections. Finally, don’t forget to celebrate employee birthdays and other special occasions.
Safebit can equip your company with the right IT solutions that can lead to a successful hybrid work environment. Get in touch with us today.