The hybrid work model is a trending business idea established to minimize the number of bodies in the office at any given time. Because of COVID-19, businesses have to implement new protocols for the safety of their employees and others. Such protocols include wearing masks and social distancing. However, for many employees and businesses, these protocols can be inconvenient. For this reason, many companies are choosing an additional method of keeping employees safe – reducing the number of employees that are physically present in the office.
This change allows for easier social distancing, reduction of office footprint, and a better work-life balance with less time spent commuting. The hybrid work model looks different in every company. However, the basic idea is that employees split their time in the office with time working remotely. This split makes it so that only a percentage of employees are in the office simultaneously, as opposed to everyone working in the same building at the same time.
This model requires some adjusting for leaders and employees. It is vital for the model’s success that leaders set it up in an organized and coherent manner so that everyone involved knows what to expect. These three components are crucial to the success of your company’s new hybrid work model.
In any good relationship, communication is critical. This principle is relevant not just in friendships and romantic relationships but in business relationships as well. Employees need to know what is expected of them when shifting to a hybrid work model. Setting expectations can be challenging; however, when employees understand what their leaders expect them to do, the transition to hybrid work becomes much less intimidating.
Transparency is always the first step when setting up any new system in a business. Employees will be more comfortable being honest with their leaders when they have an issue or challenge if their leaders are honest and open from the beginning. Start by highlighting the reasoning for switching to a hybrid work model. Talk specifically about the new model’s positives for employees. Starting in a positive but honest light will set the standard for how employees respond to the change.
Set Specific Guidelines
With a new work-model comes uncertainties for employees. With a hybrid work model, employees need to know what new responsibilities they will have. Set clear guidelines and expectations for remote work. If employees are supposed to put in a certain number of hours, how should time be tracked? If their work is task-oriented, where and how soon should projects be submitted? Questions like these are bound to be asked and essential to establish from the get-go. Be clear about required meetings, whether virtual or physical. If there are any other specific requirements, make it abundantly clear so that there is minimal confusion amongst employees.
Keep up with how your employees are doing. Reach out to them regularly and ask what is going well and what can be improved. Strive to continually amend your model to enhance the satisfaction and productivity of your employees. If you cannot reach out to each staff member individually, encourage them to submit a monthly report to their direct supervisor. The more feedback you receive from employees, the better you will adjust your system to accommodate their needs best.
2. Remote Collaboration
Community fuels productivity. Employees need to continue to be collaborative and communicative, even and especially when working from separate locations.
It is best to establish a schedule for employees that indicates which days they are to be in the office and what virtual or in-person meetings they are expected to attend. It is also helpful to give employees tools to schedule themselves and supervisors to organize their teams to work collaboratively at specific times, whether remotely or in person. This way, team members can collaborate and share their work in real-time, even from separate locations.
A considerable part of remote collaboration is utilizing free tools to make communication fast and easy. Tools such as Google Drive, Trello, Slack, and other cloud sharing and communication software encourage employees to give productive feedback as they are working. Such tools give employees a virtual “office space” to help keep the work organized and streamlined. Remote collaboration is essential to keeping a positive and close-knit company culture, even when employees are physically apart.
3. Finding Balance
The purpose of a hybrid work model is to have a combination of remote and in-office work. Ensure that each employee has a balanced schedule that takes care of their needs and concerns but still encourages them to participate in the community. Part of the hybrid work model is employees’ freedom to choose to work where they feel most productive and comfortable. However, supervisors and leaders within the company must assist and oversee this process to give employees the support they need.
Implementing a hybrid work model may be bumpy at first. However, if the above components are taken care of, it can be an extremely effective way to run a business.