How to Design Hybrid Work Experiments for your Team

  • Wednesday May 26, 2021
  • Hybrid Work   Remote Work  

When your company is considering taking the plunge into a hybrid work schedule, you want to be sure you do things right. As hybrid workplaces become more and more common, leaders are finding themselves confronted with the need to rethink things. Old assumptions about work, workplaces, and management may need to be changed.

 

For instance, McKinsey notes that about two-thirds of organizations have no specific detailed plan for hybrid work. However, a plan is essential for success. This includes experimentation around a hybrid work schedule that meets the needs of leaders and their team members.

 

Executives’ uncertainty on how to navigate ‘hybrid’ should not be considered a bad thing. There is opportunity to revisit workplace norms, lock-in pandemic productivity gains, and unleash a new era of work. This is a time for experiments and data-backed decision-making.

 

An MIT Sloan Management Review article provides helpful recommendations on how to design Hybrid Work experiments.

 

1. What types of questions can be solved with experiments and data?

Number of days per week to work in the office

Employees’ role in determining their schedules

Bounding work by hours vs. bounding work by outcomes

Supervision approaches

 

2. How to design the experiment?

Assign teams to different approaches, for example a company could have some groups work in the office every day, some work entirely at home, and some work a mixed schedule.

 

3. What are the KPIs to measure?

Outcome measures — productivity

Work satisfaction

Networking frequency

 

4. How to run the experiment?

Clarify the elements of the experiment

Document findings

Cast a wide net in the analyses

Start early and start small

 

5. Example experiments

Hybrid Work Experiments

 

The article suggests companies will find there will be variation in what constitutes an ideal solution from job category to job category, from team to team.

 

In an extensive study of knowledge workforce policies, segmenting workers and giving them some choice about work environments emerged as the two most important factors in work arrangement design.

 

Experimentation and data-backed decision-making are the best approaches for finding an ideal solution for each employee segment.

 

Last week, we launched Teamraderie Hybrid Work Resource Page to help leaders make important decisions as they transition into hybrid work. 

 

One of the hybrid work experiments to try with your team is to experience bonding through learning. Teamraderie has launched a new experience based on a fascinating story that you can explore together — ‘Discover Whiskey’ Through the Untold Story of Nearest Green.

 

The Most Important Factors in Hybrid Work Schedule Design

 

There was an extensive study done about knowledge workforce policies that may help when it comes to creating a hybrid work schedule and making other decisions. Looking at the information from the study, there are two main factors involved in creating the best work arrangement design. So, what are the two things you should be looking at?

 

First, segmenting workers is an essential part of the process. There are a host of ways to do this. Some group workers by their generation, such as Millennials or Baby Boomers, while others look at values, some consider diversity, and the rest look at the talents included in a group of workers.

 

However, there is a second part. Workers should have some amount of choice in the work environment that they spend time in. This includes bringing them in for a conversation about what kind of hybrid work schedule might work best for them. There are far more options than you might think when you first start researching the hybrid experience.

 

Employees aren’t going to be happy about moving into a hybrid work schedule if it’s just a directive that comes from leaders. A discussion needs to happen – several of them. A team discussion can be useful to get some insight into how workers are feeling. However, choosing the right hybrid work schedule also requires individual discussions.

 

When you talk with workers on their own, make sure to listen to their needs and preferences. Find out which work environment is right for the employee. In some cases, this might be a mostly office situation. In others, perhaps more time at home works. Others might have different needs. Discussions with every team member should be instituted.

 

Managing a Hybrid Work Schedule Experiment

 

When you’re working to determine a hybrid work schedule that is ideal for your team, there are several things to consider. The first major thing to determine is what tasks can be done in the office, which can be done at home, and which of them can be done in either place. There are going to be some tasks that work well remotely and others that might need the use of an office.

 

For instance, maybe you need to bring people to the office for networking, brainstorming, and meetings. Other things may be perfectly reasonable to do on a remote basis. In most cases, even a lot of communication can be done virtually nowadays, but it’s a matter of deciding what works for your team.

 

While data can help you make some decisions about a hybrid work schedule, it can’t be the only information taken into account. You also need to be sure that you are listening to your team. You can have meetings, as mentioned above, send out surveys, or use other methods that work for you. 

 

One way to do this is by having each member of the team outline all the things they do at work. This should include production items, as well as intangibles, leadership, mentorship, and other tasks. Once this information is available, it’s going to be easier to create a hybrid work schedule that considers everyone’s needs.

 

It can be a good idea to look at the things that team members have in common. The people who do the same things and collaborate should often have similar hours at the office. This lets them stay connected, gives them a chance to work together on projects, and can foster an environment of mentoring.

 

The two main factors that should be considered when making a hybrid work schedule are technology and communication. Technology makes it possible to communicate and collaborate, but it can take some work to choose the right options. Workers need a suite of tools such as chat apps, video conferencing software, virtual whiteboards, and project management software.

 

However, in a hybrid work schedule, time at the office can be used for the most important communication. Keeping major meetings in the office can be useful since people may feel a greater sense of togetherness in that environment. Again, this can vary based on the company, so look at the data and what your team members want.

 

There are several major stages to creating a hybrid schedule. First, organization is key. Knowing what needs to be done and where it can be done is a good step. Looking into data is the next thing that should be done. This can give insight into what might be best left in the office and what can be done remotely.

 

Beyond that, take in all the feedback you get from the team members. Often, they’ll bring up topics that you might not have considered on your own. Make sure to listen and see things from their point of view. This will ensure that everyone is happy when a hybrid work schedule is unveiled, and everyone starts to work partially from home and the rest of the time at the office. 

 

The final factor to keep in mind is that it’s okay to experiment. There are several hybrid work schedules you can choose from. Look at the options and consider which might work for you. If it turns out that one of them isn’t right, you still have plenty of options to choose from. All of them offer a range of benefits that fully in-office or remote environments do not.

 

Communicating a Hybrid Schedule to Your Team

 

There are three parts to communicating the new hybrid schedule to your team. The first is planning. Before you even start to send out information about the schedule, make sure it’s been planned out and is fully ready. This will make it easier for everyone who is making this change to a hybrid format.

 

A hybrid work schedule gives a ton of flexibility and may be embraced by team members, but only when done right. That means putting in the time to plan the schedule as well as how you will communicate it to the workers on your team. Have a plan in place before moving forward.

 

After the plan is ready, you can move forward with communicating it to the team. While this can be done through email or informal methods, formality tends to work best here. Bring everyone into a meeting and explain how the new hybrid work schedule is going to be arranged. 

 

Talk through the expectations and goals of the change and make sure everyone understands those things. Once that’s done, it’s important to leave room for everyone else to speak. Feedback is essential, and you need to listen truly. There may be good ideas or criticisms that you should consider as you move forward.

 

Remember that this entire process is a marathon, not a race. There’s no reason to rush headlong into things when you can instead take it slow. Moving from remote or in-office to hybrid isn’t something you can do in a day. Instead, you can slowly implement it into reality. 

 

Slowly ease the hybrid work schedule into place. Make tweaks and changes as needed. Over time, you can start to adjust it to the model that seems to work best for the team. Going slow and steady ensures you don’t end up introducing a schedule that doesn’t work, which can make workers unhappy and less productive.

 

Beyond that, remember good team communication processes. Determine how people like to chat and respect that. Make sure you have remote communication practices in place for everyone to use. Be sure you set expectations ahead of time in terms of when to be online, how the transition will go, whether there will be training, and how hours will be scheduled.

 

Make sure both on-site and remote workers are accommodated in meetings. It should be easy for everyone to stay on track. In addition, make it a rule to communicate with your team. Have check-ins to talk to workers and make sure things are going the way they should. This includes team meetings and one-on-ones. It’s sure to make it easier to make the hybrid work schedule a success.

 

Experiences can be explored and booked online via the Teamraderie experience finder

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