As we move further into the remote work era, many companies are working through the best model for their team. Many people prefer remote work and wish to stay remote in their role for the foreseeable future, while others can’t wait to get back to in-person collaboration and being back in the office. When you have a team of employees with both points of view, what’s the best way to move forward with a solution? In this case, a hybrid workplace model might be the best solution for you.
What is a Hybrid Workplace Model?
A hybrid workplace model combines both in-person and remote work for the best of both worlds with some team members in the office, some at home, and a more flexible schedule. There are different ways you can set up a hybrid model for your team, as it’s not a one-size-fits-all.
You can implement a fully flexible hybrid workplace model that allows employees the autonomy to make their schedule and decide which days (if any) they’d like to be in the office. Alternatively, you can assign specific days of the week that the team is required to be in the office. With this model, you must decide if you want the entire team to be there on the same days, alternating days, or if you’d like to leave that decision up to the managers. If managers are given the ability to dictate the schedule, this will create more coherence within a team but not necessarily within the entire company.
Hybrid Workplace Culture
Before deciding on a hybrid design for your team, you may find yourself asking what hybrid workplace culture is like. Humans innately crave connectivity and interaction with each other, so it’s essential to bring this to the forefront of your culture. Working remotely can leave employees feeling lonely or siloed suffering from Zoom fatigue and their nearest coworker being the dog at their feet. A hybrid model brings that in-person connection back to your team while leaving room for flexibility and remote work.
Pros of Hybrid Workplace Models for the Company
Hybrid teams provide many benefits for both the company and the employees, even strengthening the company as a whole. Benefits companies may see after implementing a hybrid workplace model include:
- Recruit from a larger talent pool: because a hybrid model allows some employees to remain remote, you retain the ability to recruit top talent regardless of geographic location. The benefit for local employees may include the ability to work from the office, but the company can still hire employees in any part of the country or world.
- Be prepared for what the future holds: The pandemic created such uncertainty about many aspects of life and changed the way we do a lot of things. However, a hybrid working model ensures a smoother transition should there be any more lockdowns in the future. Weather, illness, or any other life changes that may require employees to be flexible in their workspace are made easier when it’s already in place as a possibility.
- Reduce office space costs: While a traditional, fully in-person team requires office space to fit the entire team, a hybrid workspace does not. Knowing that your entire team will not all be working in the office at once means a smaller office space can accommodate the team. This can free up a lot of budgets to focus on different areas of your business or employee wellness.
- Ease decision-making about returning to the office: Pressure is put on companies to make a black and white decision: are we working remotely or are we requiring everyone to come back to the office? However, a hybrid model bridges that divide by providing a middle ground that allows flexibility for employees while allowing some
- Keep your team healthy and happy: Employees value the freedom and flexibility remote work provides, so a hybrid model can contribute to overall employee happiness. Additionally, not requiring daily office attendance means employees who may be coming down with an illness do not feel pressured to work in-office where they may get other members of the team sick.
Pros of Hybrid Workplace Models for the Employees
In addition to providing many benefits for the company, a hybrid work model also benefits individual employees. A few ways employees can benefit from a hybrid model include:
- Increase productivity the way it works best for you: Different tasks may require different team setups to be most efficient. While the early days of the pandemic showed that most jobs can be done fully remote, there are some things in-person work offers that just can’t be replaced. Hybrid remote work models offer the best of both worlds by allowing employees to meet in person when needed to discuss ideas, projects, or anything that may be easier to hash out in person.
- Improve work/life balance: Remote work alone offers a lot of positives in this direction, like eliminating time spent on a soul-sucking commute. Zero time commuting means more time with family and friends, and more time for the “life” part of work/life balance. However, it’s easy to let that creep over from work/life balance to feeling like you live at work. When there is no separation of space between work and life, it can take a toll on your mental health. A hybrid model offers the ability to get out of your regular routine and spend time working in a different space with your coworkers. This separation can lead to more creativity, too.
- Improve relationships with your coworkers: Remote work can create a distance between you and your closest teammates, despite how much you chat, Slack, email, and Zoom every day. Being able to get together in person is not just great for ideas, creativity, and productivity, it’s also beneficial for the bond between you and your team.
- Flexibility in location: Want to spend a day working from the office? Do it! Want to spend a day working from the lake? Do it! A hybrid model allows an approach to flexible work schedules that includes designated office space and a home base for the team. While you may want to take your work on the road, around the globe, or to a coffee shop, you can also dedicate time to meeting in person with your team to accomplish tasks easier done in person than via phone. You don’t just have flexibility in a location with a hybrid model, you have an office space that provides a way to come together when you need to, too.
The Importance of Work/Life Balance
One of the major benefits of a hybrid workplace is flexibility that improves work/life balance. This balance is not just beneficial for the employee, but ultimately also for the employer in things such as employee retention and productivity. Studies show that both health and family are equally important to people when it comes to work/life balance. Prioritizing relationships, health, well-being, and things that matter most to each person leads to a happier, healthier lifestyle.
Putting the emphasis on the “life” in work/life balance is sometimes easier said than done, though. The amount of time spent at work directly impacts work/life balance. According to OECD, about 10% of US employees work 50+ hours per week, or 10 hours a day. A flexible, hybrid workplace allows employees to have the space and freedom to do so. For example, if your family is the top priority, being able to attend your son’s school performance instead of sitting in traffic on a commute is an opportunity you may have. Alternatively, if you benefit from in-person meetings and teamwork, having the opportunity to work collaboratively in person is available, as well.
Things to Consider When Implementing a Hybrid Workplace Model
While a hybrid work model provides many benefits, there are a few things you may want to consider when you implement this structure for your team. First, scheduling with scaled-back office space is key to ensuring both enough space for everyone and optimal team schedules. For example, if a team allows flexible scheduling but ends up in-office on alternating days, the in-person benefits of a hybrid workplace are lost and it ends up remaining the same as everyone working from home. Clear communication and scheduling will avoid any conflicts, overcrowding of space, or alternating team days.
Even though some employees may be in the office at any given time, you maintain a strong reliance on technology for all functions of communication, business, and productivity. If a necessary software is down for any reason, this could hinder progress and team collaboration until the problem is resolved.
Lastly, a hybrid model may not make sense for every company. The size of your team, industry, and job function all play a role in this decision. Speak to your employees, gather sentiment on returning to the office several days a week or on their own schedule, and assess remote productivity.
Teamraderie can Help Improve your Hybrid Team
Maintaining connection, communication, and trust within a hybrid team is important for the success of each individual as well as the company. Teamraderie creates meaningful experiences curated with your specific goals in mind. By taking part in our experiences, you can improve team dynamics, encourage health and wellness, build trust, and collaborate with your hybrid team.
Explore all experience options for your team and improve your hybrid workplace.