The COVID-19 pandemic has made huge changes in terms of where many people work. Lots of employees have been working at home to stay safe rather than spending hours at the office. As vaccination rates rise, executives are thinking about the next big transition. There is consensus that “hybrid” will become the dominant work style for most knowledge workers.
Companies are planning for the move from remote to hybrid work in many different ways. Many companies are already moving to this new work world, with employees coming into the office at least part of the time. However, workers have other opinions, which makes the whole question of remote vs. hybrid a lot more challenging to answer. Here are some examples:
“Google will be more “flexible” with its workers and offer a “hybrid” model that will include a blend of both remote and in-office methods of working.”
“Microsoft expects a partial work-from-home schedule to be routine for many of its jobs. Half of the company’s workforce or more could take advantage of flexible work arrangements.”
“Adobe plans to allow employees to work from home up to two to three days a week, with staffers able to make reservations for office desks.”
“Prudential expects most of its roughly 42,000 employees to work in the office half the time starting after Labor Day.”
“A majority of Ford Motor’s roughly 86,000 employees globally who haven’t returned to work yet are expected to start doing so this summer through a new hybrid work schedule.”
“In the long-term, Target will move toward a hybrid model of remote and on-site work, allowing for flexibility and collaboration and ultimately, requiring less space.”
“Servicenow will have a hybrid workplace policy with employees having the option to work remotely or in the office.”
Many argue this transition will be even more complex as companies’ (and even individual teams’) action plans will be less uniform:
“We won’t prescribe from a company level. Based on the type of role you have, you’ll find that right balance.”
“How much an employee will be able to work remotely will be based on their job responsibilities as well as discussions with managers.”
One theme we have been consistently hearing from team leaders is that regardless of how exactly the hybrid work will be set up, there will always be team members whose expectations haven’t been perfectly met.
The software company Twilio and other employers even anticipate that the new era of work could lead to shuffling between teams, with staffers gravitating to bosses who embrace their preferred styles of working.
Empathy, feeling of connection and trust in teams has never been more important. In the upcoming updates, we’ll be sharing best practices and practical ideas to help your team navigate the forthcoming changes in how we shift from remote to hybrid work.
The Remote vs. Hybrid Paradox
Most employees would prefer to stay remote on a long-term basis. People have become accustomed to this working environment and don’t want to abandon it for a long commute and time in a cubicle. When it comes to remote vs. hybrid, employees clearly want to remain remote. However, there are other things to consider.
Remote work has several challenges that are difficult to work past. Many individuals who work remotely at all times are lonelier than those who spend part of their time at the office. It can breed a sense of isolation that isn’t present in a traditional workplace. Unless care is taken, remote work can be challenging when it comes to the human need to be social.
In addition, many employees find that their work-life balance suffers with fully remote work. Being at home and working can lead to employees working past quitting time, checking emails off the clock, and more. When work and regular life have no real separation, it can cause issues with those who want to keep up to date constantly.
A large number of employees struggle with remote vs. hybrid work since they want in-person interaction with team members. However, the idea of returning to work on a full-time basis is also not what is desired. The cycle repeats itself and can be a struggle for many working remotely.
This is known as the hybrid work paradox. Individuals want to enjoy the flexibility associated with remote working, but they want the ease and inspiration of in-person work. The problem is finding a solution to those two. Full remote and entirely in-office won’t work to meet these needs. However, hybrid work just might.
Questions to Ask Your Team to Decide if Hybrid or Remote Work Is Best
When it comes to choosing between remote vs. hybrid work, there are questions that you should ask your employees. These inquiries can give you insight into what will make your team members happy. It can also give employees a lot to think about in terms of which arrangement meets their needs.
A good first question is “What do you enjoy about working at home?” followed by “What do you miss about being in the office?” This will let you know what challenges and benefits your team members see when they consider both of these options.
There are numerous other questions to ask. For instance, “Do you feel more or less productive working from home?” You might want to ask questions like “Do you ever feel isolated or siloed?” and “Has your collaboration with your team increased or decreased?” This gives additional insight into the pros and cons.
Another question to ask of great importance is, “If given the opportunity, would you want to work from home permanently?” You can easily find out if most people are happy and content working from home or have some concerns about it being permanent.
Think of the questions that are specific to your team to decide on remote vs. hybrid. Remember that feedback from your employees is essential. The last thing you want to do is make a decision that leaves the team unhappy and feeling as if they have no control over their future.
Hybrid Work Requires Synchronous Communication
If you choose to go with hybrid work, one thing to know is that synchronous communication is essential. Before going into that, you need to be sure you understand the difference between asynchronous communication and synchronous communication.
The main difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication is that the former is scheduled and in real-time. It can take place in person, through the phone, over a messaging platform, or as a video conference. Asynchronous communication is not scheduled and occurs whenever someone wants to speak with someone.
With hybrid work, you want to be sure people are collaborating and communicating in real time. It staves off feelings of isolation and ensures things get done. Having everyone on a similar schedule, whether in-office or at home, is something that should be implemented for the best results. If communication is in place, other things will be easier to work out.
Reach out to us at email@example.com or visit our experience finder if you would like to learn more.