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What are the Challenges and Tradeoffs of Hybrid Work?

Tuesday March 30, 2021

Challenges Hybrid Work

Hybrid work is becoming increasingly common today. It may be something you’re considering for your own company. Before you make a decision one way or another, it’s important to consider what benefits and challenges come with a hybrid team. 


A hybrid team works more flexibly than a traditional one. The team might include remote workers, in-office workers, and on-the-go workers. People on these teams have the freedom to choose where to work to be the most productive.


A hybrid team is different from a remote team. In both situations, employees can choose to work from home. However, remote teams only work remotely while a hybrid team has some people working on-site and some who are off-site.

We’ve talked about companies leading the trend in hybrid work in The Move from Remote Work to Hybrid. As you transition to a hybrid workplace, you should be aware of what challenges could be on the horizon.


We’ve composed a list of questions leaders should ask to address the challenges and tradeoffs of hybrid work.


How to think about “work in the hybrid office”?

The Harvard Business Review notes that it’s essential to avoid conflating face time and output when looking at worker performance. If people are coming into the office for individual work and meetings focused on tasks, all the things we learned during the pandemic are being discarded. 


A hybrid schedule needs to include in-person time for each time. This ensures the best balance can be created between in-person and remote work and other activities.


How to Organize Hybrid Schedules

There are multiple ways to organize schedules for a hybrid team. For instance, the insurer Prudential Financial has about 42,000 staffers. One of the most important things for them is that not all of those individuals choose to stay home on Monday and Friday while working in the office for the rest of the week. 


  • Hybrid At-Will – Many employers choose an at-will hybrid schedule where employees choose when to come in and when to stay home. No specific schedule is in place. This is a common choice due to its simplicity but it also can be challenging since there’s no way to know who is coming on any specific day.


  • Hybrid Manager-Scheduling – This is a less common method where managers choose when the hybrid team comes in and when they stay home. However, it can create better levels of collaboration and productivity. The manager is in charge of the schedule rather than leaving it in the hands of the employee.


  • Hybrid Split-Week – With this method, the company decides what days a team comes in. Some teams might come in on Tuesday to work together while others come in on Thursdays. This offers extra planning and knowledge of who will be in the office at any one time. 


  • Hybrid Mixed – Some choose a mix of the other methods. A group might be scheduled by a manager, while others come on specific days, and some choose when to visit the office. It offers a mix of planning, choice, and flexibility but may be challenging to put in place.


How to Make the Hybrid Workplace Fair

According to HBR, managers will have to actively manage differences in power driven by “Hybridity Positioning” and “Hybridity Competence”. First, due to where they’re positioned, employees have different access to resources and different levels of visibility. Second, not all individuals are equally skilled at operating within a hybrid environment.


How to be Sensitive to Employees’ Individual Circumstances

Based on information from the Wall Street Journal, the best way to have a successful hybrid team is by understanding how each employee benefits from this kind of workplace. However, it’s also essential to be on the lookout for the struggles hybrid work can create for each person. 


When you take the time to notice both of these things, building a hybrid plan is easier. You can ensure that it works for both the employee as a single person as well as the team as a whole. 


How to Integrate New Hires

Over the last few years, employers have become more open to hiring employees who wish to work on a remote basis. However, it’s important to consider how to put these employees on the same footing as those who might onboard in a physical office. 


Overcoming this challenge with a hybrid team can take a little work. Make sure all employees are online quickly with access to the digital workspace and needed apps and tools. Without this, employees might feel cut off from the rest of the workplace. While you’re at it, be sure these workers have access to information about the company as well as an employee handbook.


It can be also useful to ensure a hybrid team has a sense of belonging from the beginning. Creating a channel or board where all the new hire information is provided can help. This encourages the completion of tasks and can give workers a place to find feedback. Assigning a peer or mentor to answer questions and chat with can also be useful.

As teams shift from remote to hybrid work, it will be key for leaders to address the challenges of hybrid work and realize the exciting tradeoffs for their team!


Overcoming Hybrid Challenges

Understanding how to integrate new hires on a hybrid team, being sensitive to employees’ situations, organizing hybrid schedules, and thinking about hybrid work in the right way will help you beat many challenges when moving to this form of work. Use the tips above to make sure you’re ready for these things before they happen.


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