How to Establish a Great Hybrid Work Environment
According to recent data, over 70% of workers state that they want flexible remote work options to continue, even as pandemic-driven restrictions lessen. This has caused many employers to rethink the idea of returning their employees to the office full-time. And with the increased focus on retaining employees and attracting new talent, many employers are taking a whole new approach: switching to a hybrid system.
Hybrid systems offer a little of the best of both worlds. Employees still spend some time in the office, but they retain the flexibility to also enjoy remote work. However, to make this hybrid system work, employers need to take the time to set up the entire team for success.
If you are embarking on the journey of building a hybrid work policy, find out how you can establish a great environment that will contribute to happy, productive employees.
Informing Employees of Your Hybrid Workplace Model
As you transition to a hybrid work model, you will need to ensure that you have put together a clear, easy-to-understand hybrid work policy that you can communicate to all teams. Defining this up front and establishing what your work model looks like will help prevent confusion and guarantee that everyone is on the same page.
What model is right for your business will depend a lot on your needs and the wants of your employees.
You can use a standard hybrid model, in which some people work in the office while others continue to work remotely. You can use a blended hybrid model in which some people work remotely but are expected to come into the office on a set number of days each month. Or, in other cases, you might agree that everyone in the company works remotely on specific days and everyone works in person on the same days.
Another option is to offer a hybrid model where people can choose to work remotely as much as they desire and can return to the office based on specific tasks that need to be done.
There is no right or wrong hybrid model. The key is to outline your model clearly and inform your staff of how the hybrid system will work. Ensure that the HR team is involved in creating a companywide hybrid work policy to prevent issues of unintentional inequality.
Scheduling Office Time
With your hybrid work model in place, it will be essential to determine how office time will be scheduled.
Choose from any of the following hybrid work schedules and make sure to invest in the right technology to make it easy for teams to schedule their time in the office:
- Set in-office days: One of the easiest ways to schedule office time is to simply predetermine which days everyone will be required to be in the office. You might, for example, have everyone come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Rotating office days: If you are operating with limited office space, creating a rotating schedule in which employees sign up for in-office time can allow you to ensure everyone has access to space when they want to be in the office without wasting money on large unused office space when people are working remotely.
- Ultimate flexibility: If you plan to allow employees free reign to come into the office as little or as much as they please, make sure that you have a clear system in place for how they will schedule a desk space or plan to retain desk spaces for everyone who wishes to have the option to return to in-person work.
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Handling the Logistics
A hybrid work environment can be a highly productive method for teams to enjoy the flexibility of remote work while also reaping the benefits of shared in-person activities. But to make your new operational model work well, you’ll need to hammer out the following important logistics.
For hybrid work, meetings will often involve a blend of in-person and remote employees. It’s important to set clear expectations around how meetings are scheduled. If you plan to have meetings held in person on specific days where everyone is present, make sure you have ample meeting spaces.
If you have a blend of in-person and remote employees, consider investing in huddle spaces or small rooms where in-person employees can go to hop onto a virtual meeting.
Another important consideration with a hybrid office is where people will sit when they decide to work in person. In some cases, businesses choose to retain employees’ dedicated desks. This works well if employees spend most of their time in the office. Other companies opt for flex desks, which allow employees to simply grab whatever desk is available when they arrive. Another option is to use software to allow desks to be booked in advance.
What to Consider When Hiring Employees for Hybrid Work
If you are in the process of recruiting new hires and you plan to use a hybrid work environment, make sure that you communicate this clearly during the screening process. First, be sure to highlight your hybrid work model in your job ad. This will help potential hires determine whether or not your style of hybrid work is a good fit for their needs.
Next, make sure to bring it up during the interview process. If you will be requiring in-person attendance on specific days or for a specific number of days each month, communicate this clearly to prevent any misunderstandings.
Finally, always check in with your employees to make sure the new system is working. Look for areas where you could improve upon your hybrid work policy and adapt accordingly.
Take it to the Next Level
If you are interested in building a hybrid workplace, make sure you are ready to recruit the right employees for your new style of work. Check out our Recruiting for Your Hybrid Office (Are You Ready?) webinar to learn more.