A hybrid workplace model will become a norm in the future. We’ve all seen how productive people can work from home in the last two years, and that flexibility is likely to continue in some form as we emerge from the pandemic. According to a recent study, 82% of global organizations expect to allow some portion of their workforce to work remotely full-time in the future normal, with 61% planning to empower employees to choose their mix of working from home and working from the office. About a quarter of businesses intend to allow employees to work from home full-time.

A hybrid workplace entails a degree of flexibility in how, when, and where we show up for work. On the other hand, flexibility brings with it a haziness of limits and expectations. Teams are usually clear on what is and is not acceptable in their workplace culture, so they all have clear expectations of one another. However, things fall into place in a hybrid workplace. Every team must define what hybrid working means to them explicitly and purposefully.

We’ve all been under intense stress to survive and thrive during a crisis, but we must be careful not to repeat our crisis habits in our new normal. The majority of us have had back-to-back meetings five days a week, and the time we saved by not commuting has been redirected to additional meetings and emails. We are overworking ourselves and leaving no time for others’ growth, relationship development, or gaining from each other.

Remote working will degrade team performance, make our jobs less fun, and severely disadvantage newer and younger people on our teams unless we modify how we operate. Hence, we must understand how to shift to a hybrid workplace framework.

What Is A Hybrid Workplace Model?

A hybrid workplace is one where the company’s organizational structure includes both remote and onsite parts. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this. Any company interested in implementing a hybrid company structure must first examine its specific resources, needs, and existing company structure to determine how to shift and adapt its workflow and rules most successfully.

According to one survey, 97 percent of employees and entrepreneurs said they would prefer to work in a remote-only office environment than a full-time, physical office setting. Furthermore, some estimates claim that the number of remote workers has climbed by 140 percent since 2005.

Examples of a hybrid workplace model

Here are just a few examples of hybrid work models:

  • Some jobs require you to work on-site, while others require you to work remotely
  • Employees can choose to work on-site or remotely
  • Work can be done remotely or on-site at specific times
  • Extenuating conditions may necessitate the use of remote choices
  • Employees who do not work in a physical office can choose from a variety of remote choices
hybrid workplace model
Advantages Of A Hybrid Workplace Model

There are numerous advantages to having a hybrid workplace, including:

  • Improved work-life balance: Remote choices can allow people greater control over how they conduct themselves at work and at home.
  • Increased flexibility: By allowing workers to more directly regulate their schedules, increased flexibility can reduce stress and make work hours more productive.
  • Work at a home office or other remote location may remove distractions that they would otherwise have to deal with in a more traditional office setting, depending on the workspace and the individual.
  • Cost savings: Remote solutions can help you save money on a range of expenses, including those associated with maintaining an onsite workspace.
  • Reduced time spent commuting: Working from home allows employees to spend less time on the road, which can be helpful to their mental health, cost savings, productivity, and overall job satisfaction.
  • Reduced emissions and waste: Because remote work eliminates the need for travelling, it also cuts transportation-related emissions. Hybrid workplaces may also produce less waste in the form of physical goods, as the rise of remote work choices often coincides with digitization.
  • Improved inclusion and diversity: Because remote work allows people to work regardless of their location or ability, it inherently expands the pool of people who can work.
  • Customizable work environment: The ability to modify your work environment is beneficial not just to your mental health but also to your productivity.
Disadvantages Of A Hybrid Workplace Model

The following are some of the most prevalent issues that firms face when migrating to a hybrid workplace:

  • The introduction of certain elements, such as adequate computer hardware and software, is required for any move to remote work on any scale.
  • When employees work from home or in public, digital security can be more challenging to monitor.
  • Working from home can lessen distractions in some ways, but it also has the ability to add new distractions into your work life, such as noise from the rest of your house.
  • Employees may feel lonely and detached from their organization and its people when they work remotely.
  • Schedule: Due to issues such as different time zones and work hours, remote work may cause scheduling conflicts.
  • Long-distance cooperation: Employees must be able to communicate with one another reliably without interfering with their personal life.
  • Maintaining workplace culture: Hybrid work culture is inherently different from traditional work culture, and what that involves is still a point of contention as more businesses adopt this structure.
  • Getting around rules and regulations: Human resource teams must carefully analyze any laws and regulations that their company’s activities may be subject to, and identify what steps the organization must take to follow proper protocol in a remote setting.
How Can You Address Some Of The Common Challenges While Migrating To A Hybrid Workplace Model?

Companies can take the following steps to solve these typical issues:

  • Funds will be reallocated to complement the new structure
  • Introducing new cybersecurity training packages for remote workers
  • Adding additional cybersecurity protocols to the mix
  • In the interest of cybersecurity, providing appropriate resources to staff
  • Guaranteeing that software is updated on a regular basis
  • Ensuring that software is correctly integrated
  • Consider enlisting the services of a third-party to assist with cybersecurity and data management
  • Training and seminars on how to work efficiently from home are available
  • Adapting the work culture and communication standards to the new work model
  • Making sure that employees’ schedules and availability are communicated
  • Before introducing new scheduling protocols on a permanent basis, it is necessary to test them
  • Assuring that staff have access to and are utilizing the same communication software
  • Keeping current with any rules and regulations that may apply to your location or industry
  • Understanding payroll standards and obtaining the help of qualified professionals to understand the payroll systems that apply to your company are essential

Now that you have learned about the benefits and challenges of a hybrid workplace let’s see how you can make a smooth transition from a conventional model.

7 Ways To Shift From A Traditional Framework To A Hybrid Workplace Model
Communication is key

When operating in a hybrid workplace, leaders and managers must communicate with their teams much more than before. This could be inviting the entire company to a weekly online Q&A with the CEO, sending out a weekly newsletter, sharing accolades and celebrations, or simply picking up the phone more frequently to chat with each team member. The more you can communicate with each other through times of uncertainty, the stronger your connections will be, the more trust you will create, and the better your teams will feel.

Trial and error should become the norm

A hybrid workplace isn’t about imposing a single set of rules for the entire firm; instead, each team should select how they wish to collaborate in a hybrid environment. Allowing people to experiment and try out new ways of working until they find a pattern that works for them is what this entails. When new team members arrive, or a new project begins, they may need to adjust their working methods again, so keep the choices for change open.

Live interactions are critical

Make sure people prioritize their time and attention for face-to-face meetings by giving them a reason to be in the same room as each other. Don’t squander live time with a single person presenting a lengthy slide deck—that may be done online or even pre-recorded. Discussion, debate, and idea creation should focus on live time, with everyone in the room contributing to share and a reason to be there.

Downtime is necessary

A hybrid workplace only works when people trust one other, so set aside time for unstructured teambuilding to strengthen your bonds as individuals outside of work. You’ll need to make time and space for relaxation with your team—for example, take lunch together once a week (remotely or in-person) without an agenda, or share hobbies and interests once a month. This relationship building is critical when we work in different locations and online, and it should be scheduled during the day, not only after hours.

Live videos play a vital role

Make sure videos are turned on when individuals meet online, so they can genuinely connect and see each other’s faces and body language. This means putting people first, not slides—every time there’s a conversation, turn off slide share and make sure everyone is looking at each other and talking to each other, not at the slides.

Employee development and training is important

A hybrid workplace makes it more difficult for younger or new team members to learn by osmosis from the rest of the team. Make sure you plan shadowing and development time for new team members, or pair them up with pals from their management and leadership group so they can listen in on meetings and learn from more experienced people’s interactions. You can even consider holding a comprehensive onboarding training program for new entrants to understand your firm’s culture, vision, and mission.

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Promoting feedback

When we work remotely, it’s simple for misconceptions to occur. Encourage individuals to provide and get immediate feedback. Create a culture of being able to pick up the phone and clarify, positively and constructively, if someone appears offended or didn’t get what they expected from someone. Make sure teams don’t allow problems to linger or cause them to worry and that they don’t solely communicate via email. Allow your teams to check in with each other, especially if the tone appears to be off.

A Few Tips To Make The Transition To A Hybrid Workplace Model Easier For Employees

Employees typically find it difficult to adjust to an entirely new work method and atmosphere. The following actions can help businesses ease the process and support employees during the transition:

  • Providing materials for at-home work, such as office supplies
  • Assuring that the shift to a mixed work style is accompanied by greater flexibility
  • Offering workshops, training, and seminars on how to strike a healthy work-life balance while working from home
  • Changing the workplace culture to make it more accommodating to both remote and onsite personnel
  • Providing employees with options such as therapy to assist them in dealing successfully and healthily with changes and stress
  • Maintaining employee trust and confidence in payment security by ensuring that you have adequate mechanisms in place to accommodate the new work arrangement and meet payroll requirements
  • Throughout the shift, soliciting employee feedback to ensure that you are not inadvertently making employees’ jobs more onerous
  • Avoid bombarding staff with digital communications, as having to constantly field incoming information might disrupt workflow

We won’t define a hybrid workplace once and for all, and we won’t prescribe it for the entire firm in a single policy. Let’s trust people to figure out the ideal work patterns that suit them, their team members, and the type of work each team produces now that we’ve seen they can work from home. Giving teams the tools and permission to experiment with the optimal way to work, and allowing them to improve how they work together continuously, is what a hybrid workplace entails.

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