What is Hybrid Work? How Your Business Can Adopt the Hybrid Work Model

By

Alice Dodd

·

October 6, 2022

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The day of the #grind is over. 

Employees don’t want to sleep, eat, work, repeat. Instead, they want an employer that recognizes the value of different work environments

Not everyone works best from an office five days per week, and as a result of the pandemic, most employees have proved their ability to work from home. 

Enter: Hybrid working. The not-new concept of working from both home and the office. 

Here’s everything you need to know about implementing a hybrid work model in your business. 

What does Hybrid Work Mean? 

The term ‘hybrid’ refers to something being a mixture of two different elements – think hybrid cars being a cross of gas and electricity. When applied to the workplace, the ‘hybrid’ comes from employees dividing their time between the office and working remotely.

Hybrid work is not a new concept, but it continues to rise in popularity as a result of the pandemic. While working from home is no longer mandatory, many employees and businesses have since recognized the value of working from home. 

The stats now speak for themselves; almost 75% of U.S. businesses either have or plan to move to a permanent hybrid work model for their employees. Hybrid work offers flexibility, promotes employee trust, and can even enhance productivity.

What are the Benefits of Hybrid Work for Businesses?

We’ve all heard the benefits of hybrid work for employees; errands can be run, appointments can be made and the trust offered to employees in hybrid-working environments increases job satisfaction.

However, it’s not just employees who benefit from hybrid work. Every day, businesses reap the benefits of giving their employees more choices when it comes to their work environments.

No Borders on Talent

If you are open to hiring beyond your city, you have (almost literally) a whole world of talent to choose from. When you’re not limited to an office, you can find the best person for the job from a wider pool of candidates. 

As the pandemic made working from home mandatory at most companies, most employees are capable of working remotely without compromising their productivity. Hiring from further afield carries less risk of low output, and with a range of hybrid working tools now available to businesses, remote work management has never been easier. 

Saves Money on Office Costs

If you don’t need to be in the office five days a week, you have more options when it comes to renting office space. Offices are expensive to run, so if your employees aren’t going in very often you could encourage usage with a desk booking tool like Officely to gain visibility on who’s in and when. 

This will allow you to make big decisions such as office costs with more transparency on their usage.

High Employee Satisfaction Increases Productivity

The formula is simple: If employees feel trusted and empowered in the workplace, they’re more likely to enjoy work. If your employees enjoy work, they’ll care about what they do and how the business is performing.

Sure, you may want your employees to come in for meetings or for particular days of the week, but hybrid work businesses have the understanding that everyone works differently, and they want to cater to that.

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What to Consider When Moving to a Hybrid Work Model

The move to a hybrid workplace is an important one. It will impact your entire team, which is why it’s important to take the following into consideration. 

You Still Need a Work Culture 

Unless you’re going 100% remote, you will want your employees to want to come into the office. While you can enforce office working days, isn’t it always better to know that your employees look forward to coming into the office? 

For this, work culture is key. You need to provide an experience and an environment that simply doesn’t translate across a Zoom call. 

Whether it’s cookies in the office, team lunches, whiteboard brainstorms or big collaborative meetings, offer something in the office that your team can’t get from home. It will make a difference in their motivation on the days they do come in.

Home Office Equipment Matters

Not everyone can afford the equipment to make their work-from-home space an enjoyable one. Particularly if you are using a remote-first hybrid work model, there should be a consideration as to whether you need to provide a stipend for employees. 

Some may need faster wifi, others an ergonomic chair. If you require your employees to work from home, make sure they’re equipped to conduct their work in the same way they would within the office.

Establish Clear Hybrid Working Guidelines

Hybrid work usually doesn’t mean 100% flexibility. It’s up to employers to provide guidelines around working hours, available office spaces, and the expectations of the hybrid working agreement. 

Creating a policy for hybrid work removes the grey areas and gives employees clarity on what’s offered and expected.

If you’re unsure of where to start with your hybrid work policy, you can use our free hybrid work policy builder – simply input your company’s guidelines and we’ll send you a formatted document, ready to be sent out to your employees! 

The Different Types of Hybrid Work Models

A hybrid work model is how you define your business’s guidelines for hybrid working. ‘Hybrid work’ is dividing time between the office and remote work environments, while ‘model’ is how that takes shape within your organization.

Companies that have embraced hybrid work have different policies around how, when, and where that work takes place.

Here are four ways you could build your hybrid work model: 

1. Flexible Hybrid Work Model

A flexible hybrid work model suggests that employees are free to work where they like, although usually within a required time zone or location. Your employees can work from coffee shops, their homes, or the beach – the emphasis is placed on productivity rather than set workspaces. 

With minimal ways to monitor work time, flexible hybrid working is based on building trust with employees to complete tasks. It enables businesses to cast a wider net when it comes to hiring, as there are fewer geographical limitations, and it is an effective way to save money as office space is not necessary.

2. Set Hybrid Work Model

A set hybrid work model has the office/remote divide while putting a structure in place that specifies when and where employees should work.

For example, a business may adopt a hybrid working policy but ask that employees are in two days per week of their choosing. Alternatively, they may ask that employees are in on specific days. It could be the same for all team members, or it could vary between individuals. 

A set hybrid work model doesn’t emphasize either the office or remote working, instead, it’s about a balance between the two. Employees can come into the office to collaborate with teammates or attend meetings, but they can also adapt their schedule or attend appointments if necessary.

3. Office-First Hybrid Work Model

An office-first hybrid work model asks that employees are primarily in their place of work during work hours. However, it still allows for a certain amount of days at home.

How often employees are able to work from home will differ from business to business; some have a quarterly allowance, others a monthly or even weekly. However, the expectation is that the office is the primary workspace for employees.

Office-first is the easiest way to maintain community and work culture while also offering the choice to stay at home if necessary.

4. Remote-First Hybrid Work Model

The opposite of an office-first hybrid work model, employees who are remote-first primarily work from home or in a remote work environment. 

If it’s remote-first rather than remote-only, there should be an office space for employees to use, but more time is spent out of the office than in. This balances in-person collaboration and instills trust in employees, while also enabling those who want to come in to attend an office occasionally.

5 Questions to Ask Before Moving to a Hybrid Work Model

Deciding to embrace the hybrid work model is exciting, but it’s also important to ask the necessary questions before jumping in. 

There’s nothing worse than backtracking on business decisions that affect your whole team. Keep this to a minimum by asking yourself and senior leadership the following questions ahead of announcing the move. 

1. What hybrid office model works for the business and its employees?

Use the above guide to have conversations with employees and senior leadership on what type of model suits your company best.

2. What is the expectation of office attendance for employees?

As mentioned, you need a clear hybrid work policy to share when you decide to go ahead with hybrid working. This will clear up any misinformation and offer employees the chance to ask any questions.

3. What tools do we need to bring on to make collaboration and communication effective for remote and office workers?

Different teams need different tools, and so do different work environments. Maybe you need to download an extra project management tool, or maybe you need to use a tool such as Clockify to see how and when employees are working.

4. Do management styles need to adapt to allow for work-from-home employees?

Consider how and when managers will need to be in the office to conduct 1-1s. Will meetings take place in person, will they take place over video, or will it be a mixture of both? 

Making sure employees feel supported while working from home is vital to maintain satisfaction and to make your hybrid work model work. 

5. How do we ensure employees want to come into the office when it is not mandatory?

If you’re choosing a flexible or remote-first model, what are you going to put in place to make sure employees still want to come into the office? What does your office offer that they can’t get from home?

A necessary part of adopting a hybrid work model is to incentivize employees to make that commute, even on days when they don’t need to.

Try Officely Today

Transform your hybrid work environment, motivate employees and increase office attendance, all within Slack.

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How to Use Officely to Increase Office Attendance

Learn how to use the Officely features to increase attendance at your hybrid or flexible working office.

Read more

All Hybrid Work Models Need Clarity

There’s no doubt about it, hybrid work is the future – but how that looks for each company will vary. Hybrid work comes in different shapes and sizes, and you can use our guide to ensure you’ve found a model that works for you.

Remember, having clear guidelines is key. Don’t leave any room for employees to misinterpret your policies. If you’ve given your hybrid work model the time and thought it deserves, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t see an uptick in productivity and positivity within your workplace.

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How to Use Officely to Increase Office Attendance

Learn how to use the Officely features to increase attendance at your hybrid or flexible working office.

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Alice Dodd

Alice is Officely's content manager. When not spreading the word of Officely and hybrid work, you can find her feeding family, friends and strangers with her latest baking experiment.

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