The blend of in-office and remote working came to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative hasn’t slowed down. In fact, it has become even more prolific.
The flexible hybrid model of working is attractive to both sides of the coin, the organization, and its employees. Companies will save large sums of money on overhead costs while workers have more control and flexibility with their lives.
However, without proper planning and consideration, you may find your organization heading straight towards pitfalls and unnecessary complications. In this blog, we’ll explore how to create a hybrid remote work model that works for you and your employees.
Prepare in Advance
Like everything, preparation is important. Management needs to create policies and procedures that benefit and work for both in-house and external members of the workforce. These can be slightly different. A good bit of advice when planning in advance is to consider putting yourself in the role and minds of your employees both as an in-office worker and if you were working from home. This will help you shape what could work very well and not so well. Why not even ask employees directly too.
Give Employees a Choice
Most employees prefer to work from home mostly, but not all of the time. On average, workers want to spend two days a week at the office and the rest from home. It’s the flexibility that employees most appreciate. One survey found that 42 percent of working adults are willing to give up a percentage of their earnings for more work flexibility.
Some employees may find certain tasks easier in the office as opposed to at home and vice versa. By empowering your employees to decide when they go in or work from home as well as being happy they will also be more productive. Additionally, with a hybrid working from home model, you run the risk of remote employees feeling isolated and disconnected from those in the work premises.
According to a recent survey, 52 percent of remote workers want to return to the office, the reason being socializing with coworkers. By being at home they don’t have the chance to stop by a coworker's desk or join in on any group banter. As well as that they may miss out on any in-person perks like pizza Fridays or birthday celebrations. Employees want to be seen as equals so do not alienate one particular side of the hybrid work model.
Find Out What Works and What Doesn’t. Adjust Accordingly.
Be aware! Look at what is working and what you can do differently to make your hybrid model more effective. Employees will work to their strengths and you’ll be able to identify those who work best at home and those who thrive in an office setting.
On top of using your own set of eyes, get employee feedback. Employees know what is best for them. And even they may be surprised by what they find. Some who were sure that working remotely was the way forward may find themselves longing for small talk around the coffee machine. And the same works in reverse. Adapt and adjust your policies and procedures to accommodate this feedback.
When you have employees in both remote and in-person settings, sometimes tasks and messaging clarity can be messed up. The creation of a virtual community can help bridge this gap tremendously. On-site workers will be kept in the loop the same as the remote workers and vice versa.
As discussed above, feelings of isolation will be diminished when the whole workforce communicates via an internal messaging platform. There are plenty of different examples you can use like Slack, Office Chat, Whatsapp, and even video conferencing where necessary for that visual element. Creating both work and non-related work group chats (to discuss favourite TV shows) will lead to happier, more engaged, and more productive workers which creates a win/win situation for all stakeholders.
Making a hybrid work from home model work requires the right planning, implementation, and management. The suggestions outlined above will help your group of employees stay motivated, feel connected, and be happy whilst working in both different environments while maintaining their productivity at work.
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