Towards the end of 2019 when remote work became one of the only ways to keep a team connected, we learned two things: Some loved it, others hated it.
But, what happens when the two worlds collide and you’re ready to put your team back together? A hybrid workforce.
To combat a fully remote team – because, let’s be honest, it’s not ideal for everyone – the hybrid work model allows you to determine who works best where, and how they can get that work done.
Still, that’s not enough to determine whether the hybrid work model is right for your team. Let’s cover the basics just in case:
What’s Hybrid Work?
Hybrid work is when your team can work from anywhere, including the office. Some team members may work from home full-time and others may work from the office. Team members can split their time in ways that work best for them.
With hybrid work, employees and team members aren’t forced to work one way. They’re able to work in a way that suits their needs, as well as build positive work habits and self-management skills.
The hybrid work model focuses on encouraging productivity rather than efficiency.
You’re trading hours for ability. Instead of emphasizing the hours worked, you’re narrowing in on what can actually be accomplished within a set timeframe. When you’re less focused on hours, you’re more likely to support employees and team members with the resources and tools needed to complete the task.
When switching to hybrid work, you’re also reducing the cost of operation. With fewer employees at the office, you’ll need less office space and fewer office supplies. Employees are also saving money (and time) by avoiding a daily commute to work – especially those who are living far from the office.
Lastly, you’re not limited to hiring locally. You can build your team utilizing the skills of those around you and those that live thousands of miles away. You’ll also have a quick onboarding process and easier integration with your current team!
When employees are out of the office, they’re out of the office.
The hybrid work environment is great for employees who are able to adapt and keep themselves accountable – on the other hand, it can be a major pitfall for employees who are not able to maintain work at home, whether because they’re unwilling or simply don’t have the skills yet.
Employees can also become isolated, and miss out on the social aspect of a traditional in-person work environment. This can lead to a lack of familiarity between employees and cause miscommunication and misunderstandings that are not always solved as simply online versus in-person.
A hybrid approach can also lead to overworked employees. When working remotely, employees may perceive they are lacking and overworked themselves to compensate. While it leads to a temporary increase in productivity, it also results in overworked and overwhelmed employees.
Tips for Managing a Hybrid Workforce
The hardest part of managing a hybrid workforce is getting started! A hybrid team works best when there are systems in place to accommodate both ends of the hybrid work spectrum! Luckily, there are tons of tools available to help out and manage individual project tasks no matter where you are – but that’s not all it task for your system to keep running smoothly:
- Provide equal benefits for all employees, regardless of where they’re working. Don’t let remote employees feel like they’re missing out on benefits because they’re not in the office.
- Encourage employees to communicate and build relationships. Host online events and meetings where it’s less about work and more about your team. If they’re local, encourage them to meet for a co-working session or a cup of coffee.
- Have a policy and stick to it. When setting up the office or allowing employees to work remotely, have policies and requirements to how they report their work and when they would like to come in the office. This will prevent team members from stepping on each other’s toes.
- Schedule regular one-on-one meetings. Ask about how hybrid work is going for them and suggest ways to improve their productivity and adapt to the new work methods.
The Final Decision: Should You Go Hybrid?
Whether you’re dealing with a remote team now or you’re trying to shift into a hybrid workforce, change takes time no matter where you start. A hybrid work model can lead to long-term benefits even if there are short-term ‘hiccups’ in the process.