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How to Effect a Hybrid Working Model

Production line workers collecting freshly baked biscuits from conveyor belt [File]

Let’s be honest. The pandemic has changed the way we do business. Even as some businesses return their employees to work from the office, in some industries, working from home is here to stay.

By combining the benefits of remote working with the traditional office life, you can maximise the productivity of your team and your revenue generation. Incorporating remote with office working is known as a hybrid working model. Hybrid work can benefit both employers and their staff – employers can shrink their office space while increasing their workforce. Employees can have more control over their schedules thus improving their work-life balance.

Depending on your industry, you can select between three hybrid working models.

  • The remote-first model: This model puts precedence for team members to work from home.
  • The office-occasional model: This model might require employees to come into the office for a certain number of days or hours.
  • The office-first model: This model requires employees to work from the office, with a small percentage of the workforce working remotely and others allowed to work remotely when required

If you’re considering exploring hybrid work, choose a model that works for you. If you’re unsure, you can start by testing the office-first model for a while. Here are some tips to help you implement a hybrid working model.

Establish a centralised, cloud-based system

One of the most crucial components of implementing a hybrid workplace model is ensuring that all employees, regardless of their location, have easy and equal access to the tools they need to communicate, collaborate, and complete work successfully. To do so, you have to invest in a centralized cloud-based project management system.

A good cloud-based project management system will enable your team to collaborate on tasks seamlessly. There are plenty of these systems available online – some of which have a freemium version. Some of the best project management systems include ClickUp, Asana, Monday, and Campfire.

The transition to a single cloud-based ecosystem will take time, and there will be a period of adjustment as staff become accustomed to new tools and processes. However, this is the first, and perhaps most crucial, step in implementing a hybrid workplace model in which employees can smoothly switch between the office and remote work.

Provide technical equipment to remote workers

Many employers assume that remote workers have all the right technical equipment they need to work effectively. That may not be true. For instance, an employee might not have a good laptop to support Zoom calls or their required tasks.

Technology is the bedrock of a successful hybrid work environment. Employees must have the right hardware and software to be able to access their emails and documents from any location, as well as communicate with coworkers quickly and easily.

Ask your remote employees what they need to work more effectively from home. You can opt to buy the needed supplies or give your employees a one-time or recurring funding to set up their remote working spaces.

Schedule regular check-ins

With some of your employees working from home, there is no chance of running into co-workers at the coffee machine or chatting at their desks. Team members can easily feel isolated and lonely, which might translate into lower productivity and overall dissatisfaction with their job.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to arrange regular, quick check-ins — preferably by video. You can also organize a lunch or coffee break gathering for team members who are in the same city to socialize in a no-pressure environment.

Building and maintaining personal relationships with colleagues is critical for improving team cohesiveness. Find alternatives to e-mail, such as face-to-face video chats. Even for brief discussions, encourage your team to turn on the camera.

Recognise remote workers

One challenge with hybrid working models is that remote workers can be easily overlooked when it comes to promotions and rewards. According to a statement by Dropbox, “Hybrid approaches may also perpetuate two different employee experiences that could result in barriers to inclusion and inequities with respect to performance or career trajectory.”

According to a Gartner survey, 64 per cent of managers prefer to offer office workers a greater raise than remote workers because they believe office workers are better performers. Despite this bias, data suggests that full-time remote workers are five per cent more likely than their office-bound colleagues to be high performers.

To avoid unwittingly favouring in-office workers, you should require to have some of the managers and business leaders working remotely. In addition, train your managers to be conscious of biases against remote workers during performance evaluations. As a result, remote workers will have the opportunity to grow with the firm, leading to increased productivity and retention.

Update your policies

Create policies and procedures that make the move to hybrid working simply for your employees. This could require starting from scratch or revising an existing flexible working strategy. The goal is to make it clear to employees who is eligible for remote work, how to request hybrid work, and their roles and responsibilities in relation to the new hybrid model.

Some of your current company policies could be ineffective. Examine how hybrid working functions in light of your current corporate policies and make any necessary changes. Make sure that your hybrid working policies are clear on disciplinary actions, grievances, performance, and absenteeism.