Despite the general reluctance to allow remote work, organizations have been forced to embrace this concept in 2020. COVID-19 accelerated the transition to this not-so-new way of work, especially with organizations dealing with health threats, government regulations, and business continuity challenges.
However, with remote work finally becoming optional rather than mandatory, organizations are seriously considering a hybrid workplace.
What is the Hybrid Working Model?
In essence, hybrid work offers workers freedom related to when to work as well as where. As a result, they can fit work around their lives rather than the other way around. Employees also enjoy structure, sociability, independence, as well as flexibility – all at the same time.
The start of the pandemic fueled the popularity of a common hybrid work model. Employees would be in office on certain days to attend meetings, collaborate, or participate in orientation or team building. As for the rest of the week, they’d work remotely on individual tasks.
There are other similar models which fall under Hybrid Work.
For instance, a global SaaS product provider has employees working remotely for three weeks, and coming in to work for one week. Employees who aren’t from the city would be provided accommodation during the week they had to work in-office.
How Effective is the Hybrid Workplace?
This is probably the question asked by decision makers who are yet to transition to hybrid work models.
According to several studies and surveys, this work model is quite effective.
For instance, a survey by Boston Consulting Group shows 75% of 12,000 employees have remained as productive as they have been before the pandemic. Around 50% of those surveyed believe they were productive on collaborative tasks.
And with 55% of US workers requesting hybrid models, organizations are beginning to plan their future investments accordingly.
The PwC US Remote Work Survey revealed executives are proactively planning investments to support hybrid working, including virtual collaboration tools, hoteling applications, virtual connectivity infrastructure, and communal space in the office.
How to Ensure Productivity in a Hybrid Workplace
Despite statistics proving otherwise, productivity is still one of the biggest concerns of decision makers. After all, employees aren’t present and many work before and beyond usual office hours.
Here are some highly recommended strategies which you can start integrating in the workplace.
Embrace Gartner’s Four Cultural Behaviors
One of the effective ways recommended by Gartner is to introduce four cultural behaviors:
- Open Vulnerability – Organizations need to establish transparency and high levels of trust with their employees. That way, they can prevent them from making assumptions in a time when uncertainty and lack of information are prevalent. And, as a result, increase employee engagement and productivity.
- Impact Orientation – Organizations need to ensure their employees feel their work is contributing to their goals. This motivates employees and ensures quicker adaption to the new hybrid work environment.
- Intrinsic Rewarding – Employees need a sense of achievement, status, and affiliation more than usual during times of crisis. Especially since they meet less and work mainly remotely.
- Sense of Tribe – Humans are social animals, which is why it’s important to ensure positive interactions between team members. Be it during in-office days or remotely.
Mapping KPIs to each of these four elements will also help organizations assess their productivity levels. It’ll also ensure the workforce that they have equal opportunities for growth despite not being physically in the workplace all day, every week.
Leverage Workplace Technology Against Siloed Workforces
The hybrid office may result in your workforce dividing into a remote team and an office team. For this reason, organizations need to blur the lines between the two using technology. For instance, video calls can become the norm to ensure better collaboration and make remote employees feel at ease.
This may require training some employees to use workforce tools. However, this is essential to prevent them from falling behind or missing out on crucial discussions.
Be Ready to Support Employees’ Mental Health and Inclusion
This may be an uncomfortable aspect for many businesses, especially those in many Asian countries. However, you can’t ignore the toll of the pandemic on employees’ mental wellbeing if you wish to ensure their productivity.
Simply asking your team how they’re doing today can help managers determine team morale. As a result, they can brainstorm ways to improve it and eliminate any blockers that arise.
Another step you should consider is hosting social meetings and coffee breaks through the day. These activities should include both teams to prevent them from becoming siloed.
Be Open to Experiments and Making Necessary Adjustments
The thought of making any experiments during these tough times can be scary. However, it’s important to remember that every workplace has its own challenges. Therefore, a one sized solution won’t fit all.
Proper planning and a commitment to the new work model will help ensure a successful and productive work environment. Since this requires ample time and effort, you should be open to outsourcing this aspect to reliable consultants who can analyze what’s working for you and what can be improved.
The hybrid work model is here to stay. Possibly well beyond 2021 if some of the estimates are accurate. Therefore, it’s essential that organizations make the shift to truly succeed, ensure employee retention, and keep the workforce productive.
If you need more help in this regard, I’d love to discuss some ideas and suggestions related specifically to your organization. So, don’t be a stranger and let’s talk.