By now, we’re all fairly familiar with the hybrid workforce model. But the topic of hybrid working is also surrounded by a lot of myths and misconceptions. We want to set the record straight and talk about the rise of what might be the best working arrangement for the modern workforce.
In this blog, we’ll explore the hybrid workforce model, its key elements, the most common hybrid work models, and the benefits it brings to both companies and employees. Let’s start with the basics.
What is the Hybrid Workforce Model?
The hybrid workforce model is a work arrangement where employees spend a portion of their work week in an office environment and the other part of the week working remotely.
This model recognizes that not all tasks require physical presence in the office and offers employees the freedom to choose where and when they work. It also taps into the best benefits of both in-person and remote work, giving employees better flexibility without sacrificing collaboration.
Perhaps, that’s why 63% of high-growth companies use a hybrid workforce model.
With the hybrid workforce model, companies can tap into a larger talent pool, retain top talent, and provide employees with a better work-life balance.
The Key Elements of a Hybrid Workforce Model
So, what makes up the hybrid workforce model? To successfully implement a hybrid workforce model, businesses need to establish certain key elements.
- Clear guidelines and policies. Your employees need a clear roadmap for when and where they’re supposed to work, in addition to what their roles entail. If you expect employees to be in the office at least two days a week, or on specific days, you have to tell them. Or if you expect employees to manage themselves and independently decide when in-office visits are warranted, you have to explain that as well.
- A physical workplace. Naturally, for hybrid work models to work, you need an office location where employees can gather in person.
- A digital workplace. Companies need to invest in technology that enables the workplace to extend into a virtual space. Employees need to be able to pick up their work from home, the corporate office, or a coffee shop and not miss a beat. And this tech stack has to also make sense for employees while they’re in the physical office.
- Trust. There’s a lot of debate over how to manage employees when you can’t watch them. We think the bigger question is: why are you watching them so closely? Remote work can exacerbate micro-management. But trust is key to improving hybrid employee engagement. And it begs the question why you would hire employees you don’t trust to work independently. This is precisely why you set clear expectations and equip managers to lead teams in a distributed work environment.
The Three Most Common Hybrid Work Models
Hybrid working can take a variety of forms, offering your business flexibility when adopting this type of work arrangement. The three most common hybrid work models are:
- Flexibility-based model. This model allows employees to choose when and where they work based on their individual needs and preferences. It offers maximum flexibility, allowing employees to adapt their work arrangements to fit personal and professional obligations. But be prepared that some employees might opt to work remotely almost all the time, coming in only for occasional meetings or events.
- Scheduled hybrid model. In this model, employees have a predefined schedule where they split their time between remote work and in-office work. This can either be the business dictating specific days that they come in or mandating a certain number of days to be fulfilled at the employee’s discretion. It provides a structured routine and ensures collaboration opportunities while still offering some degree of flexibility.
- Departmental or role-based model. This model varies the hybrid work arrangement based on the nature of the work or the department’s requirements. Certain roles may require more in-office presence, while others can be performed remotely. It allows businesses to tailor the hybrid work approach to suit specific job functions. And by explaining why certain roles are in-office more often, tying it back to a business case, helps employees accept their working arrangements.
Debunking Hybrid Work Myths
Because hybrid work models are still relatively new at a large scale, there are a lot of myths surrounding the topic. Let’s talk about the facts:
Myth: Workers aren’t as productive at home than they are in the office.
The truth is, while some individuals might feel that being in an office makes them most productive, studies are showing that’s not necessarily the norm.
An Economist survey found that face-to-face interruptions from colleagues was the biggest distraction at work according to 34% of respondents.
The same survey found that 36% feel more focused at home.
Myth: Remote workers won’t accept a shift to hybrid.
Many employees who have gotten a taste for remote work, want to remain working remotely full-time. But actually, 68% of American workers say hybrid is their preferred work model.
Stanford researchers found something similar. Their research found that 55% of workers want hybrid, 25% want to be fully remote, and 20% want to work only in the office.
If you want to transition from remote work to hybrid, you’ll likely be more successful than you think. But forcing a return to office might still be a bad idea because remote work offers more equity to your diverse workforce.
Myth: Culture and engagement will suffer if employees aren’t in the office full-time.
This is only true if you completely ignore and disregard employees who are remote. But if you make an effort to communicate with hybrid employees and offer them the support they need, your culture can actually thrive.
Gallup research has found that engagement levels are actually highest among hybrid and remote employees compared to their in-office counterparts.
Why Hybrid Work Models Are the Best Working Arrangements
The numbers don’t lie. The hybrid workforce model, in any form, will help your employees feel more engaged and productive at work. And that pays off in a major way for your bottom line.
It can lead to less burnout and more innovation.
Better flexibility means less stress, which means fewer sick days.
You also make your company stand out from competitors who might be stuck on a return to office agenda.
Selecting the Right Tools for Hybrid Work
But remember, effective implementation of a hybrid workforce model relies on utilizing the right tools to enable seamless communication, collaboration, and productivity both in and away from the office.
Start investing in robust project management platforms, video conferencing software, and mobile-friendly internal communications solutions (like theEMPLOYEEapp).
By leveraging the right tools, you’ll bridge the physical and virtual divide, ensuring that remote and in-office employees feel connected, aligned, and supported in their work.
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