How not to think about hybrid work?

How not to think about hybrid work, what to do to prepare for it and what can you gain from it? Look at hybrid work differently.

In the article:

  1. How not to think about hybrid work?
  2. Different schedules of hybrid work
  3. What are the benefits of the hybrid model?
  4. What are the challenges of hybrid work?
  5. How to prepare for the introduction of hybrid work?

How not to think about hybrid work?

It’s 2022 and I don’t need to explain to you anymore that hybrid work is a mix of desktop and remote work. What, on the other hand, falls out of explanation is that well-organized hybrid work doesn’t end with indicating who and when has to work from the office or home. The hybrid model is a new, more flexible approach to not just getting work done. It’s a big change in the way a company manages its resources, a huge communication challenge and a time for important business decisions.

It’s possible to introduce hybrid work sloppily just because everyone else is doing it, and then be surprised that it doesn’t bring the benefits that everyone talk about. Or you can think of it as a tool that will bring real benefits to the company, as long as you use it creatively.

Different schedules of hybrid work

When thinking about a hybrid work schedule, often only one type is considered. Most often it falls on the 2/3 or 3/2 model, that is, x days in the office for y remote days per week. In reality, the hybrid model is a broad term, containing dozens of different strategies and their modifications. It would be difficult to list them all, so we only mention three examples of model schedules below.

“Office first” model

The hybrid “office-first” (eng. office-first) model requires employees to come to the office for most of the month, while allowing them to work remotely for only a few days.

Semi-remote model

With this hybrid work model, some people work primarily from the office, while others work completely remotely. The division is usually made by roles in the team, so for example: developers and the accounting department work fully remotely, while the sales department stays in the office and meets with clients.

Flexible hybrid model

SAP approached the implementation of the hybrid work model a bit more holistically. The company first conducted a survey among employees, which showed, among other things, that 80% of employees want to work hybrid. Based on this, SAP created a new concept called “Pledge to Flex,” or flexible hybrid work model.

If you want to read more about the different hybrid work systems and their examples, take a look at our article where we discuss the topic in more details.

In the hot desking system, employees share desks with each other

Some benefits of hybrid work

Hybrid work will stay with us for a long time, so take advantage of what it has to offer. Keep in mind that none of the benefits mentioned will appear on their own as soon as you introduce the hybrid model. They are the result of changes and decisions that enable you to start working hybrid.

Boosted productivity

Studies show that the highest productivity is achieved by those who work in a hybrid model. While being in the office enhances creativity, working from home allows greater focus. It’s worth noting, however, that employees won’t show more creativity if they don’t have the time or space to exchange ideas with co-workers. On the other hand, concentration while working remotely may not be possible if living conditions do not allow for adequate work space.

Savings

Savings during hybrid work occur mainly in the areas of:

  • rental of office space
  • operation of office equipment
  • energy consumption 

When some employees perform their duties remotely, an office allows you to hire more people without having to expand. And if the company does not plan to make more hires, it is worthwhile to use an office utilization analysis, see what percentage of the office space is really used and consider moving to a smaller and less expensive office.

Employees save their time and money on commuting to the workplace. In some large cities, people spend up to even three hours a day getting to work. A visit to the office also means spending money on food and, in some cases, parking.

Greater flexibility

Combining remote and onsite work allows employees to better organize their time. On some days, a visit to the office conveniently combines with activities outside of work. On others, it is more convenient to work remotely.

Moreover, preparing for the hybrid model supports efficient work from different locations. Whether it’s a visit to another office or working while on a business trip, a hybrid-prepared employee is equipped to perform duties under a variety of circumstances.

New talents and employee comfort

The hybrid model – like the remote work model – allows you to hire professionals from all over the world without any obstacles. Let’s not kid ourselves, hybrid work has rapidly transformed from a benefit to a requirement for many employees. If you can’t provide well-organized hybrid work, you could lose a lot of valuable talents. Working fully remotely makes employees relationships weaken, and the hybrid model eliminates this factor.

If you want to read more about the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid work, take a look at our article where we cover the topic in more details.

What are the challenges of hybrid work?

Introducing a hybrid model brings organizational and administrative challenges. Here are some aspects to consider before deciding on a hybrid model.

Communication before introducing hybrid work

An extremely important, yet often overlooked, issue is to properly communicate to employees the very idea of introducing hybrid work and how it will be implemented. It is worth sending information to employees about why the work model is changing, when the changes will occur, what will change in the way they work, what they should expect and how they should prepare for the new work model.

Communication during hybrid work

Adequate communication during hybrid work is essential. The challenge is even greater because remote and stationary employees must be communicated. Therefore, organizing the right communication channels is the first issue to consider.

In addition, you may want to consider real-time virtual co-working spaces, which can become a bridge between remote and onsite workers. 

With the right tools, you will join the forces of remote and stationary employees

Proper tools

I mentioned tools to facilitate communication. However, the hybrid model does not end there. Employees should be equipped with programs that allow them to effectively switch between remote and desktop work. This way they will be able to seamlessly continue the work started the previous day.

We are talking about solutions that function in the cloud. These tools allow access to files from different devices and offer real-time saving of changes. With the cloud, employees can easily get to the files they used from a computer in the office on their work equipment at home.

Useful tools will vary depending on the type of company and the industry in which it operates. That’s why we mention the employee survey in the section on hybrid work preparation. It’s worth asking what employees need. They know it best.

Office organization

The office itself also needs to be ready for the combined forces of onsite and remote workers. That’s why it’s worth thinking about conference rooms where everyone can work on joint projects. And if the rooms are to be available to every employee then a proper room reservation system will be essential. No, an office manager who has to make reservations for employees is not a good idea. Such a person has a lot of responsibilities of his own, and dealing with reservations, extending them, entering cancellations, reporting availability and reporting no-shows is tedious and annoying work.

If you’re deciding to put the decision to visit your office in the hands of your employees, you’re probably thinking about implementing desk reservations. It’s worth considering a comprehensive desk reservation system. Check whether such a system is needed at all and think about what needs it should cover. It shouldn’t come to a situation where office conditions force employees to work remotely.

Employee integration

When introducing hybrid work, pay attention to a common problem of remote workers – a poor sense of belonging to the team and the company in general. Proper communication offsets this problem. However, it is a good idea to consider additional activities that integrate both types of employees.

Good balance

Remember that hybrid work draws handfuls from both work models. Therefore – if possible – we should encourage employees to use the office, so that the hybrid model does not turn into a remote one. Coming to the office may not be available to everyone, but it is worth ensuring that employees see the advantages of both workplaces.

How to prepare for the introduction of hybrid work?

1.  See how others do that

Hybrid work can be approached in many ways. The office-first or semi-remote model are just general outlines that can be modified to suit your needs. Take, for example, SAP’s proprietary “Pledge to Flex” model, or Unilever’s flexible approach.

Learn examples of different approaches to the hybrid work model in our dedicated article.

2. Conduct a survey among employees

First of all, let’s listen to our own team. Before introducing a hybrid model, we recommend organizing surveys in which employees specify their expectations from such a work model.

What to ask in the survey?

First of all, about how many days employees want to work from home and how many from the office. With this information, you will determine what group is actually interested in hybrid work, and how many are leaning toward an onsite or remote model.

The key question is what tools employees need to work effectively during hybrid work. The answers will outline the real needs of specific departments and illustrate the actual size of the investment.

It’s a good idea to ask about the most convenient place to work. You may find that some employees would be more likely to attend an office in a hybrid model if they had office space closer to their homes.

In the end, it’s worth asking for employees’ opinions on the change in the work model. Get to know their hopes and fears. This will help you understand the mood and find out what concerns to address. The hybrid model should facilitate work, not generate problems. That’s why getting to know your employees’ opinions is key.

Save time while preparing the survey by downloading the template we have prepared.

3. Prepare hybrid work policy

A hybrid work policy is a document that greatly facilitates the organization of hybrid work and is extremely important for the safety of both the employee and the employer.

Read about the hybrid work policy and download the template ready to be redesigned for your company needs.

4. Introduce proper tools to manage hybrid work

First of all, consult with your company’s IT department before implementing a hybrid work management tool. This will save a lot of understatement and later problems.

Save yourself the work and use a ready-made list of questions for IT.

Once you get the green light from IT, you can proceed with the implementation. An example of a hybrid work management tool is our Share by Parkanizer app. In addition to providing a desk and parking reservation modules, it removes the most common barriers that keep employees from coming to the office.

See how the Parkanizer tool will help you organize your hybrid work.

5. Find ways to benefit from hybrid work

Let’s put it bluntly: the introduction of hybrid work alone will not be a panacea through which the company will see benefits in days. The new work model is the foundation on which we should build new habits and test new solutions. Among other things, analyzing office usage and understanding how people use the privilege of hybrid work should help with making favorable business decisions.

See how you can benefit from a hybrid work model in our article.

6. Encourage people to visit the office

Since the pandemic forced remote work, employees’ attitudes toward office visits have changed dramatically, and it’s nothing surprising. Most companies will no longer return to the traditional pre-pandemic work model.

Employers look for all sorts of ways to attract their employees to their offices. They tempt with benefits and entertainment available on site, which most often fail. We need to realize that the problem of poor office attendance is much deeper than most employers think, and we won’t get rid of it with another pool table.

Find inspiration on how to encourage employees to return to the office in our article.

Wojciech Feliks
Wojciech Feliks
Every company has its story, and I love telling stories. Privately a big fan of horror movies, ramen, and tea. I wouldn't say no to a journey around the world.

Want to know more? Book 30-minute online demo today.

During the presentation, we will show you a whole system in action and answer all your questions. No PowerPoint presentations here 😉

Who will contact me?

Marcin, our Chief Customer Success Officer, will schedule and hold an online presentation at your convenience.

Am I committing to anything?

No. The demo is free and does not commit you to anything.

What happens after presentation?

If after the conversation you are still interested in our product, we send a dedicated offer and a list of next steps to your email address.