While remote work is an expectation for today’s workers, companies and employees, alike are looking for the best way to work, moving forward in the future of work. And, not everyone wants to continue with a 100% remote schedule. That’s why many organizations are opting for a middle-of-the-road approach with a hybrid workforce.
Hybrid work gives both managers and their employees greater flexibility and balance in their work. With hybrid arrangements, employees can work remotely for a few days a week and then work in-person at the office on a predetermined schedule. In other hybrid work arrangements, some employees work remotely some or all of the time, while others work in the office full-time.
While every organization is different, many employers are switching to a hybrid model because:
- Employees want hybrid arrangements: Most employees don’t want full-time, remote work. In fact, 51% of workers say they want a flexible hybrid schedule.
- It boosts productivity: 58% of executives found that a hybrid model increased employee productivity.
- It increases profits: Thanks to improved productivity, it’s natural that hybrid workforces are also more profitable. It’s no wonder that 63% of high-growth companies use a hybrid model.
As beneficial as hybrid work is, it can be difficult for organizations to design an efficient and productive hybrid work model. Follow these 6 best practices to smoothly transition your team to hybrid work.
Set Expectations for Meetings
How will your team collaborate? Set expectations for which meetings should be remote and which should happen in person. For example, this might mean all client meetings are in-person while all internal meetings are remote.
To clarify this for your team, ensure every meeting invitation specifies the location. Be sure your team attaches video conferencing information if they’re hosting a remote meeting. Additionally, make plans to ensure that people who are in the office attend meetings in the physical location when in-person meetings take place.
Adopt the Right Technologies
While most companies have moved business-critical applications to the cloud, enabling the workforce to work from anywhere with an internet connection, that doesn’t mean those applications are best-suited for your company’s needs in the era of remote and hybrid work. One way to determine if your applications are meeting employees’ needs and supporting effective collaboration is by measuring the effectiveness of your tools and collaboration with workforce analytics and application performance monitoring solutions.
Application performance monitoring, or APM, provides insights into why applications are slow or stalling and diagnose performance issues that are impacting your business. These tools are crucial for ensuring a positive digital employee experience.
Workforce analytics solutions can take the guesswork out of workplace decisions by uncovering the collaboration styles and workplace needs of locations, departments, and teams. This data enables business leaders to implement strategies that support the needs of not only employees but also the enterprise. Business leaders can make data-driven decisions such as coordinating schedules based on collaboration needs. For example, when you know that certain teams collaborate best when in the office together, you can schedule them for on-premises work at the same time.
Allow for Flexibility
Some hybrid workplaces allow employees to choose between remote and hybrid work. Business leaders can set the tone for different groups based on their work habits. Understanding how your organization collaborates, whether in-person or remotely, can help you form a flexible work schedule based on data. This enables you to maintain some structure, but at the same time, it contributes to employee happiness by giving them some flexibility on where and how they work.
Setting guidelines based on your data and giving options within those parameters ensures that you can develop a solution that works best for both your employees and your company. An automotive manufacturer took this approach when it transitioned to hybrid work. The company leveraged the Humanyze Platform to measure work-life balance, efficiency, team collaboration, and adaptability. Establishing parameters based on these analyses enabled the company to redesign the physical office space and allowed employees to choose the environment that worked best for them while also meeting the organization’s needs. The result was higher morale and employee retention.
Socialization in the workplace isn’t a productivity-killer. Actually, social employees tend to perform better. A bank call center realized that reps who socialized during breaks were more productive. When the company created new overlapping break schedules, it decreased stress and increased employee retention by 28%.
Managers are responsible for giving both remote and in-office employees more opportunities to socialize. You may need to schedule a blend of remote and in-person events to connect your team.
In-person social events are a great way to preserve your company culture. It’s difficult to replicate the goodwill created by in-person meetups, so try to bring remote employees and in-office workers physically together when possible.
Monitor KPIs, Not Hours
Hybrid managers simply can’t afford to micromanage employees 24/7. Solutions like remote tracking software will only hurt employee trust and decrease productivity.
The best way managers can ensure hybrid work productivity is with a KPI-based success system. With this approach, you track employees’ meaningful contributions to the bottom line, not how much time they spend online.
As a manager, you can be there to support employees and hold them accountable for their KPIs. This approach gives employees more agency and makes it easier for managers to pursue excellence instead of micromanaging.
Hybrid work is a great way to balance the convenience of remote work with the culture-building of in-person connections. Hybrid work is the future, but your organization needs to prepare for it. Create a plan and iterate with your team over time. Focus on metrics and collect feedback and measure results based on your own data to find the hybrid work arrangements that make the most sense for your organization.