Gone are the days of assuming your company can’t operate in a remote capacity. Due to an ongoing pandemic, the workforce has been given a taste of what it’s like to work remotely. And, not everyone is leaping at the chance to work in an office full-time. The solution? Adapt to a hybrid work model that will serve your business interests while continuing to make your employees happy.
Barry Graff, Recruiting Director, Supply Chain and Information Technology at The Connors Group explains why achieving a mixture of onsite and remote work doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. He explains, “You can begin by redefining a small subset of your team’s job responsibilities to allow for a structured but flexible hybrid work model.” Here are a few primary factors to consider when making the transition from onsite to hybrid – at every level of your organization:
Share responsibilities between team members
If certain tasks must be completed onsite, be mindful of how you are assigning those responsibilities. It isn’t going to bode well if certain team members are required to visit the office while others aren’t. Instead, consider sharing the responsibilities between multiple team members to allow each position some level of remote freedom. This will establish trust and encourage a team effort.
Managers must adjust how they manage
In a remote setting, there is no need for managers to solely evaluate hours worked. Instead, a hybrid model allows managers to shift their focus to an employee’s productivity by evaluating deliverables and metrics. Having the ability to work remotely empowers the employee to focus on achieving goals when they are most productive. And, establishing a combination of onsite and remote activities will still ensure a collaborative work environment that results in a positive outcome for everyone.
Establish a centralized communication system
A hybrid work model cannot succeed without a centralized communication system. All employees should be given access to the technology, tools, and resources they need to effectively perform their remote job functions. Communication and collaboration are especially key in a hybrid environment. Onsite employees need to have a reliable means of instantaneous communication with remote workers. You don’t have to invest large sums of time and money in an enterprise unified communications platform. There are free messaging solutions like Slack, MS Teams, and Google Chat that are easy to roll out. And, pairing a messaging platform with a cloud-based system for file sharing and task management is often sufficient.
Ask yourself the necessary questions
As the world is slowly coming back together and in-person meet-ups are becoming more frequent, it’s essential to take a second to reflect on how the past couple of years have affected your business and team. If you feel that a hybrid work model is in your future, ask yourself the following questions to gauge how it could seamlessly fit into your operation:
- What are the company benefits to having remote workers? This article states that employers officially taking on the hybrid model are Microsoft, Ford Motor, Google, and others. There is something to be said about putting your employees’ needs first.
- What are the employee benefits of being able to work remotely? Aside from the apparent freedom and flexibility, ask your employees what it is about their at-home environment that inspires them to work hard. There’s a chance some employees will prefer to still come into the office, which is why giving them the choice is the most powerful part.
- Will staff be willing to accept lower salaries to work remotely? On the contrary, are there any costs you’ll be cutting by not having employees in the office? While the option to work remotely is a privilege, there are benefits on both sides that could take your business to the next level.
- Will companies be willing to pay higher salaries or subsidize costs to onsite workers? If a job is required to be onsite, additional compensation should be considered. Is there anything else you can offer these employees to empower them to enjoy the job’s freedom and flexibility? Perhaps additional vacation days or PTO.
- What are the non-obvious costs and savings of remote staff? Take some time to sort through the costs you acquire every month. Pull numbers from pre-pandemic and present-day to determine the savings of having a remote or hybrid staff.
Reconsider workplace design
If only half of the desks in the office are being used and the lunchroom is collecting dust, consider redesigning the workplace to better suit your employee’s current needs. Graff also recommends considering an option called “workstation hoteling”. He explains “this model still makes use of workstations; however, they are not dedicated to any specific employees. When an employee is in the office, they use the workstations that are available. Workstations could also be shared between two or more employees if schedules are coordinated accordingly.”
Other ideas include the addition of collaboration spaces or an area dedicated to children or pets. Of course, there are major financial benefits to downgrading or moving into a smaller office space, such as having additional funds to invest in your business and its employees.
Each company operates differently, and what is best for one company, does not necessarily work for another. Graff points out, “You will ultimately need to determine the best way to implement a hybrid work model for your company. Develop a cross-functional team from multiple areas and levels within your company, and collaboratively design a solution that is suitable for your workforce. Keep in mind, as with any change in process, you will likely need to adapt as you discover what works, and what does not. Evaluate periodically and make changes as necessary.”
Interested in learning more about how workplace design is evolving? This article outlines how collaborative meeting spaces have shifted to become more comfort-focused and technologically savvy to facilitate remote collaboration. The future is hybrid and you can adapt in a way that will benefit you, your business, and your employees!