Implementation requires a new workplace culture
- Hybrid workplaces are more than a combination of remote and onsite
- Home offices should be equipped with IT and cybersecurity tools
- Team building is more challenging in hybrid workplaces
- Emphasize employee experience with good communication and support
One of the great work debates of 2022 was the question of remote, hybrid, or office. The dust has not yet settled from the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have yet to see how the flexible workplace will shake out in 2023.
As restrictions are lifted, some organizations have been easing employees back into the office. Others like Apple and Tesla have ordered employees back to the office in high-profile gestures.
Meanwhile, some employees who adapted to working from home are resisting going back to the office full-time. Contractors also like to work remotely for fractional, interim and project roles.
Hybrid – the combination of remote and office – is emerging as the middle ground in the flexible workforce.
Hybrid is the third way
The hybrid model represents the best of both worlds. Employees enjoy working from home but they also get in-person contact with teams and managers at the office. This optimizes opportunities for collaboration and innovation.
In a tight labour market, employers use hybrid working as a recruitment incentive to attract the people they need.
Organizations that pursue a permanent hybrid workplace model have to develop a hybrid work culture and effective communication and management to keep everyone focused on the same outcomes.
Here are 4 considerations for adopting a permanent hybrid model:
1. Define expectations – Employees and contractors should understand what a hybrid workplace means for them. This includes:
- Which days are designated office and which days are home
- How many hours are expected each week
- Making sure teams are onsite at the same time
- Defining availability for remote meetings
- Clearly articulating company goals, values and expected outcomes
- Logging records of meetings, tasks completed and goals achieved in project management tools
3. Company culture and values – There is no replacement for team-building and camaraderie among colleagues. The hybrid workplace has to place employee needs at the centre of workplace culture. Because over-the-water-cooler and lunchroom chats occur less often in a hybrid workplace, organizations should hold regular in-person meetings and off-site events to allow teams to build rapport. When they are solving problems together, they will have greater success.
4. Support and conflict resolution – Mentorship is an important tool to support employees and contractors in a hybrid workplace. This starts with onboarding and should continue with formalized updates and check-ins. Conflict resolution mechanisms should be clearly defined, communicated to employees and executed when a problem occurs.
It is safe to say that the hybrid flexible workplace is here to stay. The model will evolve as leaders and talent adapt and adjust to new ways of working. The best hybrid models are more than just a combination of onsite and remote. Hybrid requires an enterprise-wide culture model with policies and processes designed to support the workforce.
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