What Employers Should Consider When Moving to a Hybrid Work Model
The pandemic has resulted in thousands of employees working from their kitchen tables or living rooms instead of the workplace. However, as more Americans receive a COVID-19 vaccination and organizations develop or update their return-to-work plans, some employees may still be eager to continue working remotely even if just for a few days each week.
MyHRConcierge recently contributed to an article in the Mississippi Business Journal(Link) on Remote Work. Dr. Angel Longino, a senior human resources specialist with MyHRConcierge, a human resources consulting firm, calls herself an advocate for the hybrid mix of remote and onsite work because it gives employees a choice in where they work and that helps employers maintain workers. “Some people are more efficient working remotely and according to clients there’s not a big difference.” She goes on to say, “keeping productivity up requires monitoring employees’ work and keeping employee engagement at a high level.”
Chris Cooley, MyHRConcierge co-founder, said “besides giving employees flexibility, the trend toward working remotely also allows employers to reduce their real estate footprint. Instead of having a dedicated office, employees could share the space.”
But shifting to at-home workers may mean employers have had to build new infrastructure such as providing laptops to maintain or increase productivity. “It changes the dynamics going forward,” he said.
Longino said employers can possibly use remote work to reinvent the workplace. “The formation of new modes of collaboration for production helps scale many areas of the business,” she said. “There’s a sense of elevation toward implementation of strategies while cultivating a newly configured work culture.”
Overview of Hybrid Workplaces
Work flexibility is consistently cited as a post-pandemic trend and some employers are already introducing hybrid work models in their reopening plans. In fact, a Mercer survey found that 73% of employers plan to implement a hybrid work environment. By definition, a hybrid workplace is a flexible model designed to support a distributed workforce of both on-site and remote employees.
In some form, a majority of organizations are opting for either all-remote or hybrid remote arrangements. In the following workplace models, employees are allowed to make their workday flexible outside of set days or hours:
Flex Remote Work Model
- Flex Remote means employees are on-site on set days. Flex remote is likely to be a popular model to provide employees the flexibility to be on-site some days and work the other days remotely.
Core Hours Work Model
- Core Hours means employees are available during designated times. Employers designate a block of time when employees are present, available for meetings or working at the same time. That model helps hybrid teams intentionally collaborate, which is especially helpful if employees are located in different time zones.
Custom Scheduling Work Model
- Custom Scheduling may be an option for employees who want to request a specific hybrid work schedule. To support this, employers or managers may ask employees to fill out a form with their desired work schedule and locations.
These are a few examples, but the practical application of a hybrid model may be a combination of several arrangements. Employers may also consider whether certain departments or roles need to work on-site or can be just as effective working remotely. Every organization will be different, and the working model will need to be what’s best for both employers and overall employee experience.
Considerations for Hybrid Workplaces
- Physical space
- Challenges in time zone differences
- The importance of communication
- Cybersecurity and IT challenges
- Finding ways to support workers emotionally
How to Adapt to the Hybrid Model
Most organizations have norms in place for on-site employees but can also adapt a mirroring set of standards for those working remotely. It’s important for employers to accommodate all employees, but also to create practices that continue to treat all employees fairly. To best accommodate a distributed workplace, consider the following tips:
- Formalize hybrid work processes.
- Be transparent about remote and hybrid work expectations and decisions.
- Plan meetings to be friendly to all employees.
- Ask for and listen to feedback.
Hybrid or remote policies should be included in an employee handbook.
An updated handbook is important to establish a healthy workplace and also prevent any future discrepancy or confusion, it is important to utilize your employee handbook. Many companies are adding policies that are resulting from the pandemic and situations that have evolved, including remote work policies.
Updating your employee handbook can protect your business In these ways:
- Mitigation of exposure due to employment-related lawsuits.
- Provides an easy reference guide so employees understand the benefits you provide.
- Creates a professional image to your employees that differentiate you from your competitors.
- Creates confidence within the workplace that your employees know what is expected of them.
In summary, what can we take away from a hybrid environment?
Hybrid workplaces can help maintain a great work-life balance for employees and an employee-centric work environment for employers and organizational leaders. In general, employers should prioritize employee engagement and well-being in workplace strategies and plans. Contact us today to learn more about developing and managing a hybrid workplace.
We have helped many businesses with this transition and the implementation of post-pandemic policy into their workplace properly.