Is your team transitioning to a hybrid work schedule? Let's look at what you can expect to see - both the good, and the bad.
Back in 2021, Salesforce decided to adopt a hybrid work schedule for its 73,000-strong workforce. Employees would only work from the office for 1-3 days in the week — collaborating with their team and hosting presentations. The rest of the days they’d work from anywhere they wanted to.
Salesforce isn’t alone in creating such a flexible work schedule for its employees though. Tons of other companies, including tech giant Microsoft, provide hybrid work opportunities.
With 9 in 10 remote-working employees preferring hybrid work, the move to such a flexible work setting makes absolute sense.
Thinking of setting up a hybrid work schedule for your organization?
Here’s everything you need to know as you dive into building more workplace flexibility:
A hybrid work policy is one that allows employees to work both remotely and in person at the office.
This flexible work schedule can be both well-defined or loose.
For example, you might pre-decide days when all employees or specific teams would be at the office. Or, you can leave it to teams and individuals to decide when they want to visit the office during the week.
Now let’s take a real example here.
Microsoft’s employees work with their managers to decide where they want to work from. New and old hires can choose between on-site, hybrid, and remote work depending on their location, what suits them, and the nature of their work.
Between quiet quitting and high employee turnover, organizations are paying more attention to what employees want to retain them better.
After all, the cost of hiring lost employees is significantly higher than retaining them.
So do employees prefer hybrid work over a remote setting?
The short answer: hybrid work is the clear winner according to Gallup’s survey.
In fact, the survey found:
And when asked about their preferences for hybrid work, the majority (9 in 10) shared they preferred hybrid work.
This makes sense as remote and on-site work bring their own benefits with a hybrid work schedule offering the benefits of both.
For instance, remote work lets employees:
On the other hand, in-person work allows employees to:
Fortunately, with hybrid work, you can unlock the benefits of both worlds:
But that’s not all. Depending on the hybrid work schedule you co-create with your employees, you can drive more organizational benefits too. Let’s explore them next.
According to Gallup, employees select the top benefits of hybrid work 2-3 times more than the top challenges.
Put another way, employees highly prefer hybrid work’s benefits over its challenges.
With that out of the way, let’s dig deeper into how hybrid work models benefit everyone involved in the picture:
A hybrid work schedule gives workers flexibility to choose how they want to work.
Not only does this let them be more efficient about how they’re using their time, but it signals your trust in them — promoting greater autonomy at work.
Of course, improved time management and more trust reduce the likelihood of burnout. It also lets employees achieve a healthy work-life balance while sufficiently connecting and collaborating with their team.
Not to mention, when employees have the flexibility to choose where they want to work from, they tend to be more engaged and are less likely to quit.
For organizations, this translates to not just increased employee productivity and performance but also better employee retention.
Since hybrid work encourages employees to work both remotely and in person, it gives them the opportunity to dedicate time to focus on work as well as team collaboration.
Often shoved under the rug, deep, uninterrupted work is essential for individuals to get more done in less time.
The full truth though: employees are more likely to get deep work hours when they work remotely — free from interruptions from colleagues and demanding meetings.
On the contrary, in-person collaboration is far more efficient when employees come together rather than work remotely.
Thankfully, a hybrid work model lets employees balance both.
For example, a marketing team can come into the office for brainstorming and strategy work. But when it comes to creating, they can dedicate focus hours to it — working remotely during a few days in the week.
From an organization’s lens, this means stronger collaboration across teams and between teams. Talk about work efficiency and building a strong work culture!
A hybrid setting lets you create an inclusive workplace where employees feel well taken care of.
How? Because it lets employees work based on their busy schedules. In turn, giving them the space to be their best self both as a person and as an employee.
Think of it, really. Flexible work gives mothers, differently-abled people, and caregivers the mental space to focus on their personal lives and work.
Depending on your hybrid work model, different employees can discuss coming into the office as their schedules allow.
Here’s more on flexibility in the workplace to help you build an inclusive and talented workforce.
Again, this benefit depends on the hybrid schedule you design.
If you create a setting where alternate teams come into the office on set days, you can easily reduce office space.
We’ll look into different hybrid work schedules in the last section. Based on what you decide, you can easily cut back on operational costs.
As with other work models, hybrid work isn’t free from challenges.
Gallup shares difficulty in coordinating work schedules and disrupted processes as some of the leading challenges to be aware of.
We come bearing good news though: all these challenges are easily solvable — as you’ll see in the next section.
For now, here’s a rundown of the negatives of hybrid work:
In a hybrid setting, employees work from office as well as home, which makes it difficult to keep track of:
Lack of clear guidelines and expectations plus varying work styles can add to the problem.
While team leaders can ensure their team communicates and coordinates regularly, it can be hard for teams to collaborate with each other.
This is particularly a challenge when different teams come into the office at different times.
This one’s a challenge specifically for individuals who don’t have much office time.
In contrast, employees who work in person can better access resources — creating partial inequality.
Of course, centralizing resources can solve this. In fact, it’s an important way to promote hybrid work efficiency as you’ll learn in the next section.
The steps you take to create your hybrid workplace determine its success. They’re also critical to overcoming the potential roadblocks you encounter along the way.
So here’s how to get the ball rolling:
There’s a handful of hybrid work options you can play with:
Each hybrid schedule comes with its benefits. So as you pick and choose, review what your employees want and the nature of your work or individual teams.
If you want to save on office space, for example, work out a team-specific hybrid schedule.
For organizations exploring workplace flexibility, employee retention is often at the heart of the endeavor.
This makes it crucial for you to work with your staff to come up with a hybrid work setting that suits them instead of enforcing a new set of rules on them.
Co-creating the policy is also one of the most essential aspects of designing an effective hybrid work schedule.
Not to mention, employees will be more engaged and open to trying a new workplace setting that they help create. Take it from this Gallup survey that confirms the same:
To get started, promote open communication using surveys, focus group interviews, and one-on-ones to work with employees on understanding:
Post all the research, you should have clear answers to:
Then use this info to make your hybrid work policy.
Using a reliable resource and project management tool lets you overcome disrupted work schedules and process challenges.
Why? Because a trusty software can help teams be more effective at work by:
Runn, for example, lets you manage projects as well as resources in a centralized workspace.
Most of all, admins, team members, and HR folks can easily collaborate and access data (depending on the permission you give them).
Runn also lets employees record everything — even as they work hybrid.
For instance, they can log in the time they’ve worked (both remotely and on-site) using the native tracker or integrate Runn with a time tracker they might already be using.
Proactively take steps to create not just a constructive office environment but also support for productive remote work.
For example, provide tech support and meeting-free days to support employee productivity when they work remotely. On the flip side, design an office space that promotes team collaboration for in-office work.
Dropbox does this well.
With 90% of its workforce working remotely, they provide an annual $7,000 stipend to cover employee’s gym membership, ergonomic at-home workspace, and even childcare. In doing so, it provides employees with the resources they need to do optimal work.
The employees occasionally work from the office too. To support that, Dropbox has intentionally redesigned the company office to facilitate group brainstorming, team bonding activities like happy hours, and educational meetings.
The benefits of hybrid work flexibility far outweigh its downsides.
In fact, with the right tools and clear goals, you can easily overcome these challenges.
So make sure, as you begin planning (or optimizing) your hybrid work policy, you:
Runn helps with just that 🎉
You can easily track resources, milestones, and projects in one place, coordinate across teams, and access data easily.
Take Runn for a free spin today and see for yourself.
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