Productivity of every organization member is crucial in achieving the collective corporate goal. Before Jack Nilles introduced the idea of remote work, employers and employees believed that productivity was limited to the four corners of the office. Fortunately, remote work changed this concept and made businesses realize that the workforce can still achieve the collective goal even if people work from different locations.
Moving forward to years later, workers have more options from either working from the office or working from home. Soon after remote work grew popular, a new work model rose within the organizations. This novel work concept is an amorphous term that may mean differently from one organization to another.
What Is Hybrid Work?
For some organizations, hybrid work may mean 50 percent of the workforce works at the office while the other half works at home. In other offices, this may mean employees are coming in on certain days, a few days a week, or once a quarter during meetings. It could also mean a combination of all these setups. The most crucial point here is that managers tailor it to employees’ needs.
Hybrid work is distinct from the old ad hoc remote workforce in three aspects. First, employees don’t necessarily schedule their days at the office or home in advance. They can decide which setup can make them the most productive at a given time. Next, remote working has become the standard instead of the exemption to the general rule. Essentially, more workforce is working from their respective homes than at the office. Last, in a hybrid workflow, the shifting is more fluid and happens in real-time.
Different surveys show that most employees want a permanently hybrid work environment or a more flexible workplace. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the business of helping individuals form limited liability companies (LLCs) or in any other economic endeavors. You can benefit from a shift to a hybrid work environment. This change has been ongoing for quite some time — the pandemic simply accelerated it.
Challenges of Hybrid Work
Although the description of a workplace adopting this new model is clear, its execution in real life is vague. Sometimes, if managers prioritize the worker’s convenience, the team productivity suffers. On the other hand, when the latter is more valued, the employee’s safety, comfort, and performance are compromised.
To make hybrid work function according to its noble purpose, its implementers must do it right. Then again, since organizations vary, it’s hard to develop a one-size-fits-all approach to make this system work. Here are several insightful tips to help you and other workplace implementers do hybrid work right:
Consider Where People Feel Most Productive
As a leader, you need to understand what motivates your people. This means you need to figure out how time and place affect one’s productivity, as these elements are crucial in any hybrid organization.
For instance, team planners need to focus on getting their work done. This suggests that they will be most productive in a space far from others. In their case, the place where they perform their job is less crucial to their productivity. This means they can work either at the office or in the comforts of their home. Unfortunately, this does not apply to product innovators who need to work with other team members to develop new products. In this case, their workplace is most crucial to their productivity.
These two examples could give rise to two crucial rules in a hybrid work environment: people who need to collaborate need to report in the office, and allow those who need to focus and work alone to work where they feel most productive.
Consider What Employees Think
To each his own, and no two people are the same. This also applies to your employees. Although your employees have the same role, their work preferences and concept of productivity are not the same. This is why it’s also best to consider their inputs when designing a hybrid work schedule.
Janis and Lois may both be working in finance. While Janis is in her 30s, Lois is just in her mid-20s. Janis has two school-aged kids, while Lois is living by herself. The former just renovated her home to give way to a dedicated home office where she can quietly work. On the other hand, the latter only shares a tiny, cramped apartment with her pet-loving best friend and her dogs. Janis can work better and become more productive if she doesn’t have to commute to work every day. Lois might feel it’s better to work at the office since she can’t focus at home.
If you’re planning to change your work policies to consider a hybrid setup, you have to hear the wishes of your employees. Schedule a consultation with them and ask them where they feel most productive. Considering the case above, you can safely assume that Janis would choose to work at home while Lois works in the office or a coworking space.
Invest in a Hybrid Digital Solution
One of the struggles of teams in a hybrid workplace is how to hold meetings where all collaborating employees are present. This is where online collaboration tools like Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, and Microsoft Whiteboard add value. These tools can help make your hybrid meetings possible. You can gather all employees working on-site in the meeting room and launch the online conferencing tool to proceed with the brainstorming sessions.
You can also invest in online booking software that allows employees to seamlessly book their workspace days or weeks before they decide to work in the office. The good thing about these tools is that they incorporate features that allow users to book a parking space, meeting room, and conference rooms online. Some booking software also includes functionalities that automate placements of work desks, allowing employees to observe social distancing while working.
Decide to Improve Your Overall Productivity
Suppose you’re still in limbo about whether a hybrid workplace is for you. In this case, you need to revisit your key performance indicators to see if you’re still hitting your numbers with your current work setup. If you’re not, it’s time to give a hybrid workplace a test run. Plot your people’s schedule after you consider the points mentioned above. If you see significant improvements in people’s productivity, that only means you’re implementing the hybrid work correctly.