5 steps to implement the ideal hybrid work model

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Hybrid work, a mix of in-office and out-of-office work, is not a new development. In the ’90s, we had cell phones; then in the 2000s we had Blackberries to make it easy to send frantic emails outside the office.

But post-pandemic “hybrid work” has taken on a new meaning, with most employees hoping for some possibility of working remotely, when feasible.

Here, I want to take some time to discuss the different ways an organization can introduce a hybrid work model and highlight some ways companies can make better strategic hybrid work decisions.

Related: Making hybrid models work is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity

Why go hybrid?

Over the years, the productivity and efficiency benefits of remote work have become clear. As far back as 2013, a controlled study led by Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom demonstrated a 13% increase in productivity due to remote work; in 2021, an Owl Labs State of Hybrid Work study reported a 25% reduction in employee turnover due to remote work; finally, a new study shows that an average of 45 minutes of daily time saved from working from home is directly invested in the business.

Having said that, 100% remote not feasible for all businesses and business functions: A 2021 Jabra study showed a clear preference for the traditional office when it comes to collaborative work, presentations and onboarding. To that, I would add that face-to-face customer interaction and specialized tools/infrastructure can be important reasons to have employees in the office on occasion.

Given the benefits of remote and in-office work, it’s clear that some form of hybrid work is the way forward for many organizations. So what is the best way to fix this? Below I’ll review some popular hybrid work models and highlight where they have been useful for particular organizations.

It is worth noting that hybrid work arrangements generally relate to where the work is produced. But it is also common to combine hybrid work arrangements with flexibility over when and as work is produced. For example, hybrid work can be combined with “flex time” (employees can decide when they start and end work, within reason) and “asynchronous work” (being able to work without constantly checking with other team members and managers). .

1. Remote control first

in a remote first business, remote work is the default. Most employees will be working remotely, most of the time. But remote first doesn’t mean “remote only”. Many companies that default to remote work may still allow office work. On the one hand, many employees actively prefer go to the office sometimes.

Spotify has adopted a remote-priority model with its “work from anywhere” policy, promoting remote work, while conserving physical office space and paying for co-working space for employees looking to work in the office. At Horizons, we have also adopted a remote priority policy, if employees so choose. We also have regular regional meetups to bring our distributed team together. We think this provides a good balance between remote flexibility and in-person collaboration.

Related: Is Your Hybrid Model Working? Use these success metrics to find out.

2. Remote control

TO remote control friendly the company supports remote work, but remote work may not be the default. A remote business allows remote work on certain days of the week, for certain teams, or on a discretionary basis. Companies that have recently implemented this include Apple (three days a week in the office) and Microsoft; the type of arrangement applied by Apple and Microsoft is also known as “split-day” hybrid work.

Remote-friendly it is the preferred model for companies that have a strong need for in-person collaboration.

3. Team divided

in a split team hybrid approach, some members of the workforce are allowed to work remotely, while others are required to come into the office. While this may make sense from a job function perspective (some jobs are more feasible to perform remotely than others), it also risks creating a perception of unfairness: some employees in the office may be upset that they don’t they have a say in the matter. — According to a 2022 Gallup report, only 6% of employees who could working remotely would rather be completely in the office.

Related: 5 Tips to Make Your Hybrid Work Model More Effective

How to make your hybrid work decision

Given the variety of ways you can implement hybrid working, how should you decide which model is right for you? I suggest the following steps:

  1. Make remote work flexibility the default assumption in workforce planning. No matter what your business needs, the evidence is clear that employees value the option to work remotely.

  2. Deciding which, if any, essential business functions must be performed in person. There is an element of subjectivity in this. Companies like Apple have decided that this is crucial to the creative element of their work. For others, it may be about responding to a clientele that expects in-person meetings.

  3. Determine the best way to divide the work between on-site and remote elements. Split team or split days are possibilities, but it’s also possible that mostly remote work with semi-regular in-person meetings/events will suffice.

  4. Incorporate your approach to remote work into a written remote work policy that employees have access to. This ensures that there is transparency and that a fair approach is taken.

  5. check in regularly with employees to see how current hybrid work arrangements work. This should occur in both organization-wide employee wellness surveys and one-on-ones with team leaders.

There is no single approach to hybrid work, and most of us hybrid adopters are, by necessity, experimenting as we go. While the benefits of hybrid working are clear, each company must consider its own business needs and processes and find the right balance between flexibility for employees and efficiency in the office.

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