In Search Of The Right Hybrid Work Model For Your Organization
While many companies are currently broadening their horizons towards flexibility, an overall conclusion emerges from their experience so far: we cannot talk about a valid universal hybrid work model, but about customized, adjustable strategies, combining three major options – working at the company’s headquarters, working in other spaces, such as coworking hubs, and working from home.
For managers and HR teams, finding the perfect equation between these possibilities can be a challenge, but also an excellent chance to revitalize, reinvent and grow their organizations. In addition, although the pressure to establish a harmonious hybrid work model throughout the company can be felt especially by the human resources specialists, we should not forget a golden rule of flexible organizations: when employees feel involved in processes and consulted, when they receive enough freedom to organize their own time and tasks, they become the ones who guide decision-makers to the best combination of remote and office based work.
First steps in establishing a hybrid work model
Beyond the peculiarities of each company, leaders and HR experts can take into account some basic guidelines in defining hybrid work models:
- Employers must look for the right combinations for each employee, job, team/ department. This means that employers themselves must remain flexible and creative in their approach to hybrid work, and implement leadership rules adapted to this model. Perhaps we can best describe such a strategy by the term inclusion: to encourage personal and professional interactions that humanize both leaders and subordinates.
- The correct ratio between remote work and WFH appears when we respect what economist Nicholas Bloom pointed this way: “Nobody should be forced to work from home full time, and nobody should be forced to work in the office full time. Choice is key – let employees pick their schedules and let them change as their views evolve.”
- In other words, once established, a hybrid work model must not remain fixed and rigid, but can be reconsidered periodically.
When and why should we choose work from a fixed office?
We are currently witnessing a remodelling of workspaces within companies. Whether your employees come to the office on a fixed schedule or you give them more freedom in choosing the days they can work from the organization’s headquarters, here are the kind of work situations that benefit from this option:
- In certain key moments, meetings with the whole team establish a strong sense of collaboration and social connection. Whether we are talking about the beginning or other important phases of a project, such regular interactions between all colleagues are essential. If an in person meeting with all team members is required on the days when some of them work from the office and others remotely, it may be more efficient for remote employees to join those already present at the company’s headquarters.
- In addition, some activities involve access to the infrastructure at the company’s headquarters, such as powerful computers or equipment that cannot be found elsewhere.
- Office meetings and informal in-person interactions encourage the establishment of friendly relationships with new colleagues or within new teams formed between old employees. Regular meetings between employees and their direct superiors can be equally useful.
- Coming to the office from time to time also helps employees to better integrate the organizational culture. Regular reconnection to the company’s spirit energizes and motivates employees, especially during long periods when they work remotely on complex projects.
When and why to opt for work in other spaces?
- Coworking is an excellent alternative to work from the office when employees need properly equipped spaces, but their presence at the company’s premises is not necessary. By giving employees the opportunity to work on certain days from such spaces close to their homes, managers offer them the chance to save time, to establish a better work-personal life balance, but also to be more productive and satisfied with their job.
- Taking into account that not all employees have at home the proper space configuration and tranquillity to work efficiently, companies that embrace a hybrid work model benefit from offering these people the option to book a desk in coworking spaces. The freedom thus granted enhances the sense of importance and trust received from employers.
- Although some large organizations, which already have rented or purchased office spaces, may find the coworking rather useful for freelancers or start-ups, it is important not to lose sight of two advantages of working in such spaces valid for any size of business: proximity to customers and exposure to new collaborations. More specifically, coworking offers the opportunity to meet your customers in different locations. Instead of calling them to the company’s headquarters or going to their headquarters yourself, you can meet in a more suitable place in terms of distance, renting a proper space in a coworking hub. In addition, by offering employees the chance to work from such spaces, they can enter a diverse community of professionals, where they can naturally promote the company’s activity, thus attracting new talents and collaborations, which are suitable for your organization.
- Furthermore, through these varied interactions, many learning and development opportunities arise in coworking spaces. For your employees, the feeling of belonging to such a creative community can be extremely valuable.
- Last but not least, companies opting for flexible spaces can also reduce their costs massively. Through solutions that involve fixed affordable costs as long as the team members use them, an employer can significantly reduce its lease and maintenance costs.
When and why to choose work from home?
- This is a very good option when employees need a quiet place to concentrate on complex activities, if their home space allows it.
- A familiar environment provides inspiration and helps employees recover from stressful periods in the office.
- For those who are part of international teams, working from home is appropriate on days when they need to synchronize with colleagues who work from other time zones.
- Certain routine, time-consuming tasks can also be performed from home, which leaves the employee the opportunity to simultaneously solve some aspects related to their personal life (for example, parents who need to pick up their children from school).
Although finding a right hybrid work model can be a challenge, companies that take advantage of the present conditions and implement such a vision will eventually gain from this because last years’ experience has changed employees’ perspectives over their work.
People are looking for alternatives to exclusive work from a fixed office because they simply saw that flexibility can be favourable for the entire organization.