Should You Build a Hybrid Workplace?
For many occupations, it’s possible to work from anywhere there’s an internet connection. More workplaces have gone 100 percent remote, but some have resisted this shift and maintain a more traditional office setting. Meanwhile, the hybrid workplace combines the best of both worlds.
Advances in collaboration and productivity software, along with employees’ demands for more flexibility, have prompted companies to ditch the office. Still, not everyone prefers telecommuting and the value of in-person human connections cannot be dismissed.
In the interest of accommodating all types of workers, employers are increasingly exploring that third option: a hybrid of both remote and office work. We’ll help you decide whether it’s the right model for your business.
What Is a Hybrid Workplace?
A hybrid work model generally gives employees the opportunity to work from the comfort of their own home as well as the ability to go into the office. Remote workers also may prefer a third location, such as a coffee shop.
It isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept, as “hybrid” can mean different things to different organizations, and you can tailor it to best fit your company’s needs. Learning from other employers that have successfully transitioned to either a fully remote or hybrid model can be extremely helpful.
Some businesses, for example, require employees to come into the office three days a week, with two “flex days” where they have the option to work from home or commute to the office. These may be set days, allowing the company to allocate office resources more efficiently.
Other workplaces give employees the option to work remotely or on-site whenever they choose. This means that a company’s headquarters could be based in Dallas, for instance, but their employees can live in another city, state, or maybe even another country, depending on how flexible the policy is.
Many employers have found that productivity, collaboration, and all-around performance among remote workers are comparable to that of employees who commute to the office each day. In fact, some employers have seen upticks in performance due to less-stressed workers and say the option to work remotely broadens their ability to recruit from a much larger pool of candidates. Also, reducing your office footprint can save your company on operating expenses.
Is a Hybrid Workplace Right for Your Company?
While an increasing number of employers have warmed up to the idea of implementing some sort of hybrid work model, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons of doing so for your organization. Again, it’s not well-suited for every occupation, business, or work culture.
On one hand, hybrid work can greatly reduce the costs of paying for office space and supplies. It can also widen your talent pool and improve the diversity of your workforce, as previously mentioned. Also, top job candidates may desire remote or hybrid work and use it as a bargaining chip during negotiations—not offering these options could be a deal-breaker.
However, with some employees in the office and others at home, hybrid work can make it difficult when promoting team members—will in-office employees be favored over those working remotely? A lack of continuity can also make things like communication, onboarding, and training more challenging as well.
Whether a hybrid model makes sense for your workplace depends on a number of factors, including:
- The size of your organization
- The location of your business (and the talent)
- Employee fit
- The nature of the work performed
Whether you’re a small business owner or a key stakeholder within a large corporation, the size of your company may impact your decision-making when considering a hybrid workplace. For instance, a small business may be better positioned to offer a working environment best suited for each of their employees. You could even try polling your employees to see which work option they prefer best.
That becomes a bit trickier for companies that employ hundreds, if not thousands, of workers. A hybrid work situation can provide a happy medium, but larger corporations will need to find ways to consistently check in on their employees and their satisfaction levels. They may also have substantial office space investments and thus less flexibility for scaling down their physical footprint.
Location, Location, Location
Moving to Silicon Valley, New York City, or other business epicenters was once the thing to do if you were an up-and-coming professional. However, now that remote work is widespread, highly talented professionals can live nearly anywhere and find a good job. Offering a remote work option can help you round out your team without having to compete for local talent.
However, you’ll want to be cognizant of any issues a changing work arrangement may present. When it’s time to implement a hybrid workplace or anything in-person, for example, it could have the effect of isolating those employees who live too far away to reasonably make an appearance and could raise issues with salary adjustments based on location.
Determine What’s Best for Your Employees
The age and experience of your workforce should also be factored into your hybrid work model (with the caveat that you want to avoid anything remotely discriminatory). Seasoned professionals who don’t need close supervision or extensive training may enjoy the flexibility to work from home and avoid the commute.
Younger professionals just entering the workforce, however, may crave networking opportunities and a company culture, which can be challenging to accomplish when you’ve never met your coworkers in person. If done right, a hybrid approach should help you cater to a wide spectrum of ages and experience levels.
Consider How Work Gets Done
While many employees can work just as productively at home as they can in-office, it’s also important to consider the nature of the work performed and how in-person collaboration may actually be preferred in some situations. But, if the bulk of your company’s work is done on computers, you need to consider the benefits of a hybrid workplace.
You’ll also need to think about how your company fosters creativity and innovation. If you’ve built a culture around sharing ideas in-person or collaborative brainstorming sessions with tactile elements like dioramas and mixed media, for example, it can be difficult to change that culture right away. Make sure you contemplate how that could translate to a remote work environment, if at all.
Check and Refine Your Strategy
Once you roll out your plan to go hybrid, understand that it’s not a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. After all, hybrid work is still uncharted territory for a lot of companies, and it may take some trial and error before knowing what the right balance is for you and your team.
If you choose to go this route, set it up with intention, make sure it’s clear, and then monitor, iterate, optimize, making improvements as needed.
Stay up to Date on the Hybrid Workforce and Beyond
Every business must find the methods and strategies that fit best, including the decision of where your employees work. There’s no one right answer, but it’s always important to stay on top of the latest trends. Monster can help you make informed decisions with the latest recruitment and management news and insights, delivered straight to your inbox.