Both companies and individuals have awakened to the benefits of remote working over the last few years. However, while there are companies that can go fully remote, others still see a need for some employees to work from the office from time to time. Some employees might also see it beneficial to work remotely some days a week and others in the office. A hybrid work model facilitates this necessity by orienting more towards productivity rather than employee attendance. It gives employees a choice to work remotely or on-premises as long as they are able to accomplish their work well.
Nevertheless, switching to a hybrid model is a paradigm shift for both the management and employees. There is a need for adopting the best strategies in the setup if it is to be successful. Here are 5 approaches that can make the arrangement more doable.
1. Adopt the asynchronous way of communication
Communication is very important for every team regardless of where they work from. When it comes to a hybrid work model, however, it can be hard to get everyone online at the same time. Adopting asynchronous communications provides a better way to communicate without pressuring your employees to be available at a certain time. This way of communication means that communication happens without the expectation of an instant response. You communicate the instructions and provide all the information that your employees need to execute tasks, and they can respond with queries and updates when they start working.
GitLab Inc., a web-based DevOps lifecycle tool provider adopted the model that they call Async. They started with Async 1.0, and have been reviewing it as work evolves. Now at Async 3.0, they hope that asynchronous communication will enhance the flexibility of their team. In addition, there are other tools you might need in the office, such as simultaneous translation equipment, needed to translate the meeting for foreign workers.
2. Create policies that support hybrid work
For a hybrid work model to work, you need to create policies that support this arrangement. This will ensure that there is a clear guideline on how to go about things. When well thought, these policies should address things such as office attendance, online hours, and remote work classifications. However, be sure to conduct internal surveys to help you in formulating these policies.
When it comes to office attendance, the policy should state whether it is required or optional. Nevertheless, it is good to ensure that the reason for employees to go to the office is considered. Ford Motor Company allows office visits only when face-to-face interactions are required. Those that work remotely do so with the manager’s approval.
The policy on online hours should indicate the best time that all employees could be online in case of all-hands meetings. In addition, the policy of remote work classification should help differentiate fully remote workers and those that are hybrid, probably based on commute distance.
3. Utilize coworking spaces
When you think of the people who are required to work from home, it is good to note that it’s not the best option for everyone. Likewise, commuting long distances is also not a good option for everyone required to report to the office. Coworking spaces memberships can come in handy for employees that are in between. Working in a coworking space can provide the amenities, such as the HVAC equipment, of an office for the worker who doesn’t want to commute. It can also provide a good alternative workplace for the worker who doesn’t want to work from home. They have all the right conditions there, so coworking spaces offer the best solution for them.
Truesound Audio, a company that manufactures Bluetooth speakers, has continually used coworking spaces to support their remote workers, and it is working. If you are located in Chicago, utilizing a coworking space there can be of great help for your remote team. Some of the best coworking spaces in Chicago include Technexus, The Loop, and Servcorp – Wacker among others.
4. Find creative ways to enhance employee engagement
Maintaining employee engagement gets lost when people working remotely stop feeling part of the larger team. Engagement is also compromised when they feel that employees working on-premises are favored in some way. Whatever you do, it is paramount to ensure everyone is on board. If you are rewarding or providing some amenities to people working in the office, find ways to extend the same to remote teams. For instance, if you offer lunch in the office, you can send some gifts to your remote employees. Another great way to keep employees happy is to create a virtual community where the larger team can meet and socialize. On top of having official channels for tasks and projects in Slack, add another channel for non-work-related talks and encourage them to utilize it.
5. Offer support to your employees
It is important for employees that choose to work from home to have access to technology and everything else they need to work and stay connected to the rest of the team. However, between paying for house expenses and purchasing office requirements, it gets difficult for most people.
You can ensure that your remote employees have fully functioning office spaces by supporting them to purchase what they need. After adapting to the hybrid work model, Microsoft announced that they would pay for office expenses for individuals who want to work from home. This will go a long way in ensuring that remote workers can get rolling immediately when they make that decision.
With intentional planning and preparation, it can be easy to implement a hybrid work model that is efficient. Start by creating policies to support the model and then finding ways to support your team. The new model also calls for an overhaul of what you are used to. It is high time you adopt asynchronous communication, find ways to keep employees engaged, and utilize available resources such as co-working spaces to leave everyone happy.