Laura Iñiguez, Content Manager at Hirebook
Laura is a content and social media strategist with deep experience in Employee Engagement, People Management, and Culture. She works with Hirebook to bring their innovative best practices to life through content, videos, and webinars seen by thousands around the globe.
Pub: November 2 2020
Upd: March 7 2023
In a survey of remote and office work conducted by Gallup in January 2020, 54% of office workers were willing to quit their job for one that allowed them to work remotely. With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of companies had to quickly move their employees towards a remote workplace, and with the high productivity that has been reported, a lot of them plan to stick to it, or at least become a hybrid company.
Some employees work better in an office, having a designated space and feeling like they’re successfully separating home from work; but some people feel that they work best at home. Over 70% of managers reported better productivity from their team during this pandemic, according to Global Workplace Analytics.
So, if you’re planning on joining companies like Twitter, Google, and Microsoft in becoming a hybrid company, there are a few things you need to know about how to successfully transition to it.
First things first, what are the different types of offices?
- Co-located - Full-time on-site employees.
- Home or Distributed - Full-time remote employees.
- Hybrid - “the best of both worlds”, sounds appealing but getting to “the best” might need a little more effort than you thought.
Remote working allows people in remote locations or different parts of the world to pursue jobs they only dreamed of having and that probably required moving to another location; it also allows employees to spend more time with their families, provides the ability to relocate without losing their position and basically, they can work from anywhere in the world.
For employers, having employees telecommuting means saving money by reducing office spaces, expenses, materials, etc. But it also means having “offices” all over the world and being able to get top talent to work for your company no matter where they are.
Despite these benefits, there are some challenges you may have noticed come with a remote way of working, and if your intention is to transition from working in an office to a hybrid work model, you need to take these challenges into consideration:
- Feeling left out - Remote workers may feel like building a community with their colleagues and managers gets difficult if they’re not in the same space. Keep in mind that communicating with your remote teams and setting clear standards are a must.
- Not feeling as important during meetings - If in a meeting part of your team cannot have their physical presence there and you pay more attention to those who are there with you rather than those on the screen, your remote team may lose morale. This also happens if when wrapping up a meeting you decide something different with your present team than what you decided during the meeting with everyone, remote or not.
- Work productivity perception - Those employees that are not on-site might not feel like their efforts are being recognized, with hybrid teams you need to make sure you track properly your team’s tasks and productivity.
- Career opportunities - remote employees could feel that those working on-site may have more opportunities to advance in their careers and the company.
- Private and secure internet access - Normally firewalls and good antivirus software can be your saviors in protecting and blocking unknown malware (e.g. ransomware) however, using a VPN to further improve your device’s security is becoming increasingly popular. Further, a virtual private network creates an encrypted tunnel for your data, and protects your online identity by hiding your IP address.
- Cybersecurity - when having a large team telecommuting you have to make sure to protect your company’s and clients’ data. If you have an eCommerce business, you can invest in reliable eCommerce hosting to secure your website and customer data.
Share with your team our “Working Remotely? 7 Tips on How to be Productive at Home” article so they can perform their best while working at home.
Having established the challenges of a hybrid work model, let’s move on to what you need to do to make your transition from working in an office 100% of the time into a hybrid office successful.
Establish Job Roles
Not every position may be suited for a full-time worker at home, you need to clarify which positions can be performed at home and for how many days a week. Think thoroughly which positions need to be performed 100% on-site (like frontline positions that cannot be performed at home), which problems might occur, and how the one in charge of the position would need to solve them.
Consider that, when having people remote working, you may want to change your scope to a results-oriented rather than a clock or hours-oriented. Move towards a project-based metric system instead of tracking working hours. Set specific tasks, OKRs and motivate your team to complete assignments.
Measuring employees on performance will increase engagement and maintain your people motivated, instead of making them leave at a certain time every day when they probably have finished early. Trust that your employees will work the number of hours needed to fulfill expectations and complete their tasks.
Communication is Key
We don’t mean exactly communicating concerns, tasks, scheduling one-on-ones, etc. (Check out our “Check-in with your employees: A Remote Management Guide” article to know more about our remote management tips). Communication struggles happen a lot, like when having meetings with people at the office and people at home; instead of having people present that happen to be in the office, make them join meetings through their laptop as well as remote workers, this way everyone engages at the same level. Leveling the game for everyone will help employees that are typically remote to feel heard and as important as those who are typically in the office.
Provide your team with the right communication tools. When signing up for Hirebook, you’ll find that our integrations facilitate communication among employees, using tools like Slack, Google Suite, or Microsoft, you’ll find it easier to implement a hybrid work model.
Using smart workplace technologies has never been more important. Having so many people telecommuting nowadays forced technology to move faster, and it still needs to move fast. Conversations now can be more focused since when you talk to someone is to address something specific, which saves time and increases productivity and positive outcomes. Reaching objectives might even take less time than before.
Embracing technology with an agile mindset, taking calculated risks, and transformation through innovation are the keys to staying strong and healthy in the new business climate
At the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of companies promoted programs to support mental, emotional, and physical health. This should be part of your company culture if you're now setting a hybrid model. Having a better work like balance and separating home duties from work duties can be difficult, investing in employee wellness is critical, and something you may be able to do with the hybrid work model now that you will save money from deducting other services.
You can also think about giving some sort of stipend or work arrangement to build a home office. Some companies do, like software company Buffer, or even Hubspot helps set up their employees' WFH office and approve of it, it’s like setting up their desks at the office, you do that for your on-site employees anyway. Allocate some of the savings from reducing your office space and supplies to help setting your employees’ offices. Working in the living room might sound appealing and it might be at first, but eventually, your remote employees will need an adequate home office.
Give your hybrid employees the opportunity to book a desk when they plan on going to the office. You don’t need desks on-site for every employee, just enough for co-located ones and a few more for hybrid workers to book in advance when they have to or want to go to the office.
You could even go the extra mile and set up an interactive map of your office. This way people can choose the desk they want to book when attending the office: maybe they want to be closer to their manager or even just close to a window. Your co-located employees may also have the chance to book a certain room for a meeting or you can book a small office for a one-on-one. This also will help with those employees who have never been to the office before, either they live somewhere else or have another situation that prevents them from going, having this tool will come in handy when visiting for the first time so they can locate where to find their manager or even know where to go to enjoy a nice cup of joe.
When COVID-19 struck, companies had to think fast and do certain tryouts to rearrange their work methodologies, they also had to develop new agile ways to work in sync. Now that it seems that employers around the globe might have to adopt these new methodologies as permanent, they had the chance to see what works and what doesn’t and choose the path that adapts best to their needs, and that includes the hybrid work model.
If you’re planning on transitioning your workspace to a full hybrid work model, there’s no better time than now. We don’t know when the pandemic will end, but by that time it could be too late to transition to a hybrid work model successfully. Take advantage of what’s happening now and establish a work structure that will work out for your company and give you a competitive edge. Remember that a positive work-life balance will ensure your employees are happy and that they will stay with you long-term.
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