Hybrid Work: Can It Work For Your Business?
Hybrid Work: Can It Work For Your Business?
Standard ways of working have undergone a serious transformation since the onset of Covid-19, and it’s opened up a new dialogue between both employers and employees about the opportunities (and challenges) that come with embracing hybrid work.
Hybrid work continues to gain traction and has now become something of the “new normal”, with employees (especially those entering the workforce or in more junior years of their career trajectory) highly valuing flexible working models when making their employment decisions.
So, what is hybrid work?
Essentially, the hybrid model is a flexible working arrangement, with employees given the option to work some of their assigned days or hours from home or another location that’s convenient for them and work the remainder within a dedicated office or co-working space with their colleagues.
Hybrid work is reimagining the concept that all productive work needs to be completed within the office and allows employees the freedom to have more say in their location across the week. We’ve seen many businesses, especially tech-focused, even remove physical office spaces altogether in recent years in favour of their entire workforce working remotely from home.
It’s no secret that a hybrid work approach will set your business up for success in the future (if it’s right for your business model) and allow your business to remain competitive in the search for talent.
So, what do you need to consider when looking to implement hybrid work within your business?
The Business Model
Not every business CAN offer hybrid work, and it all depends on the nature of your industry and the daily activities your employees need to perform and deliver on. Does your business rely on in-person interaction? Perhaps you’re a retail chain with several locations, and so your retail staff simply can’t work from home to complete the role.
For your Head Office team, however, you may be able to weave in a hybrid model successfully without compromising on output and productivity. Be creative in your planning, and even if you can’t offer WFH (Work-From-Home) opportunities, you may be able to further empower employees to have more control over their rostered hours.
Are your employees chomping at the bit for more flexible working arrangements? Being able to work from home even a few days a week can greatly improve a sense of work-life balance and employee satisfaction, which will keep them energised and engaged with the business mission and vision.
It’s a good idea to have an open discussion with some of your senior team to discuss how hybrid work would fit with your business and if they feel there is great enough demand to make the switch. As a general rule of thumb, if you have a formal office space where all of your employees clock in daily, you can likely find a hybrid work structure that is a good solution for you and your people.
The Challenges of Hybrid Work
Nothing worthwhile is easy, and you can hit a few ups and downs as you roll out flexible working models within a business. The main challenge that business leaders face is identifying what those key collaborative activities are, how frequently they need to be run, and how your team communicates with both you, their direct managers and their colleagues at any given time.
Ensure you’re set up with the right tech that supports easy communication (like Slack or Teams to manage group chats and calls), and allow ample training and transition time for your staff.
You may also find coordinating the initial roster to be a challenge, as there are likely more “popular” days to work from home, such as Mondays or Fridays, so think laterally to ensure it’s fair for all employees.
Does hybrid work align with your business culture and values? For the most part, employers want to be viewed as flexible, modern and progressive, all of which are woven into hybrid work. Of course, you may be driving an in-person culture that simply can’t be recreated remotely – consider checking in with your team if you’ve made the decision to stick to in-person work exclusively, and share with them that you’ve weighed up the pros and cons.
Hybrid work can offer both a flexible and adaptable way of working that benefits your team and your business, but as a business owner, you’ll know the right move for your goals. No matter what working structure you’ve formalised, be agile and open to changing your mind as your business grows and keep looking for opportunities to make your workplace desirable and progressive.