You might have heard the term hybrid working thrown around a lot in the past year. And while Google searches for a concrete definition of ‘hybrid’ may instead yield a certain variety eco-friendly vehicle, the hybrid we’re talking about is a workspace model that combines a mix of in office and at home working. Whilst not a new concept, adoption of hybrid work policies have accelerated rapidly following the pandemic restrictions of 2020.
We unpack all of this for you, so you can make a decision on whether your company should adopt a hybrid working policy, and how you can succeed at implementing one.
Work as an environment, not a location
Hybrid working prioritises an ability for individuals to work wherever and whenever they want. Of course, it is at the discretion of the employer just how flexible this approach is. Some organisations may stipulate that their workers work from home 2 days a week, whilst others give employees the choice whether they come into the office at all.
Methods such as hot desking can help to make this process as safe and seamless as possible, allowing companies to rethink physical space and optimise what they already have.
Flexibility and Agility
Hybrid working is so much more than ’working from home’. It is the convergence of office and home environments into a single workspace. Hybrid working represents a combination of working practices – bringing together Flexible and Agile working.
Flexible working focuses on arrangements made between the employee and employer on a case-by-case basis. Examples include work style changes, such as different working hours, work locations, or job sharing arrangements.
Agile working methods bring together people, processes, connectivity, technology, time and place to deliver the most appropriate way to complete a given task.
A Hybrid Workspace prioritises the experience of people and offers comfortable surroundings driven by principles of activity-based design. Organisations must reimagine physical and digital spaces and optimise them for the variety of different activities their workers need to undertake if they wish to remain productive.
Collaboration is better conducted face-to-face. Those working from home need to be incentivised to travel to the office. Provision of hospitable and immersive environments that are optimised for collaborative teamwork and gives them a different experience to that at home is an important part of achieving this.
Those unable or unwilling to return to the office need to also be provided for. Ensure remote workstations are set up correctly to enable work from home without compromising ease of communication or collaboration.
With effective preparation, home workers can prove highly effective. In a comprehensive survey commissioned by Microsoft, conducted by Boston Consulting Group and KRC Research across Europe, company executives say their remote teams have remained highly productive.
82% saw productivity levels either hold steady or increase as people shifted to remote work. More than half say their Hybrid Working practice is a powerful way to retain top talent.
In addition to reinventing the physical space, it is imperative that two or more people can communicate and interact realistically and effectively at any given time. The better the digital solution can accurately mirror an intuitive, human experience, the more the emotional distance can be.
The Benefits to Employee and Employer
A well-implemented hybrid working policy benefits all concerned. Workers are able to plan life around their work, rather than planning work around their lives, allowing them to balance childcare, lifestyle and education with work commitments.
Employee wellbeing and engagement are hot topics, with organisations recognising the value of looking after their people and providing a culture and working life that engages them – with a work life balance being an integral part of this.
Doing this effectively can literally pay dividends.
According to Gallup Companies with engaged staff have higher earnings per share, outperforming peers by as much as 147%, while 59% of companies believe that workplace wellness can help reduce costs.
Engage and Survey your Workforce
To migrate your organisation to hybrid working, you need to engage and survey your workforce. From this you can extract both behaviour and employee expectations, audit the changes required and establish what is acceptable for you and your workforce.
The office as it stands could be redesigned. You may only need meeting rooms and hot desks rather than multiple rooms with banks of workstation desks. Digital transformation will play its part, investment in technology will reduce other overheads.
The pandemic may have brought a temporary shift, but the future is hybrid. As we emerge from restrictions organisations need a more permanent and robust solution in place. It needs to be sustainable in the longer term and will include everything from Health & Safety to Facilities, IT to HR and most importantly employee engagement and wellbeing.
A successful implementation of hybrid working begins with understanding your business model and culture. You may need to rethink policies and strategies, overhaul your real estate, communicate effectively and invest in smart technology to help ensure long-term business success.
Laduma Helps Organisations Master Hybrd
At Laduma, we believe that the new breed of Hybrid Workforce needs a new breed of Hybrid Workspace. One singular platform where you can bring all your favourite applications and tools with you to do your best work together.
Teams need to work fast, efficiently and with freedom, having access to the tools they need in one place. With the help of Laduma, you can pull meetings, notes, reminders and specialist tools into one central platform for frictionless collaboration from any location.
To find out more about how we can help you master Hybrid working, take a read of our comprehensive hybrid workspace insight guide