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What is hybrid work and why is it needed?

December 23, 2022
Nikita Dymenko

Nikita Dymenko

Categories: Reviews

What is hybrid work and why is it needed?

This type of work is characterized by a versatile approach to the process of personnel management. It allows the efficiency of staff and its gratification with activities. And also it solves all the key severities of working from home.

By using a hybrid approach, people themselves decide how and where they wish to do their job. And in any case, they can be sure that they’re able to interact productively and safely with colleagues.

The opportunity to work outside the office and its frequency are determined by business features and also the personal duties and tasks of the staff.

How is the hybrid work model implemented?

This model has been implemented in many businesses for a couple of years now. Technological advances, for example, smartphones and cloud storage, have made it available for people to work and interact from any place. The world pandemic has led to new types of business schemes, technology decisions, and operating procedures. Their convenience and efficiency have become so obvious that many companies no longer want to follow obsolete algorithms. Therefore, today the following hybrid model is an important condition for competitiveness and future success.

Another important plus of this type of work is a higher chance of retaining valuable specialists. It’s evidenced by survey data, according to which no more than 9% of employees want to be back to office work. Therefore, neglecting the hybrid model can cause the business to be unable to engage and retain real professionals.

How is the hybrid work model implemented?

What are the benefits of a hybrid work environment?

The main privilege of this model is the versatility of work processes for both staff and employers, which has become familiar to them in a pandemic. Other benefits include increased employee productivity and job satisfaction, more opportunities for continuous learning, improved quality of cooperation and more favorable relations between employees, and also improved psychological health of the staff.

1. Increased Productivity & Employee Satisfaction

The hybrid model is more versatile, which means the staff feels and finds more opportunities to use its strengths, which causes the growth of productivity. The staff is allowed to organize a workspace that is most comfortable and efficient for them. For example, someone shows the best results working from home, and others need a concentrated atmosphere in the office, where no one and nothing distracts from the business process. Autonomous work from home or office and their combination help not only to improve the staff’s contentment with the working process and its results but also to perceive more trust from colleagues and superiors. Also, this approach allows one to achieve the necessary balance between job and personal life, which is also important for employee job contentment. In addition to that, you can send SMS reminders reminding them it’s time to take a break and keep a healthy work-life balance.

2. More Opportunities For Continuous Learning

This aspect is not so obvious, but still very valuable. The staff gets rid of the constant office bustle and gets more chances for continuous learning and self-education. Even a partial exemption from the must-visit office leads to the fact that the staff gets more free time for self-development and achieving personal goals, which means their personal growth and growing job contentment.

3. Improved Collaboration & Relationships

The privilege of a hybrid work compared to a fully remote model is that it leaves a chance for personal communication and helps the staff to interact face-to-face to create a healthy team climate and to raise the quality of work. And this applies to departments, divisions, and the entire business. Today, when all communication moves beyond the monitor screens, this is especially important. Each conversation in person at a specific time during remote work is quite beneficial for mentoring and knowledge sharing, as well as improving professional relationships.

4. Better Outcomes For Mental Health

Working from home turned out to be extremely beneficial for the psychological condition of the staff because it relieved a huge amount of stress. For example, people mustn’t commute to the office every day or stay late there to finish the task on time. This versatility also helped the staff to improve their health and well-being. However, there was another side. People who realized themselves in the office in the best way felt devastation and loneliness. The hybrid model is excellent because it helps the staff to work remotely and in the office, and also to combine these approaches. So people can reach a good balance between job and personal life and ultimately refine both of these important aspects of life.

How to adopt a hybrid work model?

In order for the hybrid model to be used quickly in work and get the maximum benefit from it, we advise you to perform 5 steps sequentially.

1. Do an employee survey to find out what they need

The first and most important thing is to talk to employees and learn as much as possible about their wants and needs. Do an anonymous survey and ask clear questions about what format of work would be more productive and comfortable for them. Here are some possible questions:

  • Can you stay focused when working from home?
  • How many days a week would you like to work in person?
  • If you had access to an office close to home, would you prefer to work there instead of at the company headquarters?

It is the consideration of employees’ opinions that helps you to understand what model of hybrid work for them is most acceptable and convenient.

2. Implement the infrastructure that will support flexible working

Effective work of employees is impossible without investments in the technological development of the company. Communication facilities, video conferencing equipment – all this is important both for those who work remotely and for those who stay in the office. During the working day, pay special attention to traffic management and make sure that the working conditions of employees are truly flexible. For example, if employees stay in the office only on certain days of the week, then planning can be transferred to the heads of departments.

3. Invest in corporate culture

Corporate culture is one of the cornerstones of a hybrid work system. Invest in team building activities and build camaraderie among team members outside of just work tasks. The investment doesn’t have to be big, but it does require consistency and interaction from upper-level management.

4. Improve the workplace experience

Make the office convenient and attractive for work, so where you want to be, spend time, and communicate with colleagues. A comfortable office greatly increases the productivity of staff and allows you to justify the financial costs of it.

5. Collect ongoing feedback

Introduce innovations only after you talk to your staff. Be sure to find out their opinion about the work and what is happening in the company in general. Without this, it is simply impossible to build a successful hybrid model of work.

 What are the challenges when switching to hybrid work?

Next, we will look at the main difficulties associated with the transition to a hybrid working model, and analyze exactly what management can do to overcome them.

1. Inequality between hybrid and non-hybrid employees

The challenge: Remote work is not suitable for all employees, and some of them are simply deprived of the chance to take advantage of it. This is especially true for employees who, in their opinion, perform the key, most difficult work in the office and think that their colleagues are just resting at home. Remote employees have other difficulties: they may feel like a kind of outcasts who, due to their physical absence from the office, cannot fully participate in the work process and influence decisions made.

What to do? By all means, ensure equal conditions for all types of employees. Every person should feel their value and see the recognition of their work. It is necessary to create a healthy environment within the team, and although it largely depends on the people themselves, technology also has a very pronounced impact on it.

Do not ignore the need to ensure constant quality interaction between all employees and invest in it. Video calls and all other means of communication should be as accessible as possible, and every employee should be able to easily get involved in the work of the team and share their opinions.

2. Getting collaboration right

The challenge: The old work model assumed that all employees were always in the same room, but now everything has changed. Employees are the main resource and capital of the company, so management must do everything to ensure that the sense of unity and the possibility of productive communication does not disappear.

What to do? Now synchronous collaboration is being replaced by asynchronous one. That is, a disparate contribution of employees to the overall result from different places and at different time intervals comes to the place of collective work in real time. And again, the need to provide employees with access to modern means of communication comes to the fore – they must be able to quickly exchange opinions in a chat, co-browse and co-edit documents, and carry out any other interaction.

3. Managing split teams

The challenge: Coordinating teams located in different places can be difficult, especially if it is necessary to fulfill the task of ensuring equal opportunities and rights for all its members. 20% of British workers say that in their opinion the recognition of their merits has decreased after switching to remote work. And this opinion takes place because according to statistics for 7 years (from 2013 to 2020), people working remotely had a 40% lower chance of receiving a bonus compared to those who continued to work in the office.

What to do? Goals and assignments should be the same for everyone, and management should more often engage in communication with employees not only to evaluate their work but also to give tips and advice on professional development and self-improvement.

4. Communication glitches

The challenge: Communication problems reduce the quality of the workflow and lead to the fact that important data is missed, but correcting them in the case of remote work may not be an easy task. This is because we all mostly communicate non-verbally, that is, through gestures, body language, intonation, and even glances. Therefore, if we do not see a person with our own eyes, then it may be much more difficult for us to understand him correctly.

What to do? Create communication channels that will allow employees to understand each other as clearly and fully as possible. It can be video communication and instant messaging. This is how you can overcome the fragmentation in communication and help employees continue to be one team.

5. Effective onboarding

The challenge: The introduction of a hybrid work system may be fully justified and effective in the future, but here and now it often causes significant problems, especially for new team members. The adaptation of newcomers can already be a difficult process, and it becomes even more complicated if the new employee is not in the office and does not communicate with colleagues on a regular basis.

What to do? Managers should look for new effective ways to introduce newcomers to the team without their constant personal presence. These can be personal individual acquaintances with colleagues, and the participation of newcomers in general chats that are not directly related to work. At the same time, it is worth remembering that it is desirable to involve the whole team in adaptation, only in this way the foundation of personal communication will become really strong.

What are various hybrid model types?

There are 4 models in total: at-will, split weeks, shift work, and week-by-week.

1. The at-will model

According to it, the staff can select the most suitable working scheme for them every day. This is especially effective when it’s needed to hold an important meeting in the office today and work calmly in a relaxed atmosphere tomorrow. Some businesses made a “work from office (WFO)” request to maintain social distance.

2. The split-week model

It involves 2-3 days of office work and 2-3 days of work from home and is currently the most popular among employees. As a rule, the division of office work occurs between all departments. So when the sales department is in the office, the technical team stays at home. And vice versa. This helps managers to keep in touch with the entire staff and communicate with each of the departments personally.

3. Shift work

In this case, employees alternate between remote work and office shifts (in the morning or in the evening). This scheme is more complicated to implement because lots of employees are not happy with arriving at the office very early in the morning or very late in the evening. And this is especially inconvenient for people with children who must additionally organize their care and supervision.

4. Week-by-week

In this case the staff alternate between a week of remote work and a week of work in the office. It is appropriate for large teams, which can simultaneously use limited office space and meet in person to communicate, exchange experience, check work and meet deadlines.

Working week

What is the best solution for collaborative hybrid work?

If you do decide to implement a hybrid work model in your business, the first thing you need is the right communication and collaboration software. When choosing such a solution, you should consider the needs of your team, so it’s a good idea to ask your employees the following questions:

  • Are you equipped enough to work from home?
  • Can you collaborate from home as productively as you do at the office?
  • Do you feel sufficiently engaged in the discussion during the meeting?
  • Is the collaboration solution you use secure?

At TrueConf, we’re continuously innovating to make working from home and in the office an inclusive, secure, and connected experience for everyone. This self-hosted video communication and collaboration solution lets you hold secure and time-unlimited meetings for up to 1,000 participants and use multiple collaboration tools, such as team messaging, screen sharing, slideshow, recording, polling, reactions, and more to boost engagement. 

TrueConf enables interaction between different systems, platforms, and devices. Your employees are free to use the devices they are most comfortable with to accelerate workflow and increase company productivity. 

The solution deploys locally and implements server data storage, which eliminates the possibility of unauthorized access to your confidential communications. Plus, TrueConf incorporates end-to-end encryption and strong GDPR compliance to ensure reliable communication privacy.

The best solution for collaborative hybrid work - TrueConf

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FAQ

1. Does hybrid working work?

Yes, because more than 70% of employees say that it has become easier for them to balance work and personal life, and these data are relevant for February 2022.

2. What is the difference between hybrid and remote work?

What is the difference between hybrid and remote work?

In both cases, the employee performs his duties outside of the office. The main difference is that remote work involves the complete shutdown of employees from office life, while the hybrid model still leaves them with this opportunity.

3. What are the risks of hybrid working?

Among the key disadvantages of the hybrid model are the following:

  • Working with remote employees is becoming more labor-intensive and difficult. Nothing one way or another can replace live communication with colleagues in the office.
  • Employees may face the problem of extensive burnout more quickly.
  • More complex monitoring of compliance with hybrid work schedules.
  • Not all companies from all industries can implement and use this model.

4. What is the difference between hybrid and flexible working?

When we talk about hybrid work, we mean only the flexibility of the workspace, which can be located in different places. But a flexible schedule implies flexibility in other work aspects – not only the place but also the time of work.

5. What are the types of hybrid work used by businesses?

The preferred type of hybrid model depends on many factors – the company’s industry, its history, and employee preferences.

  • Flexible hybrid work model is focused on the needs and desires of employees – they choose where they work today, in the office or from home.
  • Fixed hybrid work model defines certain days when employees work outside the office.
  • Office-first hybrid work model allows employees to stay in the office, but they can choose several days a week for remote work.
  • With a remote-first hybrid work model, employees work most of the time from home, but sometimes they can visit the office to raise team spirit and live communication with colleagues.

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