How to prepare for hybrid work

Hybridity is the future of remote working. Telework has proved advantageous to employee production, performance, engagement, and overall company profitability. At the same time, there are irreplaceable benefits of working with others in person. The combination of remote and in-person work is a lucrative environment for businesses to thrive. The Voltage Control team is excited to not only watch hybrid work come to life but to help shape what it looks like.

Combine the most effective elements of remote and in-person work to adequatley prepare for the future of remote working and be successful within it. Here’s our take on how to create the most optimal hybrid environment.

Benefits of Remote Work

The future of remote working is already bright. According to a study by IBM, 54% of people would prefer that remote work continue to be their primary way of working, while a whopping 75% would like to continue working remotely at least occasionally. Why?

One reason employees favor remote work is that it allows them more autonomy in how and where they work. Remote workers have the freedom to experiment, explore, and innovate without needing to explain every little step in their process to a project manager hovering over their desks. Physical distance has forced employers, managers, and other workplace leadership to trust their employees. Teams who are trusted to be successful without constant surveillance are happier, more productive, and do better work. Remote worker productivity increases by an average of 40% compared to that of in-person workers.

Remote work also allows workers greater flexibility and freedom in when and where they work. Location independence can lead to greater performance, with teleworkers producing 40% fewer quality defects. Employees with children are able to fulfill parental responsibilities during the workday as necessary. Those who work better without others around can hide away in their home offices. And employees who focus better with background noise can leave the radio or television on, etc. Remote workers have the independence to shape their work environments to best serve their individual needs, resulting in increased productivity and decreased work-related stress. The benefits of telework will continue in the future of remote working.

Benefits of In-Office Work

While remote work has proven itself effective and worthy for businesses to adopt, in-person interaction is also crucial to the future of remote working. As humans, we need human interaction, and that’s best when we’re face-to-face. A huge advantage to an in-person work environment is the ease at which team members can connect; connection is more natural and often easier when we are physically together.

While meaningful connection is possible virtually, there are certain meetings and interactions that should still take place in person. 84% of surveyed executives reported that they prefer in-person meetings because they allow for stronger and more meaningful business connections, according to a Forbes survey. It’s easier to build trust and understanding when working with someone in the same room. People are also more attentive during in-person interactions because there are fewer distractions.

Video conferencing has allowed us to meet from anywhere in the world, but virtual meetings can come with certain inefficiencies. High-stakes meetings and work sessions can benefit from being in person. In-person meetings do not have to come to a complete halt over technical difficulties, and they do not inflict the dreaded Zoom Fatigue. Directions can be easier to follow, discussions flow more naturally, nonverbal signals are communicated better, and no one ever says anything extremely important without realizing that they’re on mute. In short, certain interactions are often smoother and more efficient in person.

Teams who interact in person get to know each other well and grow close, enhancing their collaboration and communication. Well-connected teams are happier, more fulfilled, and more productive. Therefore, it is important to company culture and productivity to have in-person interactions. For many employees, office settings are focused, distraction-minimal environments that provide structure, routine, and keep them on task. Being in an in-person work environment with coworkers can create a ready-to-work mindset for employees who need a space separate from their home to focus effectively.

Even if your team is mostly remote, it is beneficial to still have in-person interactions for important meetings, work sessions, and opportunities for team members to connect.

Find a Balance: Hybridize

The future of remote working is a balance of virtual and in-person work. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of hybridizing.

Increased Team Communication

Asynchronous communication has opened a whole new world of collaboration. While we may have used forms of asynchronous communication–such as email and Slack–before we were forced to rethink the way we work, the pandemic rapidly accelerated our proficiency and software options for it. We’re excited about the rise of asynchronous communication because it allows more room for inspiration.

Gone are the days in which everyone’s best ideas need to happen at the same time, in the same room, during the time designated. Mastery of asynchronous communication allows teams to generate, share, flesh out, and workshop ideas as inspirations arise rather than solely on command. This improves the quality of our ideas and our work, reduces the risk of creative burnout and artist’s block, and strengthens our collaboration by ensuring that all ideas are heard–not just the fastest ones.

Work style Flexibility

Neither schedules nor work styles are one size fits all. Some people need the routine of a 9-5 work schedule with a one-hour lunch break; others are more successful when they can mold their work schedule around the demands of their personal lives, households, or childcare responsibilities. Some team members are relieved to work from home in their pajamas, while others need the office environment to prevent distraction and get them in the right headspace for work. Hybridity gives the reins over to employees to decide when and where they do their work; it gives them the power to work in a way that will allow them to do the best work that they are capable of.

Meetings are also more successful in a hybrid work environment, where team members can work in a way that sets them up for success. They have the autonomy and flexibility to arrive at meetings prepared, focused, and ready to collaborate.

The future of remote working will allow teams to get the most out of their work. When individuals have the power to create work environments that best suit their needs and work styles, they perform at their best, which strengthens the team as a whole. Combine elements of both in-person and remote work to create the most productive work environment for your employees.