The hybrid work model is here to stay. Adopt a remote-first infrastructure to help your company become a hybrid workplace.
As working in person becomes a possibility again, many companies are opting for a hybrid work model. Hybridity in the workplace is trending up as 74% of American companies are choosing to adopt some version of a hybrid work model.
In this hybrid era, it’s up to companies to design a work model that best fits their needs and introduces a balance of in-person dynamics and remote work. While some companies prefer a model that prioritizes one over the other, it’s important to approach the one you choose with intentionality.
In this article, we’ll explore the following:
- What is a Hybrid Work Model?
- Types of Hybrid Work Models
- Why Hybrid Works
- Making the Shift to Hybridity
- How to Go Remote-First
What is a Hybrid Work Model?
A hybrid work model blends the best of in-person and remote worlds. In such a model, companies allow their team to balance their workweek with in-office days and remote hours on their schedule. In this model, an employee typically has the opportunity to choose when and how they work.
Types of Hybrid Work Models
An ideal hybrid model is a blend unique to each company’s needs as well as that of their team. While each hybrid work model looks different, most are versions of the following:
- Office Occasionally
The pandemic saw a lot of companies shuttering their in-person operations for a remote-only model. Now, many companies are allowing their employees to continue to work from home using a remote-first model. This model allows team members to continue to work from home as they choose while allowing them the flexibility to use the office as needed.
With this model, many companies like Quora are offering their space to employees that want a physical location to work from as they choose. In this model, team members come in on a case-by-case basis or if their company requires them to appear in person.
Other companies that are ready to start working in the office again are opting for an office-occasionally model. This approach encourages employees to work from the office a few days a week. This model focuses on in-person and remote collaboration, with a hope to be a true balance between working from home and in-person.
Each company sets the rules for hybridity in an office-occasionally model. While some companies require employees to work from the office a day of their choice a week, others may impose specific days that all employees must be present.
Office-first allows for occasional remote work, with the office considered the primary place for working. This model may require the majority of team members to work in the office while a few employees work remotely. Companies following this approach often encourage the leadership team to work from the office while other members of the workforce are encouraged to treat the office as the default for in-person collaboration and conversation.
Experts warn about the pitfalls of this type of model as remote workers may feel left out of potential career opportunities as they have limited access to their coworkers. If you’re considering an office-first approach, be sure to stay connected with all team members, regardless of where they are working.
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In a split week model, team members split the work week between remote and in-person setups. The company can assign specific days or ask their employees to choose when and where they will work.
Week-by-week models are ideal for team members that prefer working either remotely or in person for weeks at a time. A week-by-week model allows all team members to spend an equal amount of time in and out of the office.
Making the Shift to Hybridity
Transitioning to a hybrid work model can be challenging.
If you’re going to make the transition to a hybrid approach, consider the following tips:
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- Follow the Leaders
- The leadership team plays an important role when implementing a hybrid work model. As you consider the best approach to hybridity, be intentional about how your leadership team works. Wherever company leadership works, others will likely follow. For example, if the leadership team tends to work primarily from home, your employees will likely follow suit.
- Note Employee Experience
- Many new adopters of a hybrid approach often never realize the pitfalls of this model until it’s too late. A hybrid model that sees some employees in the office while others stay home can lead to different employee experiences. It’s important to monitor employees’ experiences with unbiased performance reviews to ensure each person is receiving the same support and opportunities as their counterparts, whether they’re in-person or working from home.
- Prioritize Consistent Communication
- Whether you’re a remote-first company or hoping to introduce more in-person policies, consistency is key in keeping communication flowing. Experts recommend prioritizing online communication over-communicating in-person to ensure that all team members receive the same information in the same way. Additionally, team members should participate and respond online whether they are working in person or remotely. This way, remote workers always have access to the same meetings, conversations, and projects as their counterparts.
Why Hybrid Works
Hybrid work models give companies the best of both worlds. According to a survey from Harvard Business School, 61% of workers prefer to only work from home two to three days a week while 27% want to work remotely most of the time. It’s clear that the majority of workers value a hybrid model and it’s up to companies to find the right one.
Though a hybrid approach isn’t one-size-fits-all, this model is ultimately one that works. The most effective version of this model is one that considers your company culture while addressing the needs of your team members. Implement this approach by finding ways to ingratiate your current culture into a hybrid one.
How to Go Remote-First
As you determine whether to implement mandatory in-office days or choose to encourage mostly remote work, it is helpful to prepare a remote-first infrastructure. Going remote-first will help you refine best practices that will serve both in-person and remote workers.
For example, making the transition to online-only communication for all team members now will set the stage for the model you choose to use. The rise of hybridity allows companies to use the latest tools for virtual meetings to bring their teams together as each successful model of a hybrid workplace allows for remote team collaboration. With a remote-first culture in place, your team will find strength in the flexibility of being able to work anywhere, regardless of how often they frequent the office.
If you need help shifting to a hybrid work model, consider hiring a professional. The experts at Voltage Control can help you adopt the best remote work practices for your team as you consider your needs going forward.