As we near the end of the pandemic, more companies focus on their future work models. Many big tech businesses have adopted a hybrid remote work arrangement that combines working from home and inside an office. Others even offer their employees a choice to work in the environment they prefer.
The hybrid work model can be appealing to both the company and its workers as it provides several benefits. However, it’s not foolproof, and there are some considerable challenges that the companies must face. If you wonder whether adopting a hybrid remote work schedule is the right choice for your company, continue reading to figure out the answer.
What Is Hybrid Remote Working?
It’s a work arrangement that combines a traditional office’s structure with the flexibility that remote working provides. In such environments, employees can work from home for several days and come to the office workplace whenever required.
In some companies, a hybrid work from home model means that some teams or departments remotely work while others work in-house. You can designate certain positions or roles as fully-remote or on the premises across several departments.
The shift towards this work arrangement mainly came to be due to the pandemic, with many companies quickly adopting the model. Now that employees have already settled into the remote work rhythm and the situation is starting to cool down, business leaders have begun to think about the best way forward.
Some permitted their employees to continue working from home for a couple more months. Other companies are now recalling workers and assigning them differing schedules from each other or are leaving it entirely up to them to decide where to work.
For the post-pandemic future, it may be essential to think in longer-terms. Figuring out ways to make hybrid working more feasible is vital, and there could be many ways to go about it. You can get many benefits from this arrangement, but there are also some challenges to overcome.
Is Hybrid Working the Right Choice for a Future Work Model?
It’s already proven that remote working is a valid work arrangement. Many companies that made the transition to remote working during the pandemic are as productive they were before the pandemic hit, if not more. Some employees even consider that they are as effective on collaborative tasks as they typically are in physical team meetings.
Businesses need to continue managing a large share of remote employees until the threat to health and safety vanishes completely. Instead of continuing to do as they have done before, it’s essential for them to properly create and foster a positive work culture where people are comfortable even when employees are working in different workplaces.
Now that teams have discovered several ways to plan, communicate, and work virtually in an efficient manner, many company leaders expect to continue offering more flexibility in the future. Even a significant percentage of employees would like to continue with a hybrid work from home schedule, as some studies show that more than half expect to work at least one day from home.
As long as a company’s focus is in the right place, it can survive and thrive even while implementing a hybrid remote work schedule. Creating an effective hybrid environment plays a big part in this work arrangement’s efficiency. The primary way to build one is by fostering proximity between employees, as engagement and connectedness are intertwined with most organizations’ success.
What Are the Benefits of a Hybrid Work Arrangement?
Compared to fully-remote work arrangements, hybrid remote work benefits from having a workplace with both in-house and offsite employees. Here are some advantages that come from applying a flexible workplace:
Fully-remote companies don’t have a centralized office space. Having one can make your employees feel that there’s a place where they belong, and it can foster a community feeling between team members.
Some teams can work and go as they desire, do collaborative tasks together, share lunches, and more. These interactions and the flexibility that a hybrid remote work schedule provides can improve job retention and productivity as long as they have the freedom to work from home as allowed.
A huge detriment that many remote employees have is the feeling of isolation from working on their own. As they don’t tend to see each other in person, many workers often feel that they aren’t a cohesive unit.
Having a work arrangement where your employees can do hybrid work from home and office spaces gives them many perks. They can develop work relationships face-to-face and still enjoy the benefits of working remotely from time to time. It lets you create a hybrid environment where your workers are more engaged, motivated, and productive.
Both employees who need silence to focus and those who perform better in an office setting have the capacity of working in line with their strengths. Most of them are more likely to do their work efficiently if they can choose their preferred environment.
When you implement this work arrangement, you also expand your company’s capacity to respond to unforeseen incidents without losing productivity. Employees with minor health issues don’t need to take an entire day off from work as they can still work from home.
However, that doesn’t mean that it’s always the optimal choice. Some employees may lack a dedicated home office, and if they have children, the distractions can make work considerably hard.
Better Talent Pool
Companies that have a hybrid remote work schedule have the benefit of being able to hire talents from a global workforce. Hiring from your local talent pool may let your clients and customers know that you like to invest in the local community, but it also prevents you from accessing a more expansive talent pool.
Currently, most employees have experienced some remote working benefits, like flexible hours and less commuting. These advantages may have made them accustomed to a hybrid work from home model, making them more likely to apply to companies with flexible schedules in the future.
This tends to be the case for skilled workers in high-demand occupations, such as information technology jobs, as they can perform a significant part of their work from home. Overall, implementing a hybrid remote work schedule can attract experienced and diverse employees worldwide with an exceptional depth and range of talent.
As you don’t need to carry out all of your daily operations in the workplace, you may have fewer people in the office at the time. It lets you save some money on office space and supplies and reduce your company’s operating costs.
If several of your employees work remotely every weekday, you can rent a smaller office space, reduce your utility costs, or leave for a more affordable area altogether. It can be an invaluable perk if your company’s central location is on an expensive locale.
What Are the Challenges of a Hybrid Work Arrangement?
A hybrid work from home model doesn’t come without its share of difficulties. Some of the challenges you can encounter while applying this work arrangement are:
Time Zone Differences
When you have a hybrid remote work arrangement, you may likely have several employees in various time zones, depending on where you outsource your work. This can make dealing with time-sensitive project changes or emergencies rather tricky. If you aren’t prepared to deal with time zone differences problems, these roadblocks can harm your company in several ways.
While you can inform employees of your schedule and let them know when they can contact you, it may not be possible for some to do so during that time. Some workers may be up to 12 hours ahead of your workday, so you may not hear from them for a while when you contact them.
If you want to work around this hybrid remote work schedule obstacle, it’s essential to plan considerably further than you would typically do to make sure your deadlines are on time. Try to match some of your in-house hours with your remote team, or find remote workers that work within your time zone or close to it.
Communication Is Harder
While your in-house team can quickly form natural bonds as they spend time together discussing their work, chatting during effective breaktime, and other things, the opposite happens with your remote employees. Fully-remote workers often feel left out, which may create a rift between your in-house team and your remote one.
To solve this hybrid work from home model issue, you can schedule frequent meetings with your offsite and onsite workers and keep them in the loop. It can decrease your employees’ division and empower the team. You can also try to invite your remote employees to your company for a visit every year or so, as it can make them feel as if they are an essential part of the organization.
Another way to overcome this obstacle is to message your remote team frequently through e-mail to avoid them feeling left out. Encouraging your in-house team to do so may have a positive effect as well.
The Distributed Team May Feel Invisible
Your in-house and employees’ distinct separation is another typical problem of a hybrid remote work schedule. The team remotely working may feel out of touch with the office team as they are not included in routine workplace interactions, impacting their engagement and productivity.
You can level the playing field by setting protocols and policies that both teams must uphold. For example, you can make video conferencing the primary communication medium for the in-house team and the distributed one. Make every meeting a virtual one and encourage the in-site employees to join the remote workers’ virtual team building activities.
Another problem is that the in-house team may receive more promotions as their work is more visible. Creating a company-wide employee review standard would help, as it allows you to evaluate your remote workers with the same pretense.
What is a Hybrid Remote Work Schedule?
Post pandemic, businesses are looking forward to resuming business as usual. Surveys conducted by many companies show that employees are reluctant to come to the workplace given covid. The benefits of remote working are helpful to both the companies and the employees. A survey mentions that employees are even happy to take a pay cut to get remote working.
Armed with these results, many companies, including Google, Citibank, Microsoft, Prudential, and more, have announced a hybrid remote work schedule. Where do you see these schedules? What is a hybrid office model? What is a hybrid remote work schedule?
Defining what hybrid remote work is, PwC announced the need for critical roles to be in the office every day of the week. Where possible, employees could work remotely. However, some remote workers may need to visit the office to complete a work task or meetings. Such a working model is called a hybrid remote work model. When such a remote hybrid workforce is asked to come to the office in different shifts, it is called a hybrid remote schedule.
How is It Different from Traditional Working Schedule (9 to 5 Schedule)?
The main difference lies in the following points:
Regular work schedules offer a fixed timing of work, typically 9 am to 5 pm, depending upon local laws and the place's culture. All employees have to get to a central office for working, or offices are split across a few facilities. However, when you are on a hybrid work from a home model, you may either have varying schedules as per projects or be on a fixed timing shift.
Employees do not have a choice to alter their work timings in a regular office. If required, they need to take a day’s leave. They need to get into the workplace every day of the week. The hybrid remote work schedule offers employees to log in to or come into the office as per production planning by workforce management teams. Usually, they, too, do not have a choice. However, when a personal need arises, an employee could take approvals to manage their personal chores; they could exchange their work schedules with colleagues.
Usually, a regular office employee has a dedicated workstation allocated to them. This is not possible for a hybrid work office for remote workers. Remote workers under the hybrid model are not provided with a dedicated workstation. Instead, they must book an office meeting room or hot desks for when they wish to work out office.
Visibility with leadership
Regular office employees are seen to have higher visibility as they work around/with business leaders. In some companies, office workers may not be visible as they work remotely. Their career paths tend to take a miss as they are not visible in the office.
Regular office employees can make use of office supplies for their work. In addition, remote workers can use office supplies when they visit the office, usually two or three days a week.
In summary, hybrid work from home and office has better productivity as employees are at ease in getting a work-life balance and managing families. Do read our blog on the hybrid team.
Pros and Cons of Three Types of Hybrid Work Schedule
Making hybrid work arrangement work could be challenging. Here are three different types of hybrid work schedules that are generally followed.
1. Cohort or Batch Schedules
A particular batch of workers comes in every fixed day of the week. For example, batch/cohort A comes into work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it is batch B. They could alternate every other week to ensure each batch comes in 5 days of the week. One could work out various combinations. Some industrial companies may engage workforces with a different skill set as batch A or Batch B to manage their production lines.
Benefits? Employees know which day of the week they are going to the office and the managers too. So everyone gets equal employee experience too.
The only con is that one set of employees may not ever meet the other, and any lessons learned will have to be shared virtually.
2. Staggered / Block Schedules
In this case, employees are bunched to come in shifts/blocks/ staggers to avoid queuing up. Companies that have a peak at a certain time of the day can benefit from this. For example, food and beverage services, where you may find more customers for diner or breakfast on a particular day of the week. This ensures you are prepared with more employees to cover rush hours.
Benefits? You are often unsure of the timings that you are working for employees, except a few days in advance. It also gives you a better chance to work with different sets of folk as you collaborate.
On the contrary, you do not get much flexibility if you need to run a persona chore.
3. Customized Schedules
These offer you great flexibility as an employee, as rosters/schedules are put up weekly. These could be of two types.
Managers set employee schedules
Managers look at workloads, production demands, or other variable factors to decide on employee schedules. Employees benefit as they could have a change in off day to manage their chores. However, for some employees, it could be not very pleasant to manage work life.
Customized schedules are best for managing workloads, depending upon certain factors like days of the week, increased number of tourists, and more.
Employees set their schedules
Here, employees set their own schedule, basis their availability. Managers do not have any insight. While it offers high flexibility for employees, it also benefits the organization as employees work back with different teams. On the contrary, with predictability being low, there may be a possible chance that some work is not covered or a particular day//shift is not covered. For example, in hospitals, working on a Sunday may be a lower choice by employees as families are at home.
For more details on a hybrid work strategy, don't miss reading our blog.
How Can You Transition to a Hybrid Remote Work Arrangement?
When you’re transitioning your company to a hybrid remote work arrangement, it’s important to create policies that similarly benefit both teams. Employees should feel that they are on equal terms and not neglected, which often happens with remote teams.
Think about what you would value the most if you were remotely working compared to in-house and how you could create a more productive work environment for everyone. Here are some simple practices you can employ to have a more fluid transition to a hybrid work from home model:
Reshape Your Goals and Objectives
Introducing such a meaningful shift into your organizational structure can significantly impact your company’s culture. It becomes necessary to align your business goals and objectives to fit better with this work arrangement.
You need to be aware of the various opportunities that a hybrid remote work schedule can generate to be ready for them. Evolving your company’s goals can improve your employees’ work efficiency and boost their morale.
Build a Virtual Community
With virtual project management and collaboration tools, it’s easier than ever to maintain contact in a hybrid work from home model. However, even if tracking and checking work tasks is efficient, you should try to use these tools to build a virtual community within your staff.
It’s an excellent way to bridge the communication gap and solve miscommunication between in-house members and remote workers. The team working from home can begin to feel less isolated as they become an integral part of the company. It can also make everyone feel they are getting the same treatment, leading to content and productive employees.
Use Asynchronous Communication
When you’re using a hybrid remote work schedule, switching to an asynchronous communication style may be necessary. Utilizing this method of communication means that you communicate with your team without expecting an instant reply.
You leave your employees with the instructions needed to complete their work, and they do it on their time. It reduces some of the stress from always remaining online, letting your team members work comfortably and uninterrupted.
Invest in Necessary Equipment
If you’re introducing a hybrid work arrangement, it’s essential to have the necessary tools and equipment to ensure work gets done smoothly. Investing in an office furniture bulk order for your employees working from home to get them appropriately set up should be your priority. It can raise their motivation and productivity. Afterward, you can order some office equipment for the team working in-house if you want to be unbiased.
Hybrid remote work is here to stay. While you enjoy the flexibility to get to the office, companies benefit in managing costs. The different types of schedules available can benefit and help you optimize your workforce to get the best value, basis the nature of your business operations.
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