Since the COVID-19 pandemic, companies around the world have embraced remote work for the health and safety of their teams. However, offices still play a role for many businesses and provide a central hub. While the future is not set, it’s likely that the changes created by the pandemic will have lasting effects on how teams work, with many surveys showing that a remote work option will be desirable well into the future.
The question is, how will businesses create a hybrid in-office/remote work model that benefits their entire workforce?
Being able to strike this balance and create an effective daily routine that serves the practical needs of your entire company will be critical for companies seeking to move forward into a new normal.
What is a Hybrid Office?
A hybrid office can be composed of two different types of workforces. One is composed of co-located workers, those that only work in the office, and remote workers, those who only work outside the office. The other is a flexible workforce, where every employee is able to work both in office and remotely as they please, depending on what is most productive for them each day. Either of these workforce compositions create a hybrid office, but companies must decide on what is right for their employees and the workplaces being created both in office and at home.
What Do Hybrid Offices Need?
It can be easy to lean toward either side of the hybrid balance, either accommodating remote workers to the disadvantage of in-office employees or making remote workers feel unseen in their companies. Managers must ensure that both sides of the hybrid work environment encourage productivity and push toward successful projects. If either side is poorly equipped to perform their jobs, then both sides will be affected in the long run.
Today’s hybrid offices need the right hardware, software, and office space to accommodate all team members. If at-home workers don’t have the support they need for their unique setup, their productivity may be impacted. In addition, in-office employees must have the equipment and office space necessary to communicate with remote workers, such as conducting one-on-one meetings in the privacy of an enclosed room that may not be available due to open floor plans. Due to the shifting work schedules of hybrid teams, everyone should be able to access schedules and quickly determine when each employee is working in the office or at home to keep everyone coordinated and supported in their daily needs.
What are the Benefits of Hybrid Offices?
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only shown that businesses should shift to remote work for the safety of their employees, but that today’s technology means that they can shift to remote work and maintain a successful business. However, in-office work and face-to-face collaboration still have advantages that can’t be replicated online. There will come a time when in-office work is safe and feasible again, but this new precedent that has been set means companies can provide flexibility to their employees’ unique needs. Well-designed hybrid offices provide benefits so that team members can work the way they are most productive.
Companies that prepare for and embrace hybrid work will be prepared for the new normal, attracting and retaining top talent to succeed far into the future.
Level Up Your Collaboration
Collaboration is critical to every business’ success, whether they are working in the same office or not, but it needs a strong strategy to succeed. Learn more about what strategies are right for your company in our ebook, “How to Win at Collaboration.”