Benefits and Major Challenges of Hybrid Work?
As companies settle into hybrid work models, employees are beginning to start understanding and overcoming the challenges of hybrid work. These hybrid work challenges were initially not easily visible or identified.
Employers are now trying to find solutions and tools to help them create a strong hybrid work culture and be more productive.
In this post, we'll examine the benefits and challenges of hybrid work models and provide solutions to help you overcome them.
Softwarekeep is a fully remote company with employees across the world in different time zones. As a fully remote company, we’ve had different challanges but have managed to overcome them and become one of the best software reseller companies.
What is hybrid work Model?
A Hybrid work model (flexible work) is a type of work that supports a blend of remote work, in-office work, and on-the-go work.
In hybrid work, employees get the autonomy to choose to work in a flexible way; where and how they are most engaged and productive for their roles.
Businesses that provide hybrid work model have both remote and in-house employees. This allows employees to choose where and how to work for greater productivity and efficiency.
Hybrid work culture can be roughly divided into four categories:
What does the standard hybrid work model look like?
So, the standard hybrid work model allows employees to work anywhere they’re comfortable, depending on the job's needs and preferences: from home, in coworking spaces, or in the office.
Also, team members can migrate between various work locations - physical or virtual.
This means the standard hybrid work model may consist of two categories of employees:
- In house employees. This is a core team of employees working in-house and responsible for the business's core operations. An example of this is a bankes operations department like cashier clerks.
- Remote employees (optional remote employees). This is a team of employees who work (or may consider working) remotely: from home or other locations. They come into the office on select business days or schedules. Examples of these employees are network administration, marketing, or sales.
Hybrid work vs. fully in-house work vs. fully remote work
Here are brief descriptions of these three confusing terms:
In house work
A fully in-house work model is the traditional work model of brick and mortar. It is where employees work on-site, full-time, with no Flexi work models. The company requires all employees to be present on-site (in the office) to complete their work.
A hybrid work model is a work type that allows employees (some) to work remotely and occasionally come in office while others ( essential employees) work on-site full time. Hybrid workers choose when to come on-site. The company decides which employees must work on-site and which ones can work remotely.
Fully remote work is where a company (usually a remote company like SoftwareKeep) only has employees working remotely, and no employee works on-site in-house. This work model is popular with eCommerce stores. All the company's employees work virtually, off-site, without a centralized, physical office - including working in different time zones and regions.
Read this post on Working Remotely: Tips and Suggestions for First-Timers for further explanation on working remotely.
Why companies use hybrid work models
The one thing certain about the future of work is that hybrid work model is here to stay. The 4 key factors driving hybrid work in today’s world are:
- Employees are demanding more work flexibility: After the pandemic, most employees want flexibility in work to balance their work and life. Dimensional Research found that 57% of employees would consider leaving their company if they must return to the office full-time.
- Remote work has proven successful: While companies were skeptical about remote work before, they’re not anymore. A McKinsey research report showed that companies have seen notable improvements in individual productivity, diversity, and inclusion from hybrid work.
- Technology support. The rise of technology is a remote work booster. Most modern technologies, especially SaaS, ease the transition to hybrid work by allowing easy data capture, management, and analysis from all teams, regardless of location. Employees can also communicate and collaborate, no matter their location.
- Opportunity to reduce office and travel expenses: Remote work is also an opportunity and advantage for businesses to reduce their expenses. As per Fortune, 74% of large organizations' CEOs prefer hybrid work to reduce office space and costs.
What are the Benefits of hybrid work?
By now, you may have tried remote work at least once. What was your experience?
There are many benefits of hybrid work model reported by many workers and businesses. The major ones are as follows:
- People first. The main benefit of hybrid work model is that it's a people-first approach, allowing workers to have more work-life balance. This also allows businesses to have a more flexible, productive, engaged, and focused workforce.
- Better employee work-life balance. A more improved work-life balance is a major advantage of hybrid work. Employees have realized that hybrid arrangements improve personal well-being and work productivity due to autonomy and flexibility of work. Companies have realized that this increases employees’ job satisfaction and overall work performance. It’s a win-win.
Read this post on 7 Steps to Become More Productive While Working From Home to further understand this work-life balance point.
- Increased employee productivity. Hybrid work allows employees to be flexible and work in fulfilling and effective ways, resulting in increased productivity. Factors that contribute to increased productivity from hybrid work are increased autonomy in choosing where to work and when to come to the office, fewer interruptions when working, and the ability to schedule and repurpose commuting time.
Learn more about tips to boost your productivity in this blog: Tips to Boost Your Productivity at Work.
- A wide pool of people to hire from. Businesses have a wide pool of individuals globally to hire the best employees, regardless of location. This makes talent acquisition easy and company performance effective.
- Employee freedom to choose where to work. Employees’ ability to choose where they want to work reduces burnout and fatigue. It’s also a morale booster.
- Reduced office overhead costs and expenses. With fewer employees in the office, companies can reduce office space or move offices to smaller cities, resulting in lower overhead expenses, including the cost of office supplies. Employees also save on travel costs - to the office and back - because they work from home or nearby.
- Better collaboration and work relationships. In-house good is great for collaboration, but virtual/hybrid work is great. Employees can collaborate with one another in less time and at their convenience. Technology support means that employees cna get work done and notify colleagues without needing physical presence.
9 major challenges of hybrid work models; and their solutions
Every business faces different challenges in making a hybrid work model work. But there are some shared hybrid work challenges among organizations.
What’s the right hybrid model and environment?
Each company faces a challenge in creating a hybrid model and environment specific to their teams and needs. Finding the best fit for everyone and the company culture is often difficult. The process can be iterative as you combine different strategies, policies, and technologies.
Inequality between hybrid teams and in-house workers
Often, teams working in-house and those working remotely have some inequalities. For example, in-house frontline workers may feel overburdened while remote teams relax at home, which may not be the case.
Remote employees may feel excluded from the business’ conversations and decisions. Finding a balance between the two is important but challenging.
Remote workers have less access to work equipment and resources
Unlike on-site teams, remote teams may lack access to crucial work equipment and resources such as networks, computers, conference tools, and more. This may hinder their performance and productivity.
Challenge in managing split teams
In hybrid work models, it's challenging to coordinate split teams because of different work schedules, days in the office, and sometimes time zones. This makes it also challaning to coordinate tasks, work schedules, timelines, or locations. Remote workers may feel isolated, less recognized, or unseen and less likely to receive a bonus or opportunities like in-house employees.
Less connecttion to the organization's culture
Historically, businesses develop office (company) culture through office rituals. But when the workforce is partly hybrid, this office culture is open to influence from outside, lack of employee connection, or lack of participation due to staying away from the company’s physical events.
Disrupted new hire onboarding
Regardless of any business's best intentions, onboarding new hires is a challenge in hybrid work models a because of the lack of physical touch. This effects fully remote teams more. Efforts to embed a new hire into the company culture (internal processes) take longer in hybrid models.
Disrupted processes & Decreased team collaboration
Collaboration at the workplace is easier when everyone works physically in-house. With hybrid work, where employees can't be at the office or in the same place at the same time, there may be disrupetd processes due to decorated team collaboration. For example, people working in different times zones might disrupt process if there isn’t efficient coordination.
Impaired working relationships with coworkers
Hybrid work also challenges teamwork and relationships among coworkers. While on-site work allows coworkers to spend time together in the office, building relationships and collaborating on tasks, hybrid work lacks this opportunity.
Inconsistent business communication
Hybrid work may result incommunication glitches across teams, departments, and the management. Accordign to Recruiter, this is a key factor in employee morale, because it makes them miss important business communications, slows down workflow and interrupts collaboration.
Furthermore, over 90% of communication is often non-verbal, is transmitted through body language and cues, making remote workers in hybrid systems may miss unable to undeerstand many important communications.
Solutions and tools for having a strong hybrid work culture
Although it has challenges, hybrid work is still a success in many ways. Businesses have found solutions to solve the hybrid work challenges. Here are some of the solutions:
Create an effective hybrid work environment
Keep the work environment hybrid-effective even when only fewer work on-site. This includes ensuring on-site and remote teams have the applicable resources to stay functional and productive. Reduce the office size or lease coworking spaces for your remote teams.
Develop a remote-compatible work culture
A hybrid work model requires a strong hybrid work culture for sustainability and ensure equal in-house and remote employee visibility. This requires you to establish collaboration opportunities and provide fair work, benefits, and development opportunities. For example.
- Implore all employees to attend company celebrations and events, physical if possible and virtually when impossible to be physically present.
- Establish a sound, remote communication structure, inclusivity, and a culture of psychological safety.
Define in-house vs. remote work policies
Clarify and define policies separating hybrid work from in-house work. Some important considerations regarding these policies are:
- How, where, and when the employees should work. For example, choosing which 3 days of the week to work remotely and when to come on-site.
- Basic equipment, infrastructure, and internet requirements for hybrid work, including security.
- How to attend weekly huddle meetings.
- Employee tracking, productivity, tools and working hours.
- Define tasks, project management, and standard operating procedures.
- Explain modes of communication for both on-site and hybrid workers.
- Define apps and websites considered productive or unproductive during working hours.
Define Project management tools and platforms for collaboration
When you teams work remotely, they’ll need tools for communication, collaboration, and project management. You need to define and provide these tools, and establish their governing policies.
Investing in quality virtual workspace tools that support project organization, teamwork, collaboration, remote communication, and live document sharing is your path to remote productivity.
Project management tools like Monday.com, Trello, Scribe for document sharing, Zoho, Notion, Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Office Suite, etc. can facilitate project management, enable employee collaboration, and improve job performance.
Lear how to Increase your productivity with Office 2019 and 2021.
Quality Process documentation (and SOPs)
Hybrid work models and teams rely on standard operating procedures (SPOs) and processes to get things done. For example, IT teams can document task completion SOPs for in-house and remote teams to help them complete tasks properly. Other business SOPs may include expense reports, marketing templates, checklists, onboarding a new hires, training manuals, customer onboarding, etc. They need to be effective for better and standard employee performance.
Create Efficient Communication
You need to establish efficient communication channels ensuring that both hybrid and on-site workers receive important communications and prevent the missing of spontaneous communication.
Use remote communication and collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc. In Slack, for instance - and may communication platforms - you can create channels to reach specific team, channels, or groups for particular tasks.
Effective team management and collaboration
In a hybrid work, there may be misalignment between remote and in-office teams. The business can manage all employees effectively and align company operations, communication, and team collaboration using the following ideas:
- Use an asynchronous communication style, expecting team members to respond to communications after some time. Instead, you provide employees (remote and on-site) with all the information they need to complete tasks, and they'll do it based on their schedules.
- Give all employees equal access to career development, including promotions, bonuses, evaluation based on work and not process outcomes, pay raises, and more.
- Set specific days for remote teams to come into the office for in-office work and make those days focus on collaboration.
- Equip employees with productivity tools related to a project or task to enable them to work efficiently. For instance, you can add notes, requirements, links, specifications, SOPs, and more using Scribe Pages to help employees work efficiently.
- Create different but equal benefits for in-house and remote employees, including celebrations and meetings, so that nobody feels left out or isolated.
Effective Training and onboarding
Regardless of a business's best intentions, onboarding new hires in hybrid work models can be overwhelming. A good onboarding process can help create new processes, training materials, increased engagement levels, learning the job, new culture, and more.
These solutions can help the onboarding process work well and improve new employee success.
During onboarding, you should emphasize personal connections using 1-to-1 introductions, teamwork, collaboration, and feedback.
Hybrid work environment best practices
Hybrid work models are about enabling productivity without costing the company growth or employees performance, productivity, and work-life balane. For success, companies can use the following hybrid work best practices:
Invest in the right tools, equipment and technology
Implement user friendly productivity and communication tools that are mobile-enabled and device-agnostic. Also, give employees the right equipment and resources for healthy, safe, and productive work from home, such as functional monitors, supportive desk, chairs, internet, and more.
Get early employee buy-in
Use transparent communication early and often. Communicate the value of a hybrid work model for business growth. Enable managers to answer team questions effectively and create hybrid workplace policies that support productivity, performance, and growth.
Employee experience and work culture
Focusing the hybrid work model on employee experience and maintaining an engaging, positive work culture. Get employee feedback and demonstrate action for their health, inclusion, and well-being.
Team check and progress meetings
Encourage employee performance and career progression. This can be done by holding consistent individual team check-ins, career progress meetings, coaching, and opportunities for career growth. Utilize technology and platforms that allow video conferencing and collaboration.
Continuous learning and education opportunities
Offer continuous education opportunities, career growth, and learning for employees and managers. Ensure you communicate available learning, upskilling, reskilling, and development opportunities for managers and employees across the organization.
There are many benefits and challenges of hybrid work models. But with the right tools and solutions, businesses and employees can overcome the challenges and reap the benefits.
Above all, implementing better hybrid work practices can also improve hybrid work models, encourage employee performance, and improve company growth.
Learn more about hybrid work models, productivity and work t home with efficient software from SoftwareKeep.
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