It’s been more than two years since the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the whole business and operations world to remote work. While we are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in this global challenge due to vaccinations, there is no doubt that the ways to do business and work have changed for good.
With technologies enabling communications real time, work has been transformed from being confined in an office room into working anywhere and anytime.
However, despite all the benefits and advantages of remote work, it all boils down to individual preferences in the matter of where and when to work. If there is something good the pandemic has brought about, it’s the enablement of preferences in working. Some employees prefer to work full onsite, others a full remote work setup, while others a combination of both.
With leaders and business owners thinking of the future of working for their employees according to these emerging trends, hybrid work setup is seen to be future of working.
What is hybrid work setup?
Hybrid work is a work model that offers both remote and in-office work. Through this model, employees can choose a setup that works best for them – it can be a full remote, full onsite, or a combination of both setups.
But why do we have to consider hybrid work setup?
Again, firstly, work setup is a matter of preferences. Secondly, remote work and onsite work have each of their own pros and cons. For one, work-from-home can give a feeling of isolation and lack of community. On the other hand, onsite work has a share of its own challenges such as bigger cost on money, time and energy.
These are just some of the disadvantages of each. A deeper look into experiences of people on these setups can provide more insights. But the point is to make the most of the benefits and advantages of each, leaders and employees can combine them to create a better work experience.
But the trend is more than just the consideration of the place. Flexible work arrangements also call for a change in the time and hours of work – one which provides promising results when it comes to productivity and happiness.
For instance, for output-based work, work can be measured not by the number of hours rendered but the amount of work accomplished. This way, employees can have more time for other things rather than just work.
Moreover, the flexible work arrangement also gives the employees the freedom to select the time they can work, giving them the chance to work during the time they are most productive.
Combining both, we have a flexible hybrid work setup which is one of the types of hybrid work.
Yet again, flexible hybrid work setup does not work for everyone due to individual preferences and the nature of work one has. There are other types of hybrid work setup explained by Webex here.
Of course, no setup comes without a challenge. Every work setup present disadvantages that both leaders and members need to consider. The challenges for a hybrid work setup are:
- In-sync meetings. The differences in the schedules of members can make it difficult for teams to meet on a specific time. This is perhaps the biggest challenge for hybrid work setups – the ability to convene into a meeting, especially when it is a face-to-face meeting.
To solve this, it is important to be clear on times when you need to conduct a face-to-face meeting or catchup from the planning stage of a hybrid work schedule. It helps when a team would identify a specific day of the week or month to do this so everyone in the team is agreeable – such as a weekly catchup.
- Collaboration. Because of the differences in schedules, collaboration among team members may be difficult as well. This is especially true for those with flexible schedules. A team member may send a request to another and receive a reply hours after because of the differences in the schedule.
So, it is important to set expectations among team members and make it clear to everyone the schedule that they have so they can adjust their collaboration time.
- Workspace design. With the emergence of hybrid work model is also the modification of how people work. Slowly changing are the traditional management where people are confined to work in their dedicated workspaces.
Given this, the design of the workspaces matters as well in the achievement of a highly effective hybrid setup. Hotel desks, hot desks and breakout spaces are emerging concepts that support for an adaptive work setup for employees.
- Emotional tolls. Some studies show that a hybrid work model can be tiring for employees. So again, it is important that the design of a hybrid work model is suited to the needs and preferences of the employees.
Aside from this, the feeling of being left out by remote working employees can also hinder the hybrid work environment. The divide on employees can come from onsite workers speaking more frequently, agreeing on things on their own without informing some of their colleagues in remote work. Another is all that chatter from colleagues in the office, eventually somehow alienating remote colleagues.
Implementing hybrid work setup properly
As an employee, only you know yourself very well. If your leader or company gives you the chance to choose your preferred work schedule and setup, make sure you test and figure out what setup works best for you. Speak with your leader on the model you prefer and agree on the best possible terms.
If you’re a leader, it is important to understand your members. Gather insights, collect data and test models to see which will work. Keep in mind also the company’s mission, vision and values. It is important that there is balance between preferences and the company’s goals.
When it comes to the workspaces in the office, a hybrid work setup needs to adapt to the changing space landscape. Office workspaces should cater to the needs of hybrid working such as hot desks, breakout rooms, and many more. Onsite work is not about people sitting in front of a dedicated workspace but a set of flexible working spaces for people’s needs.
Lastly, to ensure that there is no divide among employees, there should be a properly set up work environment where no one is left behind the company culture and updates by crafting policies and programs and services that will help every employee in all setups.
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