How can you make the hybrid work model work for your business?

by Rohan Mathew
How can you make the hybrid work model work for your business?

Implementing the hybrid work model into your business can be a difficult task to complete correctly. The hybrid work model differs mainly from others as it requires some employees to work onsite sometimes and offsite other times, this requires proper planning and forethought to implement. But with the proper methods to implement a hybrid work environment, the process can be completed quite easily and quickly. There are two main steps to make the hybrid work model work for your business, those steps being planning and implementation. Once implemented though, the hybrid work model will greatly benefit your business.

The first step to making the hybrid work model work for your business is the planning. Planning can be separated into several smaller steps, those being worker impact, model type, and workspace modifications. The first step in planning is determining and preparing to coordinate worker impacts. When implementing the hybrid work model, some workers may work better in one specific environment than others. This means that you, as the business owner, will have to coordinate who starts out onsite and who starts out offsite. You will also have to consider that some employees will have different schedules than others, this means that flexibility is key when implementing the hybrid work model. Being open to different solutions for different sets of workers may prove necessary in some situations and optional in others. Another aspect to consider regarding worker impact is that meetings may perform differently than they would in a typical work environment. You may choose to plan all onsite meetings, all digital meetings, or a mixture of the two. This is key to the idea that different workers have different schedules/preferences. But it is important to keep in mind that with this partial separation of workers, some “cliques” may form between individuals or groups (Zapier). This is caused because certain workers will have more interaction with specific individuals as they are separated by environment. You can remedy this by either planning all onsite meetings, meaning that all employees would get equal participation and interaction. Alternatively, you could implement a more in depth communication policy. This could mean that employees must keep updates and contact with each other, or you could implement a custom solution specific to your situation. A hybrid workplace policy is always useful.

Another potential problem to consider is where the leaders choose to work. For example, if the leaders of most departments choose to work onsite first it may mean that more people choose to work onsite first with them. Just be prepared to hear the opinions of others regarding leadership and communication between project leaders. If it becomes an issue you may choose to implement a weekly/bi-weekly switching situation that allows all of the workers to work onsite with their specific leaders. Finally, something you will need to take into consideration is promotions and recognition. It has been proven that those who work mostly onsite are more likely to receive promotions as opposed to those who work mainly offsite (Griffis).

Next in the planning step is determining which type of the hybrid work model best suits your business’s situation. There are many different types of the hybrid work model ranging from mostly onsite to mostly offsite with variations in scheduling and frequency. The main four types are the at-will, split-week, shift work, and week-by-week model. Just be aware that these are not the only options and there are other variations, you can even develop your own if it would fit your business. You also have the ability to utilize multiple types, according to each department’s preferences or even based on individual preferences. The first and most flexible is the at-will hybrid model. This model allows employees to choose whether they want to work onsite or offsite depending on the day. This model is especially helpful for those that utilize onsite working for meetings or a quieter workplace while still working offsite for the majority of the time. Following the at-will model is the split-week, which is most used by employees (The Advantages of the Hybrid Work Model). This model alternates between two weeks; one has employees working two days onsite and three days offsite while the other has employees working two days offsite and three days onsite. This model provides employees with equal time both onsite and offsite which creates a good balance of working environments. The arrangement of which days are onsite and offsite is up to the employee(s) and employer to decide on. But generally companies using this system divide the week up by department (The Advantages of the Hybrid Work Model). Next is the shift work model, this model has employees alternating working offsite and either morning or evening shift onsite. This is generally a more difficult work model for employees as it is not as easy to either get in early to morning shifts or in late to evening shifts. This also means  that most employees with children will have to set up alternate childcare solutions (The Advantages of the Hybrid Work Model). This model means that employees have equal time onsite and offsite, but requires them to move back and forth a lot. Finally is the week-by-week model which has employees switching weekly from working onsite to working offsite. This model is generally used by larger teams or groups as it allows them to all meet onsite to work with each other. Choosing the right type of model is imperative to the functionality of the hybrid work model, make sure you take all factors into consideration while choosing which type works best for your business.

Once you have chosen a hybrid work model type, the final step is to evaluate the workspace modifications associated with integration of the new work model. Although it may seem like it is not necessary to make modifications to your existing workspace, it may be financially beneficial to reallocate the available space. It is up to you as the employer to choose whether or not to change the workspace, but it means that you would be able to convert some of the once worker space to something new. This could mean implementing a larger IT room possibly to handle the large influx of offsite workers or expanding other rooms. If the worker change is large enough, there may even be a possibility to decrease the amount of space being rented which would decrease costs. Although it is not necessary, the hybrid work model provides you the option to if you see fit.

The last step in making the hybrid work model work for your business is the implementation. This step is a combination of all decisions made in the previous steps put together within the workplace. Firstly you will want to notify all staff of the upcoming shift to this new work model, make sure you give enough time between notifying everyone and the actual implementation. Make sure to provide information about the work model and the available schedules that people have available to them. This gives staff a chance to evaluate what they may prefer within this new work model. Next you will want to schedule group or department meetings to discuss the details of the new schedules. You may want to revamp or modify your IT department to handle the influx of information coming from the new offsite workers, you may want to consider possibly upgrading network capabilities if they may cause issues in the future. This will help to make the transition as seamless as possible. Next send out notifications confirming schedules to give time to allow for any last minute changes. This is quite imperative as there will most likely be some unexpected changes or modifications that you do not want happening on the first day within the new model. Finally transition workers to the new work model. Be ready to handle a lot of questions concerning basic functioning of the new model as employees get used to the new work model. Completing all of this should transition your business, hopefully somewhat seamlessly, into the hybrid work model.

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