What is hybrid working? The simplified hybrid working meaning is a flexible working model that allows employees to work partly from office and on some days in remote locations, such as a home office or flexible workspace, like a serviced office, co-working space or hot desk. The unique feature of the hybrid work setup is there is no one definite location where employees are required to be present at all times.
It greatly varies based on the employee preference and where they find themselves most productive. One day that space could be the office; on some days, it could be at home. There are also instances when employees prefer to work in a flexible workspace or a co-working space in any location convenient to the employee.
This new trend of working can be a challenge for HR personnel and leaders. With this new-found autonomy for your employees, how can you ensure a smooth transition of work and that you meet your productivity targets?
Benefits & Challenges of Hybrid Working
It’s important to identify the hybrid working advantages and challenges so you can facilitate a smooth transition into this new work setup. First, let's look at the hybrid working advantages you should optimise.
Hybrid Working Advantages
• Improved work-life balance – Many employees cite an improved work-life balance as one of the primary advantages of hybrid working. HR professionals and leaders must consider the employee's well-being while allowing them to choose the work setup that is most effective for them.
• Higher productivity – Every employee is unique in how they approach work, especially in terms of where they work. Some are more effective working from home while others thrive in a social space, like a flexible workspace. HR leaders and managers must identify these differences and build a work schedule that will accommodate those differences. Using this approach will ensure maximum productivity for all employees, not just a few.
• Boost in mental health – Working from home was the norm during the pandemic. However, there were some people whose mental health suffered due to social isolation. Therefore, working hybrid provided employees the opportunity to work in an office or a flexible workspace for a few days during the work week so they can socialise. It is also good for their mental health and well-being.
Challenges of Hybrid Working
Meanwhile, there are a few challenges of hybrid working that you must learn to overcome. Make sure to prepare for these challenges so you can accelerate adoption and create minimal disruptions to work productivity.
• Technological Infrastructure Requirements – Switching to hybrid working places a demand on the best technological infrastructure, which might not be readily available to your employees. Unless your employees have the latest hardware and software tools, this flexible work setup could negatively impact their productivity and ability to collaborate. HR managers can resolve this by supporting employees with technological tools to ensure connectivity or the use of a flexible workspace that is fully equipped with the latest technological infrastructure.
• Less Connected to Company Culture – Another disadvantage to hybrid working is that employees might feel disconnected from their co-workers and the company culture. It is the responsibility of the HR team to find ways to ensure that the company culture remains strong, even as some members of the team have to work remotely.
• Unclear feedback and expectations – The remote work setup can also affect feedback sharing and management of tasks and timelines as a team. The HR team must consider providing adequate collaboration and communication tools to facilitate task management and timely feedback.
Various Kinds of Hybrid Working Models
When most people think about working hybrid, they often assume it is just one type of working model. However, there are several variations to this work model that offers more flexibility to companies and employees in finding what works for them.
• Remote-First: This model allows all workers to be remote-based, except for those whose work requires them to be on-site.
• Office-First: This model requires employees to go to the office, which is common in businesses with customer-facing tasks. Some individuals or teams could be exempted from reporting to the office if their tasks don’t require it.
• Flexible Model: This model gives employees the freedom to choose whether to continue working from home or go to the office when they please.
• Fixed Model: This model requires some teams to be remote while others have to go back to the office.
How Flexible Workspace Contributes to the Successful Implementation of Hybrid Working?
A flexible workspace is the best solution for HR teams looking to successfully implement the hybrid working model. The first challenge to working hybrid is the lack of access to the latest technological infrastructure. The enterprise-grade IT infrastructure available in flexible workspaces can address this. Employees can access the best technological tools that ensure efficiency and productivity at work.
In addition to having access to the latest IT infrastructure, a flexible workspace also ensures that your confidential business data are secure and protected. Flexible offices have a dedicated IT team working to ensure that you have the right cyber-security levels for your vital business information.
A flexible workspace is also a cost-effective approach to implementing the hybrid working model. The short lease terms and the lack of cost involved in setting up your own office and IT infrastructure allows you to resume your normal operations remotely. It provides you with the tools, resources, and solutions you need for less than if you were to set them up yourself.
Finally, true to its name, flexible workspaces give your company maximum flexibility. You can collaborate as a team or work as individuals in your personalised area. This space adjusts to your needs, which aligns with the agile work model that is the standard for modern offices.
Hybrid working is here to stay. If you want to successfully implement this work model in your organisation, you must also embrace tailor-fit solutions that create an efficient working environment for your employees. A flexible workspace fits the bill because you can equip employees with the tools they need to maintain productivity and team collaboration while providing a social space for them to enjoy work-life balance.