Many businesses that shifted to a work-from-home model during the COVID-19 pandemic are now trying to determine the best work model for the future. While employee productivity has been surprisingly high among remote workers, the need for in-person teamwork, customer interaction, and human bonding makes a return to the office both desirable and necessary for many companies. Fortunately, work arrangements do not have to be all one style or the other. The challenge is to identify how best to balance home- and office-based work to best meet the needs of customers, the company, and team members.
Are hybrid models the future of work?
A hybrid work model, in which team members divide work time between office and home (or elsewhere), allows for greater flexibility, employee satisfaction, and cost savings on office space.
Multinational companies like Google and Salesforce recognized the benefits of hybrid work and implemented remote work options for the long term. Furthermore, a study by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company found that post-pandemic work will be more hybrid, with 9 out of 10 business leaders expecting a combination of on-site and remote working to continue permanently.
However, a hybrid work model is not the perfect arrangement for all companies. Business leaders who have implemented or plan to implement a hybrid workplace must determine the best model for their operations.
Make your hybrid workplace a success
To successfully implement or maintain flexible working arrangements, it is important to identify and consider several factors that impact the decision-making process.
Critical drivers of productivity
Is staff productivity driven by energy, focus, or collaboration? If a team is most productive when working together in one physical location, a hybrid work arrangement that requires in-office time more than at home may generate better results. The in-office model is preferred for jobs that require creative brainstorming and/or those for which facing clients is key to achieving desired outcomes.
For some tasks, sustained focus and energy are the main productivity drivers. For instance, accountants, content editors, and graphic designers tend to accomplish more work with fewer or no distractions. In this case, a model that allows individuals to work remotely may achieve high levels of productivity.
Employee expectations and preferences
Do employees understand company expectations under flexible work models? In many workplaces, setting expectations for employees who opt for a hybrid work arrangement can be tricky, and it is important to know employees’ working preferences.
If a team primarily values flexibility, a hybrid arrangement may increase productivity. The Gartner 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey appears to support this theory — per the study, employees who are allowed flexible working hours tend to be more engaged and productive.
While flexibility may be important, other considerations must be balanced such as tenure, responsibilities, and customer needs. For example, a tenured employee may not require in-person training and immersion in the company culture, whereas a newly hired individual may need human interaction to thrive.
How tasks are done
How employees perform work and coordinate with colleagues should be considered. Even for team members who perform tasks that require intense focus and can flourish in a remote workplace, spending time in the office may still be required at times. For instance, accountants may spend large amounts of time working independently but still occasionally need to collaborate with others or meet with company decision-makers.
The role of technology
Technology plays a crucial role in making the hybrid work arrangement succeed. Team members who need to collaborate must have the hardware, software, and Internet access to work together productively. Businesses can turn to a local managed services provider (MSP) for assistance in selecting and procuring the right tools and systems, and for implementing security protocols to keep data secure. An MSP like Roebuck Technologies offers technology support, remote monitoring, and other key IT resources necessary to optimize a hybrid workplace.
There is no single perfect way to implement a hybrid workplace, but Roebuck Technologies can help businesses arrange and maintain technology to maximize success. Our technology experts can set up workstations and IT resources so that teams can be productive no matter where they work. Schedule a free IT consultation with our experts today.