The Definitive Guide to Hybrid Working

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What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working is a flexible work policy that often includes a mixture of conventional office days and remote working. The current pandemic has changed the business mindset of decision makers to help accommodate work for their diverse employees, especially internationally. At the moment, there isn't an agreed meaning of hybrid working, but essentially it's an arrangement where single employees, teams, start-ups or entire companies can expand their working arrangements outside the conventional 9-5 office. Office space social distancing measures has played a huge impact, meaning companies can scale down to smaller spaces. With this comes a new set of priorities for businesses needing to adjust to the new setup.

How does an employer make the most of hybrid working?

It's simple! Start off with the basics. In this article, we'll dissect the different approaches to help your company make the most out of the future workplace, including:

  • Preparation.
  • Onboarding.
  • Updates & Outreach.
  • Comfort.
  • Flexibility.
But first, let's cover some reasons why your business should introduce hybrid work!

Why should my business introduce hybrid work?

According to Accenture, 83% of workers have indicated that they prefer a hybrid working model for business, with high growth companies adopting a “productivity anywhere” approach. Reasons vary, as there is a huge list of advantages and positives. The main one, especially given the times we live in, is the ability to socially distance and stay safe during as Covid-19 pandemic continues. With the workforce split up, employers can ensure adequate measures are taken to contain and mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Another huge advantage of hybrid working is the potential to increase productivity. With lengthy commutes reduced drastically, saving time becomes easier. With the mixture of working from home and flexible office work, employees have the opportunity to structure their days in an entirely new way.

A big consideration is the ability to save money. Conventional office rental was a huge commitment of both resources and time. These days are gone with the introduction of flexible workplace solutions. From coworking to short term private office hire, the market is changing to suit shorter contracts. Furnished spaces are often offered as standard, meaning massive savings on equipment.
People arguably experience a healthier work-life balance which is essential for employee wellbeing.

How can my business prepare for Hybrid working?

Assuming your staff already have their essential equipment (such as a laptop) for remote working, you'll need to ensure you have office spaces that suit your business the most. If you are a startup your needs will be different to that of an NGO, luckily there is an abundance of options to choose from.
Day offices are perfect for small teams or departments that need to work together. Coworking spaces are well suited to individuals in your company. You can avail of different options depending on team size and applicability. Remember, hybrid working may not suit every role, so carry out some research into your current structures, departments, and employees to see who could benefit from this arrangement.

STEP 1: Preparation - Make sure the new setup has everything necessary for a productive day.

From a strong and stable internet connection for those international video calls to having break out spaces or meeting rooms available instantaneously are just some important considerations.

All these will be pertinent to keep the wheels turning. You may need to invest in improved communication tools to stay in touch effectively, but apart from that, try to account for everything.
Below are a list of considerations:

STEP 2: Onboarding – Have an onboarding process for your new employees that reflects hybrid working realities.

Okay, so you've worked out who you will introduce to the hybrid way of working, but what about new candidates? Our advice is to include aspects of the remote or hybrid working into your recruitment process to ease employees into hybrid working. The more you can normalize this new way of working from the beginning, the easier it will be for employees to make the most of it.

Dropping current employees into these situations without the proper introduction, guidance and support can lead to unproductivity. It can also impact internal communications and even negatively impact your employee retention rates. Give a killer presentation that's as informative and exciting as possible to sell the idea.

Step 3: Updates & Outreach - Gain feedback where possible

Updates & outreach are the best way to mitigate detachment from daily office life. This helps ensure a sense of company culture is present Monday to Friday. Become a stakeholder in your employee's weekly experience and take the time to learn from their experiences. Your team will be taking advantage of flexible workplaces, allowing you to reassess where necessary. For example, if coworking 20 days a month isn't suiting your large marketing department, maybe a mixture of remote working and 10 days in a private office would be better. Gain feedback to inform your choices, and hybrid working will become your company's success story.

Comfort

This is tied into outreach and feedback from employees. Aim for comfort. The more at ease your employees are with new working arrangements, the more everyone will gain from the experience. Forbes provides a great guide into creating a comfortable hybrid working environment which is well worth a read for some extra tips, with a clear focus on hygiene and communication.

Flexibility

The main advantage of hybrid working is the improvement it makes to the work-life balance. Employees can work from various locations, at different times. The flexibility of this new way of working also allows companies to expand their new recruiting capabilities. Freelancers can be hired internationally and housed in coworking facilities close to your new candidate.

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