Hybrid Workforce: Understanding Nuances and Pitfalls

May 11, 2021

Since Coronavirus turned things on their head, businesses across the globe have responded well to enforcing remote working. And now, things are on the move again. Businesses are trying to decide how things will look in a post-Covid world. Many workers and businesses don’t see a complete return to office working anytime soon, therefore introducing a hybrid workforce.

Recent surveys tell us that over 50% of workers in the U.S. favor a mix of office and home working. Other surveys predict the numbers of remote workers will double before they begin to drop. Pre-pandemic, less than 20% of employees worked at home. Whatever the final number happens to be, businesses need to be flexible to the constant changes.

Present Arrangements

Currently, businesses are dealing with these changes in different ways. Some companies have set dates for their employees to work remotely until the summer of 2021. Others have started to bring back people into the workplace on varied schedules.

And some are letting the individual employee decide where to work. Everyone is trying to figure out the best possible life/work arrangement.

Longer-term Expectations

Companies across the globe are beginning to consider what things will look like in the long term. They’re looking at how to structure work hours, office communication, and physical presence. What many businesses are considering is a hybrid working model that combines office working with remote working.

What would Hybrid Workforce look like?

When we use the term ‘hybrid’, it sounds like we’re giving employees more freedom. With hybrid working, employees often decide where they work and when they work. This means employees have more autonomy to decide how their work fits in with other things in their lives. In an ideal world, hybrid working provides sociability and structure alongside flexibility and independence.

One common approach is to decide on specific days for working ‘at the office’. On such days, there are meetings and discussions. And on ‘remote’ days individuals can focus on their own specific tasks.

With hybrid working becoming more common, companies will likely reduce the amount of office space they rent. They simply won’t need to accommodate so many office workers at any one time. Plus, downsizing office space is a great way to trim the budget.

What is the Optimal Amount of time in an Office?

Current studies show that two days of remote working is the optimal time for balancing quiet work with collaborative work. This will also allow employees to benefit from commuting less. Of course, you need to decide what works best for your business.

What does Hybrid Working need to be successful?

Companies need to aim for equalization between workers. In an ideal world, all employees would attend the office during the same hours. However, this will make social distancing difficult.

It is also important to instill an ethos of transparent communication. This means that all communication is shared with everyone equally as needed to avoid unnecessary conflict. Every employee, no matter where they are working, needs to be on the same page.

How to make a Hybrid Workforce work

Arguably the best legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic is the improved focus on employee wellbeing and health. This is paramount to success. Prioritizing a safe working environment and healthy work practice is going to mean businesses retain workers while improving efficiency.

Without the necessary technology, support, and resources, a hybrid team simply won’t work. The team needs to be equipped with the devices and technology they need to do their job while working remotely. Businesses need to consider video conferencing software, how to share documents and files, Wi-Fi connections, and messaging apps, just to keep track of everyone.

It’s clear to see that remote working is going to play a big part in many businesses in the coming years and the future beyond. Companies should start planning for a hybrid workforce. Proper planning will make it work well for you and your employees.

If you have any questions about setting up remote workers, or if you need to restructure your office network, contact us. We can make sure you’re set up for any workforce structure you need.

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