A hybrid work environment is simply a company whose employees can work both in-office and remotely from anywhere else.
This work model may vary from company to company. Where Company A’s hybrid work schedule could be more flexible with employees fully in charge of their time, Company B’s may not. It all depends on your goals.
Hybrid work has always existed in some form but gained mass popularity because of COVID.
In this blog post, you’ll learn the pros and cons of a hybrid work environment and best practices for creating one.
Hybrid Work Environment Pros and Cons
Recently, I was looking through the job listings on my LinkedIn jobs page. 10 out of the 31 posts had ‘hybrid’ as part of the location.
Assuming the other 21 companies are strictly in-office, 10 is still more than I have seen in a while. Yet still not up to half of the listings. What this shows is that (1) hybrid work is gaining more popularity for a reason and (2) some companies haven’t yet joined the trend, for a reason too.
In this section, we’ll cover the possible benefits (pros) and challenges (cons) of a hybrid work environment.
Hybrid work environment pros
It allows you to attract talent from all over the world: for more flexible hybrid schedules, companies can hire workers outside of their state, country, and continent. Meaning you aren’t limited to only skills in your area. You have a wider talent pool and options to get the very best and most skilled employees. It also improves your diversity and inclusion ratings because now you can hire anyone from anywhere provided they have the necessary skills.
Improved employee happiness and commitment to work: according to a research done by Gallup, workers prefer a hybrid work environment for several reasons. Some of which are the ability to balance their work with other family obligations, better for their well-being, and ability to still feel connected with coworkers. A hybrid work policy gives employees the balance they need to get their best work done.
It could be cheaper to run: think of how much goes into running an office building/space. Rent, power, maintenance, are just some of the bills you have to cover monthly. When compared to the cost of running a more flexible or remote hybrid work environment, hybrid costs way less.
Improved company culture: hybrid work requires transparency, trust, and freedom to be successful in any organization. Any workplace built on these principles is one that’s bound to be healthy and favorable for both employees and managers/employers.
Hybrid work environment cons
It could be difficult to find a hybrid work schedule that works well for the entire company: there are several forms of the hybrid model. You’re expected to choose the one that’s most suitable for your company’s goals and also employees. In some cases this can’t be done easily and may require a lot of trials and errors before getting it right.
Managerial difficulties: management isn’t easy when you have your entire team together, talk more when they’re all over the place. Hybrid work makes management more tasking than it may usually be because now you have to trust staff to remain productive without your present supervision. You also have to take into consideration the different needs of your different teammates to make better inclusive decisions.
Employee/team disconnection: there’s a high tendency for teammates and colleagues to not be as bonded/close in a hybrid model. Especially when some are fully remote or the work schedule is flexible so they don’t all have to be present at the same time. This disconnection could affect their ability to work together, sometimes. To remedy this, create more bonding exercises that can be done together, even remotely. Or fix a specific work-from-the-office day for all team members/employees.
Best Practices for a Successful Hybrid Work Environment
A successful hybrid work environment is one where employees and managers are happy with their work-life balance, they are engaged and productive, and the company’s goals are met.
It’s a win-win for all parties. But there’s a lot that goes into creating this. It requires careful planning, strategizing, and restrategizing for success.
Here are some best practices to get it done:
Include employees in the process
This is important because it helps you create a work schedule and environment that’s inclusive and favorable for all.
From the planning stage to implementation and even afterwards, it’s necessary to include your employees in your process. Gather feedback and opinions from them. This will help you build and run a successful hybrid work environment.
Define clear expectations
What can your members expect under this new policy? Most companies create hybrid working policy guides or remote working etiquettes detailing their expectations from employees.
While freedom is a key benefit of hybrid work, guidance is still needed to ensure success and smooth performance. By setting clear expectations you let employees know:
How to conduct themselves properly
What is expected of them in any situation
How to avoid unnecessary mistakes or clashes
How success/progress will be measured
How they can adapt better and faster to your new work model.
Coordinate Time in Office (i.e. designate specific on-premise days to get people/teams together in-person)
Creating a designated day-in-the-office is necessary for team bonding, collaborations, and growth.
Whatever day(s) you pick as a team lead or manager, you want to make sure that (1) each teammate abides by it, and (2) it’s not just a work-from-the-office day, but employees are fully engaged and encouraged to consistently follow through with it.
Establish and Enforce Meeting Guidelines
Weekly stand ups, daily progress reports, etc. Nobody likes that. And employees don’t want that. You need to trust your teammates and employees to get their jobs done with minimal interference from you.
Meeting guidelines help clearly state the situations, cases, or specific days for sync vs async meetings.
Make Work Schedules Transparent
Transparency is another key feature of a successful hybrid work environment. This means open communication between team leads and teammates. Awareness of responsibilities and progress at all times.
An easy way to implement this is to create transparency guidelines and requirements that every member and manager must adhere to.
Invest in Technology (e.g. meeting rooms)
Every successful hybrid work environment relies on the use of tools and technology to maintain smooth communication on distributed teams, team work, and easy project management.
When choosing the right tech tools to use, consider its ability to host all staff/team members, ease of use, compatibility with all types of devices, as well as the cost to your company.
Some popular tools used by hybrid teams include:
Zoom for live meetings
Asana for project & tasks management
Dropbox for file sharing
Invest in Education (e.g. time management, meeting etiquette, etc.)
It’s important to train both managers and teammates on the proper ways to conduct themselves under your hybrid policy.
You can use microlearning videos and guides to easily onboard employees and cover every area from meeting etiquette to customer relations to how to use new tools.
Be Flexible and Willing to Adapt (i.e. if specific policies aren’t working, change them)
There’s no guarantee you’ll get it right initially. That’s why you need to make room for change and be willing to adapt.
Monitor your progress overtime to see what’s working and what’s not. Talk to employees too to get their feedback. Then use this knowledge to change and adjust your policy till it works right.
Adopting a hybrid work environment doesn’t have to be difficult. Once you’ve outlined your goals and discovered it’s a model compatible with your industry, all you need to do is put these best practices to play and get started.
With Loom, you can eliminate endless meetings and boost cross-team collaborations regardless of location.