A hybrid workplace model is what your employees want
Hybrid workplace

A hybrid workplace model is what your employees want

The hybrid workplace model is a type of work arrangement where employees have the flexibility of working from their office or work from home. The model is a combination of a flexible workplace and telecommuting.

Harvey Connor
December 4, 2021

There are many benefits to this model such as increased productivity, reduced travel expenses, improved employee morale and a high level of job satisfaction. Employees who work from home also report higher job satisfaction and increased productivity than their office counterparts.

A study by the Telework Research Network found that employees who were working from home had higher job satisfaction. Also, these employees reported a lower level of stress at work and were more satisfied with their ability to balance work and family life.

This model is often utilised by companies that have seasonal fluctuations in the demand for a service or product. In recent times due to the Covid pandemic, it has forced many businesses to offer employees the chance to work from home. In some industries, this model is required and mandated by the government.

Defining what these new ways of working are of the hybrid workplace model

The hybrid working model has already been adopted by many companies, with company such as Google leading the way. Google already has an office space in their Santa Monica headquarters and employees can work at home or from a virtual office. 

Companies use teleworking for different reasons - one reason being for seasonal working patterns such as weather pattern changes, young staff starting up at their company or sick staff needing an occasional break. Many companies, as part of a strategy to avail better technology, are allowing employees to work from home. They are either setting-up virtual offices or allowing employees to work from their own homes. This is an alternative to working in the traditional office environment where employees would sit at a desk and face their co-workers.

Hybrid workplaces are not for everyone - it comes into play when there are times where travel costs are not as expensive and it is also more flexible than the traditional office set-up. The model is not for all employees - it gives employees the flexibility to work from home, at different times and the ability to take time off if they get sick or there is something unavoidable that will happen.

A study by the Telework Research Network found that employees who are working from home have better job satisfaction than their office counterparts. Also, these employees reported a lower level of stress at work and were more satisfied with their ability to balance work and family life.

Challenges of transforming into a hybrid working model 

Transforming to the hybrid working model does represent some challenges for some businesses. Some businesses have absolutely thrived in this new way of working as well. Here is a list of five of the most significant challenges:

1. Getting used to the new technology

When it comes to email, Google Apps has helped us in many ways. However, we do still have some difficulties with the features that we were using prior or are not available on Google Apps. And then there are other new forms of communication that come into play - video conferencing and instant messaging. 

And not to forget that some of the commonly-used software applications have different names now - particularly, with regard to project management. So trying to get used to the new technology is often a challenge for business users.

2. Adopting a different level of governance

The way in which we are managing IT resources is also changing significantly. But there are still areas that need to have stronger governance controls and this does require some significant changes in thinking about the way we operate on a day-to-day basis.

3. Managing budgets and team resources

Budgets are under scrutiny in more ways than ever before. Gone are the days of the hard and fast cost breakdowns, but there is still an expectation of finding a way to manage funds more efficiently and to make them stretch further. In addition, in the hybrid working model some teams are operating with a more fluid structure with different people doing different jobs - this requires more management on the part of the business team.

4. Getting new people up to speed

This may be a particular challenge for those businesses that have just moved to a remote working model or have undergone a significant change in staff resources. Getting new people up to speed with all aspects of the technology and the way that business is conducted is vital if they are to be productive and meet their objectives.

5. Developing a new way of working together

All of the above are just changing slightly, but other more fundamental differences do need to be addressed. As we move to a hybrid working model, our commitment and loyalty needs to be focused on one particular direction - the shift to real-time collaboration. The means of getting there, however, may appear different from the norm which will require adjustments in practice, culture and leadership styles.

Benefits of offering flexible work arrangements

Flexible working arrangements have equated to many positive outcomes for businesses. For those of you who are still on the fence about the model. Here is a look at the top 7 benefits of offering flexible work to your employees.

1. Employee engagement

Flexible working has been proven to create engagement for employees who are given the opportunity to work in a variety of environments.

2. Employee retention

It is clear to see that employees who have not been given the opportunity, will have a higher chance of leaving their job due to their extreme dislike of flexible working arrangements compared to those who have had a chance at trying it out. It is a win-win situation for employers who offer these options, as they will retain more quality staff than they require in order to achieve their goals and job responsibilities.

3. Employee productivity and output

There have been surveys undertaken in the past which have proven that flexible working arrangements contribute towards a high level of employee engagement. This then leads to a positive outcome in terms of productivity, workplace morale and their quality output as employees are able to utilise their resources and skills in the most efficient manner possible. When employees feel a sense of commitment towards an organisation they are more likely to perform at their best, especially if these same employees are benefiting from these flexible work arrangements.

4. Employee recruitment

Many employees will consider applying for a position if flexible working is offered. This contributes to the retention of great candidates and is therefore a good thing for employers who want to stay ahead of their competitors. It’s also worth mentioning that many employees will accept this flexible working conditions without having to be asked as long as it is applicable for their needs and schedule.

5. Business cost reduction

The direct result of flexible working arrangements is the reduction of business cost and the increase in productivity. Employers will experience a decrease in the number of staff which they have to employ in order to get their tasks done. This is due to the fact that fewer workers are required as there are no strict start and finish times and employees can work at their own speed with flexible breaks when needed.

6. Availability of talent

There is such a large pool of talent out there for businesses who want to hire people with different backgrounds, skills and abilities. When employers offer flexible working conditions this encourages employees to apply for their vacancies in their organisations as flexibility becomes more of a “must haves” feature.

7. Business growth

Flexible working is beneficial for employers and even better for businesses when you consider the many benefits that come with it. Flexible working enables employers to provide their staff with great opportunities to grow within their teams and they can also take on new staff if they are not currently available.

All of these benefits will contribute to the overall business growth for employers which is why flexible working continues to be such a popular choice amongst organisations.

Best practises of a hybrid workplace

When you are implementing a hybrid workplace there are several best practises you should consider to make a successful going of it. These include the following. 

1. A company policy, to ensure everyone is on the same page on hybrid working

A company policy on working from home and hybrid ways of working is extremely important so that everything is clear. It is important to communicate to all staff that the company policy is that there is a clear line of communication between those out of office and those in office, and this must be respected. 

This will be critical when you are planning sick days, vacations and absences. If a person takes time off for a reason that is covered by their contract, it will be important that they do not take sick days or vacation days for reasons that are not covered by their contract.

2. Set clear work hours for everyone

It is best to set clear work hours for everyone, so that you can encourage people to be in the office during normal working hours. It is important that staff know what the working hours are so that they can plan ahead what assignments they will complete at home and when they will have time to check in with colleagues and managers.

3. Communicate regularly with staff

If you are planning to implement a hybrid workplace, it is important that you communicate regularly with your staff. Ensure that you communicate openly and honestly about when they might be out of the office, as well as issues surrounding their work and personal lives. If people are absent on a regular basis, this will cause problems for your company culture and working relationship. It is important to identify any problems before they become serious so that you can resolve them before they escalate into something bigger.

4. Encourage staff to check-in

It is important that staff check-in with their managers and colleagues both during the working day and after work. The aim of this is to create a healthy working environment, so that it is clear if there are problems with anyone's welfare or wellbeing as well as enabling your team to discuss any issues that may arise with colleagues.

5. Create a culture of healthy work

It is important to create a culture of healthy work by creating an environment where people are working at their best, while also allowing them to spend time with friends and family. Ensure that you provide staff with regular breaks and allow them to take time off when they need it.

6. Encourage staff to take sick days

It is important to provide your staff with a clear policy on sick days, as well as encouraging them to take time off when they need it. Staff should be allowed time off for any illness, whether this is planned or not. This is so that people do not feel pressured into taking time off if they are ill, but also that the company has sufficient employees who can work if people are ill.

Using technology to help transform your organisation into a hybrid workplace

Utilising technology to help implement the hybrid working model is key to successfully implementing this framework.

Nura Space has created a unified working platform which will allow employees and managers to manage their hybrid working arrangements. The platform will allow users to get an idea of what desks and meeting rooms are available before heading to the office.

This will allow for a seamless hybrid working environment so that employees will feel in control of their work day. Managers will also be able to get an idea of when their staff is in the office and how they are collaborating with other team members. 

All of these features are accessible on a user-friendly interface available on a smartphone app built for both iOS and Android based devices. These features can also be accessed through your web browsers to book desks and check into booked locations. 

From a reporting aspect Nura Space comes jam packed with workplace analytics tools that will empower businesses and managers to understand their staff on a whole new level. 

Keen to learn more about the platform, learn more here.

Harvey Connor

Web & App Developer | ReactJS, React Native & NodeJS.

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