Hybrid work is emerging as the preferred arrangement for many organizations. Accenture reports that 63% of high-growth companies have already adopted a hybrid working model. Beware of the bandwagon: just because hybrid is a popular model does not mean that it will suit all workplaces. It’s important to critically evaluate the specific needs of your organization before adopting a new working arrangement. This ensures that the selected working model will support the success of your business.
Before making the decision to adopt a hybrid work model, learn more about the types of arrangements that are possible. Then, consider each of the evaluation criteria to help determine your organization’s ability to support a flexible work policy.
4 Types of Hybrid Work Models
Within the hybrid working umbrella, there are several variations or policies that your organization could choose to adopt. Essentially, there are many different configurations of balancing in-office and remote work:
- remote-first, with some in-office time;
- a balance between both remote and in-office work;
- mostly in-office, with the option to work remotely when required;
- working in-office, but asynchronously or with a remote team.
There are also different policies that an organization could introduce, such as the ability to work abroad, that impact the hybrid work model and its configuration.
Evaluating the Future of Your Organization
As a leader, the first step towards achieving a flexible hybrid work model is to evaluate if it will enhance your organization and support your business objectives. Adopting a new working model is a turning point for any organization. An evaluation of this criteria will help guide if a hybrid work model will support the future of your business:
1. Roles and Responsibilities
Consider how your teams currently work together, and what might be possible in the future. Within each organization, there are roles that are naturally suited for the physical workspace, such as an office manager, legal assistant, or IT administrator. There are also certain tasks and responsibilities that lend themselves to being remote-only. For example, critical thinking, data entry, and analysis are well suited for remote work. These tasks are performed in a variety of roles, however, financial analysts are a good example of employees that may benefit from a remote-first working model.
Each employee will have their own preferences and circumstances, such as their geographic location, that impact the specific model that they adopt. Evaluate the types of responsibilities that exist in your organization to understand if hybrid work could enhance the employee experience.
2. Industry Trends
The nature of your industry or sector impacts if hybrid work is a viable option. As proven in the initial COVID-19 lockdown, many industries can support remote work (even if they didn’t before the pandemic). These industries include professional services or finance.
Other industries that rely upon front-line workers, like healthcare, hospitality, education, and agriculture can’t go fully remote or are less impactful. If this is the case with your industry, try to incorporate some of the benefits of hybrid work for your employees. This could look like adopting a 4-day work week for increased work-life balance, or offering flexible hours.
Adapting to emerging industry standards, such as implementing more flexibility, will help position your organization for greater success, even if hybrid work isn’t possible in your industry.
3. Talent Acquisition and Retention
Adopting a hybrid work model empowers workers and fosters an employee-centric culture. The data is clear: 63% of surveyed employees cite work-life balance as their top priority when job seeking. Workers are leaving their jobs if their well-being is compromised in favour of more attractive roles. Employees have experienced the flexibility of remote work, and don’t want to lose that. However, exclusively virtual work can be socially isolating, so working some days from the office can strike the right balance.
Evaluate if your organization could remain attractive to prospective and current employees without adopting a hybrid model or flexible working culture. Keeping a rigid work policy risks losing out on qualified employees in favour of more attractive offers. It is also likely that you could experience difficulty when recruiting top talent.
4. Support Hybrid Managers
The hybrid workplace benefits employees because they are satisfied, motivated, and engaged. It offers flexibility and autonomy, by placing the focus on results and outputs instead of inputs. At the same time, managing a hybrid team presents new challenges and potential difficulties. Ensure that you will be able to support your hybrid leaders, particularly if the model is new to them. Trust is paramount to making a hybrid model effective. Support your people managers by providing training, tools, and ongoing support.
Evaluate the roles in your organization, your industry trends, the preferences of your employees and candidates, and management support. If the data points you towards hybrid work, ensure success by employing the right workplace management solution.
Lindsay is a Marketing Coordinator at Arcadis IBI Group who is passionate about the future of work. Lindsay brings her experience in marketing and communications, creativity, and innovation to help the Nspace team power the hybrid workplace.