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The results of a recent survey revealed that 54 percent of Canadian employers have plans to adopt a hybrid workplace model in the near future.
Are you thinking about offering flexible work arrangements to your employees? Are you on the fence about letting them choose between working at the office and working from home?
If you’re unsure about adopting a hybrid model, read on to learn more about the benefits of flexibility in the workplace. You’ll also find some tips on how to best implement this arrangement.
As is the case with full-time remote work and full-time in-office work, flexible work solutions come with a series of pros and cons. Outlined below are some of the greatest benefits that hybrid work has to offer:
When half of your staff is working remotely, there will naturally be a lot more space in the office. This gives the in-office workers a chance to spread out and change up their workspace to make it more accommodating.
You can establish quiet zones for deep, focused work, for example. Depending on the size of your team, you might even be able to give everyone their own office rather than having them all work on the main floor together.
Building off the last benefit, reducing the number of people working in the office also provides you with an opportunity to reduce overhead costs. This is great news for companies with tight budgets.
Since fewer people are present in the office, you might be able to downsize to a smaller or less expensive space. Your everyday operations costs will likely go down, too. This includes expenses for things like utility bills, office supplies, food and drinks for the break room, etc.
Globally, only about 20 percent of employees are actively engaged at work. A hybrid model can help to increase this number.
When employees get to choose how they work (at home, in the office, part-time at home and part-time in the office, etc.), it’s easier for them to be engaged and motivated when they sit down to tackle their projects.
The same goes for when employees get to set their own hours. If they can work when they’re the most energized and focused, they’ll be more enthusiastic and will do better work overall.
Increased engagement at work also leads to increased productivity and better performance.
If you want your employees to get more done, allow them to work in an environment that encourages maximum productivity. For some, this means a quiet home office. For others, this means a busy, vibrant office space surrounded by their colleagues.
Offering flexible work solutions allows everyone to work in the environment that is best for them, their needs, and their habits.
In Canada, 63 percent of senior company leaders say their organizations have a distinct culture that separates them from other companies. However, only 41 percent of employees agree.
Without a positive, supportive company culture, you’re going to have a hard time retaining employees. Your employees will also be less engaged and less productive, too.
Prioritizing flexibility and giving employees the freedom to work in the way that’s best for them is one of the best things you can do to improve company culture. It shows employees that you care about them and want to set them up for success and happiness in the workplace.
Speaking of happiness, flexible work solutions are great for morale, too.
Some employees feel happiest when they can drive to the office every day and be surrounded by their colleagues. Others derive more happiness from working in solitude and not having to worry about a commute.
Hybrid work models allow companies to accommodate both kinds of employees, as well as those who fall somewhere in the middle. If you want to boost morale across the board and make your company a good one for all workers, the hybrid approach can make a big difference.
There are a few downsides to a hybrid work environment, too. The following are some potential cons that you ought to factor in when deciding your company’s future:
When you first switch to a hybrid work model, you may run into some communication issues. Remote employees may be at a particular disadvantage because they have to communicate via chat, video, or phone rather than asking questions or making comments in person.
Over time, if communication issues aren’t addressed, they can cause a sense of isolation for remote workers. Remote workers may also feel separated from their in-office colleagues, which can get in the way of everyone working as a cohesive team.
With more flexibility comes more opportunities for scheduling confusion. This is especially true if you have employees who are working part-time in the office and part-time from home.
In these scenarios, it’s easy for people to get confused about who’s in the office and when they’re available for in-person meetings. Clear communication and transparent scheduling are required to overcome this issue and keep everyone on the same page.
For a lot of people, flexible work solutions improve morale and create a better sense of work-life balance. At the same time, though, others face a greater risk of burnout, particularly those who are working from home.
Remote workers can easily fall into a trap of working at all hours of the day because they’re always in their “office.” If someone struggles with setting clear boundaries around their work life and personal life, they may be more likely to deal with exhaustion and burnout.
Perhaps you’re leaning toward a hybrid approach, but you’re also wondering how to make this work for you and your team. If you’re feeling a bit stuck or unsure of where to start, here are a few tips that can simplify the transition:
It’s going to take time and careful planning to shift to a flexible work model. You can’t just make a random announcement on Friday that you’re switching to a hybrid approach and expect everyone to easily adjust.
Sit down and draft a transition plan for yourself and your team. Include information about how you’ll decide who works in the office and who works from home. You’ll need to address scheduling, too, and ensure that specific employees are available when they’re needed most.
Establish a transition timeline, too. Be realistic about how long it will take to implement the hybrid model and get everyone established. This prevents confusion and allows you to set clear expectations for everyone on your team.
Remember, you don’t have to create your transition plan alone. In fact, it’s better if you get your employees involved. Find out what matters most to them when it comes to flexibility in the workplace.
For example, is there a relatively even split between people who want to work remotely and people who want to work in-office? Do your employees care more about flexible shifts and being able to set their own hours?
Learn about everyone’s values and needs so you can factor them in and create a system that works for everyone.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when shifting to a hybrid work model is not providing remote workers with appropriate equipment.
If you want your remote workers to feel connected to the rest of the team and able to do their jobs well, they need the right gear. They shouldn’t have to shell out their own hard-earned money to get it, either.
Make sure everyone has high-quality equipment, as well as a strong internet connection. If needed, review your budget to see how much money you can allocate to each remote worker to get them the tech they need, too.
Make regular efforts to encourage collaboration between your remote workers and your in-office workers.
Consider creating a group chat so that people can easily talk to one another and ask questions when they arise. You can also hold weekly team-building meetings and invite remote workers to join via video.
These kinds of efforts give everyone a chance to connect and check in even when employees are spread out between the main office and their home offices.
Finally, encourage (and be willing to accept) feedback from all of your employees. There will likely be some growing pains as everyone adjusts to the new hybrid work model, and it’s important to take people’s questions, concerns, and complaints into account.
Not only does this show your employees that you care and value their opinions, but it also helps you maximize productivity and efficiency. This improves your team’s performance and allows for more profitability for your company, too.
Now that you know more about the benefits of flexibility in the workplace and how to implement a hybrid work model, are you ready to make the change?
Follow the steps outlined above in mind so you can simplify the process and make the transition as seamless as possible for everyone on your team.