Hybrid working is a business trend that has seriously picked up in recent years and shows no sign of stopping. Particularly as we come out of the pandemic, people worldwide are still working on a partially remote basis. In this article, we will detail some suggested hybrid working models and show you how you can select and sustain one.
What is a hybrid working pattern?
A hybrid working pattern is a schedule that consists of some days working from home and others working from an office. The model can vary between industries and businesses; some will include four days in the office and one at home, whereas others might be the opposite way around, with one day in the office and four at home.
There are lots of benefits of hybrid working, the main one being that it is a ‘best of both’ scenario, where workers can enjoy the perks of working from home and the social life of in-office work.
Examples of hybrid working patterns
Here are some different hybrid working models that you can consider for your business:
Half and half
This hybrid working pattern is commonly adopted by those who aren’t sure whether they prefer working in the office or at home. They might work on this basis for a temporary amount of time while assessing which way of working suits them. It’s also a popular ‘best of both’ scenario for businesses who want to seek a compromise.
Those on a remote-first working model primarily work from home. However, they might come into the office when they have particularly pressing tasks or need to collaborate with others.
The actual terms of the remote first model vary depending on the company. For example, some may invite their employees to come into the office whenever they want a change of scene.
Others may insist that employees only come in when they have a particular reason to be in the office, such as a meeting that your team can’t do from home. This is particularly prudent for offices that have limited space.
Someone working an office-first hybrid model primarily operates from the office but can take at-home days when desired or necessary. For example, they might go into the office four days a week but work from home on Fridays. Usually, they will arrange this day in advance to ensure that they don’t have any scheduled meetings or other commitments.
This is typical for offices that like having everybody in work, but also appreciate that some people may benefit from at least one or two days working from home each week.
What is a successful hybrid working pattern?
There are different ways to measure a successful hybrid working pattern, and the way that you assess yours will be unique to your company. However, here are some rough indicators that you can use to decide whether your hybrid working pattern is a success:
- employee productivity is high
- profits are up
- the general team morale is positive
- your team reports having a good work/ life balance while still getting all of their work done
How to sustain a hybrid working pattern
Once you’ve found your successful hybrid working pattern, how do you sustain it? Here are some things to consider.
Don’t be afraid to change it up
Just because you initially decide to work in one style, this doesn’t mean that you have to stick to it! If you notice that you, as a team, work much more effectively when you are in an office together, there is nothing wrong with reaching out to your employees and suggesting more in-office days.
Likewise, you might find that some of your colleagues are much more productive when they don’t have to do a long commute. If this is the case, there’s nothing wrong with asking them if they would like to work from home more days each week.
Ask colleagues for their feedback
It’s also essential to include your employees when assessing the ideal hybrid model. You might find that they have different ideas and opinions about the working pattern, and their input could be valuable. For example, millennials often have particular expectations in the workplace, and often they can offer a fresh, young perspective that is relevant in the modern market.
Check in with your employees frequently, whether they are at work or at home, and ask them how they are finding each setting and whether they would change anything. Happy employees foster a more positive workplace, so seeking their opinions is of tantamount importance.
Invest in the right software and hardware
One of the best ways to sustain a hybrid working pattern is to ensure that you have the correct software and hardware to keep employees engaged and productive.
Collaboration in the workplace remains essential, whether your team is working at home or in the office. So the ideal hardware is something that you can place in your office or headquarters but can talk to your employees on – as if they were there.
Interactive displays can do this. These are modern interactive whiteboard alternatives that are ideal for your collaborative workplace. You can set them up somewhere in your office, like in a huddle room or another workspace, and connect to all of your employee’s devices. Then, they can join conference calls as if they were there! You can see all of our interactive displays here.
To do this, you’ll need to ensure that all of your employees have a computer that can connect to the interactive display and determine that everyone knows how to join online meetings.
Hybrid working models wouldn’t have been possible twenty years ago without the software we have today.
There are dozens of programmes that can help you stay connected with employees and assess where they are on different tasks. Here are just some of the software programmes that you can use to sustain your hybrid working environment:
- Trello: This is a helpful project management tool that keeps track of projects assigned to different employees.
- Slack: This enables you to contact your colleagues through messaging on various channels.
- Asana: Using a calendar format, this software helps you keep track of deadlines and means that you can message people about specific projects.
- Monday: This software is based on collaborative working, enabling you to work on group projects while not physically with your teammates.
It is unlikely that you’ll need all of these software programmes. Here are some tips for choosing the right one for you.
- If you have lots of tasks that you struggle to keep track of, choose Trello.
- If your main worry is staying in contact with your employees, choose Slack.
- Asana is best for task management when you have deadlines, as staff members can see what is due clearly.
- Monday is perfect for collaboration.
There is some overlap between each programme – for example, both Trello and Slack are suitable for individual project management – so you might want to try out a few and see which works best for your team.
Most of these programmes have free trials to enable you to test them out without making a financial commitment.
Keep track of employee’s progress
Whatever content management tool you use, it’s important to keep track of your employees’ progress when working at home and in the office. Make sure that you stay in touch with your team and ask them if they have any questions or concerns. It’s essential to address these concerns immediately and directly – if you can’t resolve them personally, find somebody who can.
Likewise, if you are worried about something – for example if an employee who works primarily at home doesn’t seem to be too productive – try to speak to them as soon as possible. If it’s difficult to speak to them online, schedule a chat during an in-office day.
Make the most of in-office time
When your team is in the office, ensure that they aren’t doing tasks that they could easily do at home. Try to make the most of in-office days by scheduling collaborative tasks like huddles and group projects while you are in the office. During out of office days, ensure that you plan to work on independent projects.
Setting up a hybrid working pattern is one hurdle, and sustaining it is another! However, this blog post should have given you enough tips and tricks to select the best hybrid working environment for your team and helped you work out how to sustain it.