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The In's and Out's of the Hybrid Working Model

The remote work trend has been around for quite a few years, but nowadays, the question leaders are asking is no longer just, "Should we give employees the option to work from home?" The question has shifted into, "How do we adopt a hybrid working model that's suited to both remote and in-office employees?" To answer this question, we need to deep dive into what exactly is the hybrid work model, the pros and cons to adopting it, and the tools and processes best aligned with it to ensure a smooth transition to hybrid.

Hybrid Work Model Definition

What is a hybrid working model? Hybrid work can mean contributing part-time, full-time, remotely, and more. It's a broad term that means different things for every company and person involved in it. Essentially, it's a working model that combines two or more methods of work into one. The most common example is combining remote and on-site work. Traditionally, employees need to report to a physical office five days a week with a strict schedule. Now, more and more companies provide employees the option to work some days in the office and some days at home.

What are Hybrid Companies?

Hybrid companies offer a flexible work model. They have a mixture of employees that work as traditional full-time workers and others who work as contractors or freelancers. Some companies even provide job-sharing where two people work part-time to fill a full-time position.

Hybrid Role Meaning

Now, what is a hybrid employee? A good example of a hybrid role is one that offers a flexible schedule, allowing employees to work their weekly hours on the days and hours they prefer. For example, Amazon employees have an app where they can choose their schedule, and they can even work as little as 4 hours per week. For most hybrid roles, their is the option to work remotely or on-site depending on their schedule.

Here's a good example of a hybrid job posting on LinkedIn:

hybrid role meaning

Hybrid Work Schedule

Here are more examples of a hybrid work schedule:

  • Flexibility in the start and end time of their shifts
  • Full-time job but with an option to work part-time in some months
  • Location flexibility, including remote work
  • 2-day remote work, 3-day on-site work
  • 10-hour shifts for 4 days

The possibility is quite endless!

Hybrid Model Advantages and Disadvantages

Having so many possible options is one of the main advantages of a hybrid working model because it gives employees the freedom to work when they are most productive. Some of the other advantages include:

Freedom to Choose Your Own Schedule

This is a perk that companies have been offering for years to keep top talent on board and acquire new talent as well. For example, Google has famously offered flexible schedules so its workers can do things like spend more time with family or pursue charitable causes.

Increased Productivity

Another benefit is increased productivity because people are happier at home versus being stressed out about making it into the office on time every day and staying late when necessary.

Lower Turnover Rate

A third big perk of having a hybrid working model is less turnover. Bloomberg reported that 39% of 1,000 US adults said they'd consider quitting if they weren't given a flexible option to work at home.

Pitfalls of a Hybrid Workplace

While there are numerous benefits, one pitfall of this model is that managers may wonder if they’ll lose control over the team. This means that communication needs to be drastically improved for a hybrid work schedule to truly succeed.

Other disadvantages for a hybrid employee:

  • They often feel that they’re not being productive enough due to the distractions of working at home.
  • They feel like they are always in "working mode" and it can be tough to “switch off”, so they need support in finding ways to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle.
  • It can be isolating when you're not seeing colleagues face-to-face regularly.

What is a Modified Hybrid Office?

The hybrid office definition is a pretty straight-forward one. It's how your physical office would look and feel once you've implemented a hybrid work environment.

Before Hybrid

  • You have plenty of desk space for all employees.
  • You need larger conference rooms to accommodate more people for your meetings.
  • You invest in tons of space, including the cantina or an entertainment area.

If your company has officially gone hybrid, it's not only the schedule of your employees that you need to think about. There are other logistics involved, especially around real estate and building a modified hybrid office that works for your team.

What is Hybrid Working? Hybrid Office Examples

In a larger office building, you have to consider the size of each floor and how that will affect your hybrid office. For example, if half of your workforce is working from home or in another location for a few days a week, it doesn't make sense to maintain as many desks per floor as usual.

It's also important to be mindful about reevaluating the space dedicated for socializing with co-workers when not everyone has an assigned desk – which may become more fluid due to employees changing their work locations throughout the day. Adding spaces for groups of people who normally wouldn’t meet together (e.g., sales team members), can help encourage collaboration among all hybrid workers across different teams and divisions within your company.

The Future Way of Working - Innovative Ideas for Working Models

Companies with a hybrid workforce are no longer limited to hip and trendy tech startups. Large and traditional corporations are now adopting hybrid working environments too and implementing some innovative practices.👇

Banning Video Calls on a Friday - Citigroup

Fifty percent of Citigroup's workforce is now hybrid. However, not all employees can take advantage of the hybrid option. Datacenter and bank employees still need to report to the physical office. But, Citigroup CEO has banned video calls on a Friday as a general rule. Without a doubt, it's one of the best work from home video models!

Bridging the Gap Between the Physical and Digital - Microsoft

For the tech giant, the hybrid option is available to all employees: everyone is allowed to work at home 50% of the time. However, an employee can request more if needed and can be approved by the manager.

Hybrid companies offer a flexible work model.  They have a mixture of employees that work as traditional full-time workers and others who work as contractors or freelancers. They work remotely or work in the office 50% of the time.

Microsoft also redesigned its office spaces for "people who are not in the room." For example, their conference rooms are designed to accommodate both virtual and in-office employees who are in the same meeting.

Innovative Ideas for Working Models

Manager Training for a Hybrid Workforce - Lockheed

The challenge with hybrid work from home is that most managers don't have enough experience to manage teams in this new setup. That's why the company is investing a lot of training for their leaders, so they can better manage a hybrid workforce.

Constant Learning - WeAndYou Media

Luís Pimentel, Founder & CEO at WeAndYou Media is managing multiple companies in the hybrid space. He says that's it's critical to learn consistently and adapt to changes quickly.

These are just a few examples of companies that are committing to a hybrid working model. And as you can see, their choices reflect their company culture.

Things to Do Before Adopting a Hybrid Workforce

Before making the first step, it's best to plan and conduct your research. Remember that what works for Microsoft will not naturally work for your organization. Plus, you need to consider your resources, so you can set realistic goals for the transition.

Hybrid Work Model Research

  • Survey - Create a survey about how your employees feel about adopting a hybrid work schedule. Give an option to submit anonymous answers, just in case some employees might not be comfortable sharing their true thoughts.
  • Use existing data - If you don't have the time and resources to conduct a full survey, use data that you already have. For example, in your 1:1 with employees, have they asked questions about work from home models?
  • Experiment with a small group - There's no need to implement a hybrid work schedule for all of your employees. Start with a small group or a specific team and go from there.

Hybrid Working Model Policy

Once you've done your research, the next step is to get clear with your policies about the hybrid work from home options. Yes, hybrid is an amazing working model, but there is still a need for clear expectations and standards of performance.

Things to consider are:

  • Are all employees qualified to take advantage of a hybrid work schedule?
  • Do you want to give employees full flexibility in terms of schedule or will you provide them with options to choose from?
  • What is the process for requesting and approval of a hybrid schedule?

Tips on Managing a Hybrid Working Model

Build an async-first culture.

Create a digital headquarters to get the best from your people. For teams and projects to succeed, you need an efficient environment. A good way around this is by defaulting all asynchronous work into strictly scheduled slots in their day.

More space for deep work, fewer meetings.

Hold only meetings when needed with priority given to urgent situations. Don't let meetings be held for the sake of it, and always aim to have only one objective per meeting.

Provide feedback.

For a company culture to be successful, people must provide and accept feedback. There must be open communication between all parties in the process, so problems can get solved quickly. Hybrid isn't just about flexibility in schedule, it's also about flexibility in finding solutions.

Use tools to build good working relationships.

Use tools that promote communication for on-site and remote employees. Just because people are in different geographic locations, it doesn't mean that they should have a distant relationship.

Tools for Hybrid Companies

Finding the right tools to support your hybrid working model is critical not only to stay on top of communication, but also to create a strong company culture despite the differences in time and location.

  • Slack - This serves as your digital HQ where the main action and communication happens between employees and teams.
  • Notion - One of the most popular and versatile documentation and task management tools for remote and hybrid teams.
  • Hubble - A solution that helps hybrid teams find the right balance of remote and office working by providing on-demand access to workspaces.
  • Kosy Office -Offers a range of surprising and innovative remote encounters: from the "virtual hallway" to Game Room, designed to add variety to an employee's day.

A hybrid working model is a great way to make your company more efficient, but the question of which one is best for you depends on what your business needs. There’s no standard procedure that everyone can follow since each workplace has different priorities and requires different things. Consider all of these factors before making any big decisions, and most importantly, do it with a people-first approach.