Thinking about making the shift to hybrid work? Here are 6 surprising things you can expect to experience...
Remote work is having a moment right now. Its popularity and adoption have largely been driven by necessity in the past two years.
While remote work is certainly a buzzword that’s making the rounds, the truth is that many companies are opting to combine remote work with traditional office work to create a hybrid workforce as the default model of the future.
Some of the outcomes of hybrid work are obvious: greater flexibility and lower overheads, for instance. However, there are some not-so-obvious outcomes that many company leaders discover once going hybrid.
Whether you’ve already put something in place or are considering a hybrid workforce for your organization, here are six surprising things company leaders experience when switching to a hybrid work model.
6 Surprising Outcomes of Switching to a Hybrid Workforce
1. Employees Become More Engaged and Productive
Some of the most persistent questions that company leaders have are: Does telecommuting improve productivity? Or is it better to have everyone under one roof in the office?
Hybrid work answers “yes” to both.
When considering hybrid work, it’s common for managers to envision the split between remote work and in-office work leading to decreased engagement and productivity.
This is based on the belief that employees who work in disparate locations will by nature become less engaged due to separation. That distance equals disconnection.
However, many company leaders actually find their teams become more productive and engaged after going hybrid. There are generally three reasons behind this sometimes counterintuitive phenomenon.
Firstly, when employee time in the office is reduced to just a few days a week, this spurs them to use it more productively. Knowing they only have limited face-to-face time, they tend to maximize it’s value. It’s scarcity in action.
Secondly, time working from home provides employees access to a distraction-free environment. A place where they aren’t at the mercy of office conversations, impromptu meetings and background noise.
Rather than feeling stifled by spending their whole workweek in the office or isolated solely working remotely, they get the best that a hybrid work model has to offer.
2. Your Hybrid Model Doesn’t Have to Be Set in Stone
When defining a hybrid work structure, company leaders can often obsess over its design.
How many days in a week should employees be in the office?
Who gets to work from home?
Can some employees be entirely remote?
And so on…
These are all important questions to ask. But don’t get caught up on finding the answers to them to a point that it slows your hybrid transition.
The hybrid model you start with on day one doesn’t have to be the same as the one you use years or even months from now. In fact, it’s better if it isn’t. That’s because evolution is a part of the process -- it shows you are learning and optimizing over time.
For example, let’s imagine that you develop a hybrid work model for your marketing team where they spend three days in the office and two days working remotely.
If you’re monitoring remote workers productivity and realize your model is inefficient, switching to a two-day in-office and three-day remote work model may boost overall productivity.
Put simply, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for hybrid work. Instead, you will discover that hybrid work is highly adjustable.
3. Monitoring Productivity Is Equally Important in and Out of the Office
The adoption of remote work brought about an increased use of productivity tools for monitoring remote workers productivity. The initial idea behind their implementation was to ensure that employees were remaining productive while working out of the office.
This is a generally held belief about monitoring tools: they’re only needed for employees who are out of sight in remote environments.
But, when monitoring tools are deployed in a hybrid workforce, something funny often happens. Company leaders realize they are just as important and effective for employees who are in their line of sight as out of it.
In other words, the best productivity management software can be applied to in-office employees with equal effect.
This may come as a surprise to some company leaders because the oft-held perception is that in-office employees can simply be managed with a more manual, “over the shoulder” approach.
Using monitoring tools in a hybrid workforce challenges this notion, though. With further insight from software, it is possible to more effectively manage and monitor staff productivity for employees in and out of the office.
4. Head Offices Aren’t Obsolete
The rise of remote work has prompted predictions of head offices disappearing.
After all, remote work is built on the premise that teams can scrap the office altogether.
But hybrid shows the importance of still having a central headquarters around which your team is built.
Some company leaders may relish the opportunity to ditch the rent and overheads of an office through remote work. However, hybrid work pushes back on these benefits with counter-benefits of maintaining a company HQ.
There are actually quite a few reasons why maintaining a central headquarters is important, including:
- Training employees remotely can be difficult, making the office an essential place for onboarding or training employees.
- A physical workspace gives employees the chance to build a rapport with others, which can foster greater collaboration.
- You can boost employee morale by offering them a positive workspace, hosting events, and rewarding employees publicly for their work.
- It gives employees who don’t actually want to work remotely the option to work from a fixed location.
Going hybrid allows you to downsize your office footprint and streamline your business activities while still retaining the best elements of an office space.
The potential cost savings can prompt a desire to ditch the office entirely.
But, as you can see, a central HQ still has a role to play.
5. There Really Is No Replacement for Office Serendipity
When you have staff working in and out of the office, it’s essentially a living experiment in the mechanics of the workplace. With two distinct yet connected cohorts of employees, it allows you to study behavior in real time as you’re monitoring remote workers productivity.
One surprise that many company leaders discover is that even with all the advanced communications and collaboration tools available, there's nothing like the ideas, breakthroughs and aha moments that come from encounters in the office
No matter how smoothly a Zoom session is moving, you simply can’t replace the energy and collaboration that comes with an in-person brainstorming session.
With a hybrid workforce, you don’t have to replace office serendipity. Having the capacity to spend time physically alongside colleagues in the office keeps it alive. The hallway chat that leads to the next big idea, overheard suggestion, or coming together across departments can still happen when a part-time office presence is maintained.
6. Time Is Used More Productively in a Hybrid Model
A hybrid work model can make employees more conscious about how they use their time. This can be beneficial for staff productivity in the office and remote employee productivity.
Hybrid work encourages employees to reflect more on how they use their time for a few reasons.
Firstly, employees who are split between office and remote are more likely to work different hours, requiring greater thought about the times that team mates are available. Plus, as mentioned earlier, employees are motivated to make the most of face-to-face time in the office, and distraction-free time at home.
An increase in productivity while working from home also makes employees take stock of the impact of meetings that more regularly occur in the office, which are often a cause of lost productivity.
A hybrid model allows you to reduce meetings by reserving them primarily to the portion of time spent in the office.
The reality is that, once they are reduced, employees realize that meetings are less necessary than typically believed. And once this realization is had, employees become more conscious of time spent in meetings, and whether it could be better used.
Simply, when meetings happen less often, productivity while working remotely and, in turn, office-based productivity go up. And this can be easily verified with the best productivity management software.
Hybrid Work: The Best of Remote and the Office
Despite the growing popularity of remote work, employers shouldn’t throw out traditional office work just yet. A mixture of distraction-free remote work and collaborative socialization in the office offers the perfect environment for many modern teams.
If you have made the shift to hybrid work already, you may have come across the surprises above. Or, if you are considering the switch, they may help confirm your decision!
Either way, there’s no doubt hybrid work brings with it benefits that neither remote nor in-office work can deliver alone. The degree to which you experience these benefits depends, in part, on how effectively you manage your hybrid workforce.
You can make this easier with the best productivity management software for hybrid work, like Insightful.