A hybrid work model is a flexible arrangement for businesses. With this model, certain employees work from home or remotely, while others work in person.
This flexibility can make it easy for businesses to attract talent and manage employees while also cutting costs and reducing the spread of illness.
However, there are certain traps that can occur when adopting a hybrid model.
In this article, we will discuss what these common traps are (such as device security and managing remote productivity) and offer solutions for these issues.
First Step Remote, Then Hybrid
The COVID-19 pandemic has made working from home less of a futuristic prediction and more of a reality. Now, Zoom meetings and Slack channels are the new normal with no end in sight.
In fact, forty-two percent of U.S. workers are now working from home full time, according to a Stanford research study. This accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity.
Many large corporations have announced that they will allow more workers to continue working from home post-pandemic, including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Despite Some Predictions, The Office Will Continue to Exist
It doesn’t appear in-person office spaces will be disappearing anytime soon.
Many business leaders say in-person work will always have a big role to play in how companies operate. It seems clear that most companies won’t be going fully remote anytime soon, but also evident that remote work will only continue to grow in popularity.
Now that employees expect the option to work remotely yet company leaders still want in-person offices, hybrid working models look to be the way of the future.
Companies can use the prospect of working from home to attract wider talent while still operating from a centralized location.
The Benefits Of Hybrid Work
There are many benefits of hybrid work for both employees and employers.
First of all, it’s what many employees want. They want the flexibility of remote work, but still seek the in-person connectedness of an office on a part-time basis.
Besides the demand for hybrid work from employees, there are many other benefits, including:
- Employees can choose when to work based on when they are most productive.
- Opportunities for staff to achieve work-life balance are helped by hybrid arrangements
- Both employers and employees save money on real estate, office space, transportation, and other expenses.
- Employees are no longer location-dependent, meaning companies can hire skilled workers beyond borders.
- Eliminating any potential COVID-safety concerns associated with going back to in-person work
Four Traps Of Hybrid Work (And How To Avoid Them)
Despite the many benefits of the hybrid working model, there are potential downsides.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common traps involved with the hybrid working model along with actionable tips on how to avoid them.
Trap #1 - Zoom Meeting Overkill
There’s no denying that Zoom has exploded in popularity since the beginning of the pandemic.
With employees now working from home, many employers have started over-using Zoom and other online virtual video conferencing.
Zoom meeting overkill.
Here are three ways to prevent overkill to allow for maximum employee satisfaction and productivity:
- Avoid daily meetings -- only schedule meetings if they are absolutely necessary and cannot be an email or phone call.
- Don’t include employees in meetings who do not need to be there.
- Try not to make every meeting serious -- allow employees to engage in chit-chat and personal talk like they would in a normal office.
Trap #2 - Maintaining Company Culture
A major aspect of in-person work is company culture.
Now, with remote work on the rise, many businesses are worried about the livelihood of company culture. And this extends to hybrid work arrangements.
This concern for company culture is a big reason why many company leaders still believe in the importance of in-person offices and headquarters. And that employees should maintain some in-person relationship with the company and their colleagues.
Without some level of in-person contact, some company leaders worry about the livelihood of company culture.
In order to maintain company culture while balancing remote work, here’s what to do:
- Enhance communication whenever possible (this means establishing etiquette, setting standards, inviting feedback, etc.).
- Allow opportunities for socializing (this means setting up virtual social hours, opening up space for employee-to-employee discussion, fun video meetings, etc.).
- Focus on improving company culture (always look for new ways to improve company culture among your remote workers, the same way you would with in-person work).
Trap #3 - Security of Devices
In a hybrid model, device security can be an issue. With employees coming and going from the office and using multiple devices, data security needs to be considered with even more emphasis.
Instead of ensuring security over office computers and phones, employers now have to protect the security of sensitive company data or information from afar.
Naturally, security is and will continue to be a major issue with the hybrid model.
However, here are some ways enterprise teams and businesses can help avoid any potential security risk involving devices:
- Implement the use of work laptops (separate from personal laptops).
- Instruct employees to use private wifi only (no public wifi).
- Encrypt all email data so unintended recipients will not be able to view sensitive info.
- Inform employees of the importance of never leaving personal devices or laptops unsecured or in areas where they can be stolen.
Trap #4 - Slipping Employee Productivity
Tracking remote workers productivity became a big focus for managers everywhere during the pandemic. And, productivity of remote workers will continue to be so in a hybrid work model.
With both in-person and remote working employees, determining productivity becomes even more complex -- and the likelihood of productivity slippages higher.
The key to maximizing workday productivity when your team is split in a hybrid work model is to look at your data separately for in-office and remote employees. You should be able to distinctly see office team productivity and remote team productivity.
By measuring and analyzing productivity and efficiency at work in a segmented way, you will be able to see when and where your employees do their most productive work. Then, adjust the structure of your hybrid model accordingly.
How To Track Hybrid Team Productivity
Despite the many advantages of the hybrid working model for both employees and employers, there are, like any system, downsides and traps that you need to be aware of and prepare for.
The four traps we’ve included in this article are some of the common traps associated with this working model. To mitigate the risks of these traps, businesses should take active measures, starting with the tips above.