Hybrid working has a lot of evident advantages, and employees clearly like the flexibility it gives. It's simple for things to grow untidy without careful preparation and regular monitoring. With that said, below is the ultimate guide to implementing a successful hybrid work model.
Discuss Hybrid Work With Your Team
Before you can consider if hybrid working might be beneficial to your organization, you need first to determine whether your employees actually want it. A lot of people enjoy being able to work from home on a permanent or semi-permanent basis, but there is a sizable contingent of workers out there who enjoy the office and consider it an important part of their day-to-day lives. Office relationships are important, and they tend to deteriorate quickly once people no longer have that face-to-face contact.
Start by polling your employees to discover how they would split their time between home and the office if you switched to a hybrid working model. Keep track of any questions they ask or potential stumbling obstacles, and think about how you'd handle them.
If you're satisfied that hybrid working will benefit both your employees and your company after hearing from them, trial it for at least six months before making it a permanent feature. Prepare to respond and make modifications as needed, and check-in with your employees on a frequent basis to verify that the new arrangement isn't affecting their performance or well-being. Make sure they have the information and tools to succeed in a hybrid arrangement.
Make Sure a Role is Actually Hybrid Appropriate
Consider each of your company's roles and divisions, as well as how they function, before implementing any hybrid plan. For certain departments, having some employees work in the office while others work from home is simply not feasible, and it may even be more disruptive than having everyone do the same thing.
Consider each department's day-to-day operations: would a team split between their residences and the workplace be conducive to work? Would each team be able to function successfully if all but one of its members worked from home? If there is a function or department for which hybrid working isn't feasible, this should be made clear to the employees concerned before any announcement is made.
Have a Well-Thought-Out Hybrid Work Policy
Your management and HR teams should sit down and write exactly how the hybrid working scheme will operate, as well as what is and isn't expected of your employees in hybrid jobs.
There are some crucial considerations that should go into a policy. If hybrid working will be the norm or if employees would have to seek it; which jobs are suitable for working in a hybrid environment? How employees should communicate where they will be working on a daily basis; how will workstations be claimed or assigned if hot-desking is used? Will you have restrictions on the number of days spent at home or at work?
Your employees will need to formally agree to this policy before they begin dividing their time between home and the workplace once you've written it down in black and white. This is one of the best ways to ensure fairness and minimize letdowns and surprises.
Always Hold Meetings Online
If individuals of your team aren't going into the office alone, it's easy for them to feel disadvantaged or left out of important decisions. As a result, all meetings (save those where everyone is physically present in the office) should be held online as long as hybrid working is permitted at your organization.
This will appear strange at first, especially if numerous team members are in the same room, and you'll need to buy in some high-quality headphones and microphones to reduce echo. However, if you want to keep people in the loop and avoid home-working employees from feeling left out, you'll need to have meetings online.
Focus on Mental Health
When employees work from home, it's more difficult to tell if they're experiencing stress, anxiety, or burnout. It is well worth investing in mental health first aid training for your whole staff, in addition to organizing frequent one-on-one meetings with your team members to assess how they're doing.
Mental health first aid training will educate your employees on not only how to properly care for their own mental health but also what signs to look for if a member of their team requires additional assistance. Best of all, this training may be completed fully online, making it suitable for employees who work from home and those who work in offices.
For both businesses and workers, hybrid working comes with a number of advantages. It's an extension of flexible working, allowing employees to work in the environment that suits them best, reducing expensive commutes and saving employers tens of thousands of pounds in rent and power fees.
Hybrid work can also come with a variety of difficulties. Communication is crucial, both in terms of developing a hybrid working arrangement that works for everyone and in terms of maintaining your company's culture once it's implemented. Keep the above strategies and steps in mind, and you stand a much better chance of establishing a healthy, sustainable hybrid model that works for all stakeholders.