Interest in hybrid work began long before Coronavirus, yet the pandemic has opened our eyes to the benefits of a most flexible approach. Gallup’s 2016 State of the American Workplace report found 43% of workers spent at least some of their time away from the office. By 2019, 48% said they worked remotely at least one day a week, and 30% did so full-time.
The Coronavirus pandemic has been a catalyst for hybrid work, with remote work necessary for almost all organizations. The Accenture Future of Work Study 2021 found that 83% of people prefer a hybrid work model and as leading organizations make the change, smaller companies should follow suit.
Different organizations are pioneering their own approaches to hybrid work. As a result, there are a range of models to consider when making the step to combine remote and office-based work in an effective way. Let’s look at four key examples of hybrid models that are proven to work by some of the world’s largest organizations.
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1. Office-Centric Hybrid
Office-centric hybrids can be effective for some organizations. Office-centric hybrids expect employees to spend most of their work time in the office. However, there is also scope to work from home or chosen remote locations within the working week.
Companies typically opt for an office-centric hybrid model because of the benefits of colocation for morale and team building. Aerospace giants Lockheed Martin have committed to a 40%+ hybrid model, ensuring their leadership teams are appropriately trained to manage the off-site and remote employees.
The company expects 40-45% of its workplace to go hybrid eventually, and they’ve placed real emphasis on providing management with intensive training to support this model. The nature of their work means some employees are always required on-site, and an office or premises-centric hybrid may be the best approach if your organization requires on-site personnel too.
Similarly, Target’s decision to downsize their large Minneapolis headquarters and provide employees with the option to work remotely also involved many employees relocating across smaller office locations in Minnesota. Large companies may recognize they can operate efficiently without a huge city center hub and instead rely upon smaller regional offices alongside their remote workforce.
2. Remote-Friendly Hybrid
Remote-friendly hybrid models are highly flexible and help employees develop a better work-life balance. Employers play a vital role in creating the right infrastructure to promote and encourage remote work, while employees still have the option of working from the office or on-site when required or preferred. Remote-friendly models usually involve employing some full-time remote workers and those who mix up their working week.
Citigroup has pushed for a more remote-centric approach to their work, with the aim of a 50/50 split between remote working and the office in the future. Their hybrid model currently sees office workers on-site three days of the week, and their CEO, Jane Fraser, has put employee wellness at the forefront of their hybrid model. This includes banning internal video calls on Fridays to promote an improved work-life balance for all employees.
Microsoft is also a leading example of a remote-friendly hybrid model. They allow their employees to work from home for at least half of the working week, with more remote days allowed with manager approval. Their commitment to this hybrid approach even extends to room design. Meeting spaces at Microsoft focus on the people, not just the space, ensuring everyone can have a seat at the table, even if they’re attending virtually.
3. Hybrid Remote Office
Some companies give their employees the freedom to plan their working week with a menu of options available. Hubspot is a recognizable name committed to the hybrid remote office approach. Employees can work fully remotely, flexibly, with some days in the office per week or fully in-office. If enough notice is given, employees can also change their working pattern when required.
This approach is attractive to employees as they can be as flexible as they need. However, issues can arise if there are silos, as it’s common to find management opting for in-office work while the wider team works remotely. To succeed, organizations need to ensure their remote work policies are watertight and everyone feels valued and part of the organization.
4. Remote-First Hybrid
Technology-based organizations naturally fit a remote-first hybrid model. Many leading digital companies rely solely on remote employees. This approach is bold and requires a very different mindset to simply allowing remote work as part of your larger employment policy.
Remote-first companies must build their processes, systems, and culture around a widely dispersed workforce. This usually means utilizing sophisticated technologies and tools to create a connected and communicative workforce who may only meet occasionally or, in some cases, never meet in person at all.
LumApps supports organizations with their communications and employee engagement, helping to ensure they feel connected and productive wherever they are based. Our tools help your business connect with remote employees worldwide and support a remote-first hybrid model, and easily integrate with any hybrid environment.
CEO of eCommerce giants Shopify, Tobi Lutke, confirmed his company’s commitment to being “digital by default” in May 2020. This translates into a remote-first approach to working. Employees at Shopify mainly continue to work remotely post-pandemic, with opportunities to work on-site where necessary in their company offices in Ireland and Canada.
Shifting to a hybrid mindset
The beauty of hybrid work is it can be tweaked to suit your organization. You can trial different models and, most importantly, speak to your employees and gauge what they want from a flexible working arrangement. It’s important to ensure you commit to the right tools to succeed when allowing employees to work remotely. Consider your engagement tactics for the employees no longer in the office. It’s a shift in mentality and mindset, but the return is usually worth the investment.
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