A hybrid workplace is one where some employees work in a central location (or locations) while others work remotely. Still others will split their time between in-office and remote work. This type of arrangement has become increasingly more common after COVID began and, in many cases, there are employees returning to work as the pandemic is becoming less severe—but, in other companies, not all of the employees will return to a traditional workplace.
The hybrid concept is a popular work model today, one used by 63 percent of high-growth companies, according to a 2022 report. Focusing on a healthy and productive workforce, the data reveals, is more important than where someone is working. Said another way, 69 percent of companies that aren’t growing—or demonstrate negative growth—do not embrace a hybrid workforce, preferring all on-site or all remote workers.
Plenty of configurations exist for successful hybrid workplaces today, and this post will offer guidance on transitioning to the one you’ve chosen.
As the Harvard Business Review points out, there are three underlying issues to consider when designing your hybrid structure: productivity, staffing, and culture. Gather input from stakeholders in the decision about the:
See how different people in the organization prioritize productivity, staffing, and culture, and have conversations about how to most effectively achieve all three aspects in hybrid workplaces.
In some companies, work is synchronous. In other words, the remote and in-person staff may, for example, work from nine to five, Monday through Friday, with a lunch break at noon. Others work asynchronously. In this case, a remote employee may need to simply put in forty hours within a work week and be available for scheduled meetings.
None of these systems, in and of themselves, are “good” or “bad.” Instead, your company will need to decide how your hybrid workplace will operate, and make expectations clear. Be open to feedback and adjust accordingly.
When you hold meetings, will remote employees be required to come on site? If so, is this always the case or only for more significant ones? When people will join meetings remotely, consider what technologies you’ll use and ensure that everyone is familiar with them. Will you need to provide new software applications to remote employees?
Decide how you will communicate about daily issues outside of meetings. You may decide that emails or texts will serve as the primary mode of communication—or an application like Skype or Slack. Make sure everyone knows the protocols. Also consider having a time period in which someone should respond to a more typical message and how quickly urgent requests should be addressed.
Ensure, too, that remote/hybrid employees get information as seamlessly as in-office ones. Check in with remote employees regularly, especially at first, to make sure they feel in the loop.
With a hybrid workplace, fewer workstations will be needed on a daily basis. So, it can make sense to reconfigure physical spaces to suit the current situation. Perhaps the space was once quite crowded. Now you can space out the workstations or use part of the space for an employee lounge—wherever your priorities take you.
If your workplace will have employees who work remotely part of the time and in-office the rest, will they still have their own workstations? Or will there be a sharing arrangement in which hybrid employees take turns using office space? Each company will have unique requirements and solutions.
If you need the help of an office moving company to plan and reconfigure your space, please contact us. We’re highly experienced in helping businesses make these changes to optimize their workplaces.
In some cases, businesses may find that the buildings they own or lease are now too big for their needs. In that case, let our office movers know and we can configure your new space in ways that you’ve chosen for your hybrid workplace in its new location and move your belongings.
Referring to another Harvard Business Review resource, as decisions are being made about who will and won’t be returning to work, in office, “rethink the open place.” Over the past few decades, workstations have become more open and tightly placed together. Meetings, meanwhile, are held in enclosed conference spaces.
As you reconfigure layouts, consider switching this idea around. Individual work can be done in “enclosed spaces like pods or small enclaves” where people can concentrate more effectively. Then, when a group meeting takes place, use open spaces that can agiley morph, depending on who needs to participate. What’s required for that: furniture that can be flexibly used with tech that’s easy to access.
Don’t expect your initial transition to a hybrid workplace to be perfectly planned and executed. (If so, good for you!). This can be a big transition, especially if your company didn’t permit remote or hybrid working in the past.
So, check in with management and employees alike—remote and in-office—to see what’s working well and what’s not. When people mention challenges, ask them how they’d like to see the problem solved; it’s likely that plenty of great ideas will come from brainstorming solutions.
At these sessions, it’s easy to focus on the problems that need to be solved. So, be sure to ask remote workers if they feel as though they’re more productive at home. If so, what suggestions can they offer other remote and hybrid workers? Does having a better work-life balance allow them to contribute more to the workplace? How can this be quantified?
Also factor in how your company can now hire people from a much broader geographical area and how people with mild illnesses can still continue to work without spreading it to someone who might become more ill.
Incorporate the best suggestions from your evaluations and then schedule a future reevaluation. You’ll likely have solved many of the problems and understand how to continue to move forward to optimize the hybrid workplace arrangement.
Doublecheck to ensure that you’re providing remote and hybrid workers with the resources they need to be successful and continue to contribute to your company. Encourage those workers to share ideas and collaborate on projects with others to keep them engaged with your workplace.
If you discover that remote workers have communication preferences that differ from what you originally set up, consider them. The idea is to find a hybrid workplace structure and culture that works best, not simply sticking to the original plan.
Recognize and reward the work of remote and hybrid workers as much as you would an in-person employee, and be respectful of their time. Don’t, for example, tell remote workers about a meeting at the last minute when in-office employees have known about it for a week.
Some of your employees may already be well versed in how to work remotely and may have a home office already set up. Others may want and appreciate remote work but not yet know all of the ins and outs to successfully do so. For example, LinkedIn provides resources to help employees with this transition and you can create your own that are more specific to your company. The time and effort that you put into helping your team make this transition will pay off when they successfully contribute to your business.
If your transition to a hybrid model requires reconfigurations of office space or moving to a different building, it’s important to choose experienced office movers. That said, there are other vital issues to consider that other office moving companies may not know about or offer as services.
Suddath is a highly experienced office moving company, going above and beyond to help your business to reduce cost and risk throughout your transition. We’ll:
During the planning, we can also help you to decide how to set up new office space in a way that is flexible enough to accommodate more employees returning to work.
Plus, of course, we help you to move and reconfigure office furniture, electronics, equipment, and more. To discuss your needs and how our office movers can help, please contact us today.