Technology has drastically changed the way we work. The new normal is that employees are working remotely from their homes and there are still many who are asked to work in a proper office setting.
This idea of hybrid workplace allows employees to have the best of both worlds. He can enjoy flexibility of working from home and discipline of working in traditional office.
According to study by Wakefield Research, 48% of potential workers are of the opinion that they would prefer working remotely for some days and would attend office for some days.
For some people, this may be a welcomed change, but for others, it can be difficult to balance work and home life. As technology continues to evolve, there are more and more ways to create a hybrid
workplace that can accommodate both your professional and personal needs.
What is a Hybrid Workplace?
The hybrid workplace is the workplace where employees are given flexibility to work remotely either from their home or any other workspace or in office.
It gives the flexibility of working from home and in office time located by days or by teams depending on the work need.
IBM was among the early adopters of hybrid workplace model when in 2011 they offered their employees the option to work from home. Many of their employees opted this flexible working model and it boosted 13% of their productivity. Today 40% of IBM employees are working remotely.
Many organizations across the globe adopted hybrid workplace model during recent Covid-19 pandemic. Though Covid related restrictions are being lifted day by day but hybrid workplace model is going to stay and become a permanent feature of organizational culture.
Microsoft has announced that their employees can work remotely half a work week. Facebook and many other corporate giants are allowing their employees to work remotely or opt for hybrid working.
Benefits of Hybrid Workplace
There are many benefits of hybrid workplace. Some benefits include:
Hybrid work gives flexibility to employees. With this flexibility they can decide whether they want to work in early morning or in late night. They can create their own work environment as per their own requirement and need.
All of these things ultimately contribute to productivity. Employees become more empowered and they know better when they are more productive, when they should take rest and when they should eat.
Offices are generally noisy. And there are distractions which negatively affect focus of employees. When people sitting next to your desk are talking then it is difficult for you to focus on your work.
By working from home or any other place of your choice, you can eliminate these distractions and focus on your task at hand.
The main stress associated with traditional working is pressure of daily commuting.
With hybrid workplace you can take breaks whenever you need and eliminating the commute time. This can be especially helpful if you work long hours or have a long commute.
More time for family
One of the best things about having a hybrid workplace is that you have more time to spend with your family. When you are working in an office, you are often away from home for long periods.
But, when you work from home, you can take care of personal errands or simply relax at home without feeling guilty. With hybrid workplace an employee can easily balance his/her personal and professional life.
Hybrid working helps employees minimize their costs and save extra money.
With a hybrid workplace you don’t have to spend money on gas or transportation, and you can save on food costs by eating lunch at home.
Reduced organizational cost
If an organization adopts hybrid workplace model, then it needs less space for office. Such organizations can operate through sharing workspace. Overall operational cost i.e Utilities bills office supplies, overhead is reduced when small number of employees are present at office
Another benefit is that employees are more engaged and satisfied with flexibility of hybrid working. And this results into less turnover which also reduce organizational cost.
More Human Resource available
Organizations usually prefer to hire human resource based in their city. If they hire someone from other city, it has some additional cost for organizations. They have to negotiate extra allowance or benefits such as house rent.
Hybrid workplace model allow organizations to hire human resource not only from other cities but also from other country. It gives organization a wider choice to hire someone who is most relevant to a job.
Hybrid work also has huge environmental benefits. When less workers coming into their offices each day or travel overseas for business, it will decrease traffic congestion, air and noise pollution.
Traditional offices produce more waste i.e paper, packaging material and left-over food. This kind of waste can be significantly reduced when there are less people present at offices.
How to Create Hybrid Workplace
There are many ways to create a hybrid workplace. Some things you may want to consider include:
1. Formulate Policy for Hybrid Workplace
The first step is to formulate a proper organizational policy for hybrid working. A good policy outlines who would fully opt for remote working and who is allowed to have half of work week days.
Employees have different preferences and expectations and nature of job. Therefore, it is important to formulate a policy to avoid any conflict and create smooth sailing for everyone. A good hybrid working policy must have schedules, process, approval process and communication mechanism.
2. Communicate regularly with your coworkers
In hybrid workplace, employees spend less time in their office and work together with their colleagues. They have limited opportunity to check in at each other’s desks, or chat in the break room to stay up to date. This means they need to find other ways of effective communication.
Make sure to communicate with your coworkers regularly. This will help keep everyone in the loop and prevent any misunderstandings.
3. Set up meeting spaces
Traditional offices usually have one board or conference room where a group of people sit together and hold a meeting. But in hybrid workplace, meeting culture has been changed and now small meeting spaces, huddle spaces and privacy booth are required in offices.
Now when there are more remote meetings and group of people are connected through audio or video conference tools so there is no need of conference room. Only small meeting spaces are required where individuals can connect to meeting without distractions.
4. Install audio and video conferencing tools
With increase demand in remote meetings, hybrid workplace need not only meeting spaces but also equipped with updated audio and video conferencing tools and devices.
Now a days high tech audio and video conferencing tools are available. These tools offer an effective communication experience and they help employee stay focused and productive.
5. Use online collaboration tools
Another important feature of hybrid workplace is collaboration tools which are available online.
These tools allow employees to organize their work, communicate in real time and make changes in working documents. This collaboration enhances productivity of team through automating certain tasks and making work process easier.
There are many online tools available for collaboration such as Slack, Google Workspace, Trello.
6. Make Paperless Workplace
Gone are the days when paper was extensively used at workplace. It takes lot of space to keep files and also time of preparing and maintaining these files.
Now a days, digital storage and the cloud have replaced the old filing and record keeping practices.
Hybrid workplace need digital storage where information is stored in the cloud and every employee has access to documents anytime and anywhere. Therefore, this is a must-feature of a hybrid workplace so organizations should invest and provide these resources available to their employees.