A recent survey of Docket users found that 65% of company leaders plan to work from the office only a few times a week while mostly managing their team remotely. As companies and organizations navigate the transition back to working in offices, many are weighing the benefits of remote and hybrid work.
Hybrid work is seen as the best of both worlds as employees can enjoy office culture on some days and the flexibility of working from home on others. Here are three aspects organizations should consider before adopting a hybrid policy.
Communication Policies and Procedures
By far, the most common pitfall in remote and hybrid work is a lack of communication. Writing a clear policy can help employees determine how to approach problems when they can’t just lean over their desk and ask — or pop into someone’s office for a quick chat.
In many ways, hybrid workplaces can make communication more complex than a fully remote environment. In hybrid working, there’s a level of uncertainty. Do you wait until you’re both in the office to communicate? Or do you send a message now? When will you be in the office together again?
This highlights the importance of consistency in hybrid vs remote communication. As long as all communications are going through the same inter-office system, whether it’s MS Teams or Slack, it won’t matter whether people are hybrid, remote, or in-office. The hybrid workforce needs clarity when they should communicate in-person and when an email will suffice.
Remote workers, of course, never come in; scheduling isn’t difficult. Hybrid working has an additional level of complexity. But the hybrid work environment has a lot of benefits.
In hybrid workplaces, scheduling can be staggered. If you have 20 desks and 40 employees, it doesn’t matter; different employees work at different times. This hybrid office concept enables companies to maintain far smaller brick-and-mortar facilities than they would otherwise be able to.
But care has to be taken to facilitate work within the hybrid office. Do certain employees or teams need to be scheduled together? Is it more effective to have specific departments working together? How much flexibility is given to employees? If all employees want to work, for instance, on Friday rather than Monday, how is this balanced within your hybrid office model?
There are systems for managing schedules, but it may still take some time to figure out the method that works best for your organization. You will need policies and procedures in place regarding when employees can schedule and how much flexibility they have — and it may need to be on a first-come-first-serve basis. At the same time, you also need to consider your customers, vendors, partners, and the people they will need access to when they come in.
Getting the Right Technology
As noted previously, technology is fundamental to communication. When going hybrid vs. remote, technology becomes even more essential. Not only is nearly everything being done digitally, but in-office workers need to be on the same footing as remote workers.
The communication system is the most important. Where will people hold their meetings for hybrid teams? Within hybrid meetings, will remote employees need more technology in their homes? Can meetings be done easily with clients and vendors?
Document management systems are also critical to a flexible workplace. Systems like Office 365 make it possible for colleagues to work on documents without fear of overwriting data, collaborating both in real-time and with employees who might not even be in the same timezone. A flex work environment also requires specialized tools, such as time clocks and scheduling systems, to handle the hybrid and in-office differential.
When it comes to flex work, technology is going to be the make-or-break system. Remotely, everyone is already operating on the same footing. In a hybrid office, though, some people may be able to utilize in-office technology, whereas others may be at home, with slower connections, or with different systems. Moving to the cloud is often the solution, as this is an equalizer that ensures that everyone can achieve true productivity.
Going Hybrid vs. Remote
While there are some complexities to going hybrid rather than fully remote, there are many advantages, too. Many offices can’t function in a fully remote model; it’s just not feasible. Some in-person meetings have to be held, and some face-to-face discussions have to occur. But if you can create a hybrid office, you get the benefits of both in-office work and remote work. Employees are able to get the flexibility that they need while also being able to thrive and grow together.