In a recent social media poll we ran, 49% of participants said they preferred some sort of hybrid model of work, this aligns with many of the statistics we are seeing about what the future of work looks like. The days of fully 100% in-office work are no longer the preference for many professionals, especially younger generations who are entering the workforce. So how do we make it work, while still ensuring that employees are connected, projects don’t slip through the cracks, sustainable budgets are maintained, and a host of other valid concerns are brought up when considering remote and hybrid work models?
Hybrid Work Models
What does it mean to create a hybrid model of work within your organization? The truth is, it isn’t a one size fits all for incorporating hybrid opportunities, it is a find the size that fits your organization and your employees best. Simply put it just means that a working environment will include in-office and remote options and opportunities for employees.
Many organizations implemented models like this long before the pandemic, but as a society, we saw it quickly grow in popularity as organizations were forced to implement remote work. As opportunities within the workforce began to shift and evolve, employees were given a chance to identify their preference for getting the work done.
Studies have shown that although many workers prefer to have an almost entirely remote work environment, there are still many who value being able to occasionally go into a physical office space and mingle with coworkers. One interesting find among a variety of these surveys is that more than 74% of Gen Z prefer interacting with colleagues face-to-face, followed by Baby Boomers (68%), and Gen Xers (66%). However, Gen Z tends to rank higher among workers who prefer more remote and hybrid options when looking for work.
If workers have a bigger preference for hybrid models of work, why is there still hesitation to implement this across more organizations? Many decision-makers struggle with figuring out the model that fits them the best and can perhaps satisfy a variety of preferences. Two of the biggest concerns that I have heard from many of the smaller organizations I have worked with is:
- Our employees will not be as productive and we will not be able to monitor their work as effectively if they are not 100% in the office 100% of the time.
- This doesn’t seem like a sound financial plan for our company.
Honestly these two concerns, in my opinion, go hand in hand and actually says more about leadership styles than it does about creating a sustainable hybrid working model. Some organizations that opted to keep remote and hybrid opportunities after the pandemic have said that it actually turned out to SAVE them money as they were perhaps not having to pay as much for building, staffing, utility, etc expenses. Other organizations used the opportunity to reinvent the wheel of work and create a system and a model that really raised the bar in terms of the future of work and what that will look like. These thought leaders took perhaps what some might think of as a risk and made financial investments in creating only remote work opportunities or creating a hybrid model that had never been considered before and they have seen a huge shift in employee engagement for the better!
4 Key Considerations Before Shifting Your Current Work Model
1.Leadership has to work together
Ensuring that the organization is clear about the purpose and that all those in leadership positions are in alignment with how this work model will enhance and inspire the purpose is essential.
2.Embrace the change
When investing in a new or fresh way of doing something, there will be some standard new learning grounds and needed changes. This could mean an adaptation of roles within the people who work at your organization or even an adaptation of technology or systems that you use that enhance the purpose of your organization and hopefully make things easier for staff.
3.Employee Investment and Feedback
Rather than creating a new model of work and dictating that this is how things will be done, take a step back and talk with your employees about their preferences, their ideas, and what you can do as an organization to support their work and productivity. Taking time to hear from your employees will enhance the culture of your organization in a positive way.
4.Investment in Workspace and Systems
Implementing hybrid work opportunities means that you have to have the infrastructure and the needed technology to make it happen. Invest in updated technology and software for your employees that can support a state-of-the-art digital workspace.
Hybrid work models may not be for every organization, and that is okay, but if you are on the fence about what the future of work looks like for your organization, be sure to check out how Engagez has worked to help many organizations redefine what the future of looks like for them.