The pandemic has changed the world. But one change for the better is that companies have realized the potential of remote working. This is perfect, as many employees aren’t eager to head back to the office, emphasizing just how much their work-life balance has improved. Companies are also seeing that a business is just as manageable from home as from the office. Naturally, some employees want to keep coming to the office to meet their coworkers and enjoy some watercooler chats. So, to get the best of both worlds, a third option offering a middle ground is on the rise: the hybrid workplace.
The Benefits of Downsizing Your Workspace
While life returned to a version of its former self after COVID-19 and the various lockdowns that came along with it, the way we work is never going to be the same. The numbers speak for themselves: 64% of the workforce would consider quitting if asked to come back to the office full time. Working remotely could have easily backfired, with people not being able to focus on their work, but the opposite is happening: about 64% of remote workers are more productive when working from the comfort of their homes.
If workers are as efficient at home as in the office, this means companies don’t need as much office space, reducing their outgoing expenses such as rent and electricity. These costs also decrease if the company no longer has to provide commuter benefits – such as parking or corporate shuttles. Even equipment can become redundant, creating an excellent opportunity for a company to go completely paperless. All in all, costs shrink significantly with remote work.
Although everything can be managed from a living room, it’s certainly beneficial for companies to keep up at least a small office for situations that require physical presence – such as receiving deliveries or meeting clients. It can also improve team members’ happiness, as they can come to the office to meet their coworkers when feeling lonely from working from home for too long. This way, many businesses have created hybrid work environments, where employees have a mix of working at the office and from home.
How To Go Hybrid
Managing a hybrid workplace is a bit more complicated than a remote or onsite one. However, productivity can grow considerably with the right work policies. The first step is to ensure that the legal side of your business is in order so that the new approach doesn’t clash with the old. For example, the term ‘workday’ may need to be redefined, as the regular 9 to 5 work schedule may disappear with hybrid work. Consequently, contracts need to be overhauled to specify how flexible the working hours can be.
Naturally, establishing a hybrid workplace requires a lot of organization. You won’t be able to interact the same way – that is, by walking to someone’s desk – so it’s essential to provide communication channels through the appropriate software. You’ll also need to keep an eye on your team members’ schedules to know when they’re available as well as when they may be working from home. Plus, you need to make sure your remote workers are in the loop of any decisions made face to face.
Protection is vital in all modern workplaces, but it is especially relevant with a remote office. Roommates or family members living with the remote worker will likely share their computer, and it’s possible someone might accidentally stumble across sensitive company information. To avoid this, provide work devices to your team members – optionally with a time-tracking app like Hubstaff pre-installed – and encourage them to protect their computer with a strong password. A significant benefit to the hybrid setup is that they can go to the office and have the company administrator configure their computer’s security.
Advice for Hybrid Workplaces
Something to remember is that if you opt for flexible hours, don’t expect the workday to look the same. Employees have had a taste of a better work-life balance and may have started experimenting, with some becoming night owls and others early birds. While some coworkers in a hybrid workplace will still work 9 to 5, others may prefer a wide range of schedules. This may affect the work pace and organization. Fortunately, there is a wide range of tools to choose from to help you automatize and manage this new way of functioning. In other words, sticking to a tight schedule on time-sensitive projects doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing your workforce’s newfound flexibility. With the right solutions, you can maximize productivity and streamline workflow even when running a hybrid workplace.