A Blend of In-Office and Work-from-Home Could Be Right For Your Business
A recent survey from Gallup, a reputable American data and polling company, revealed that American workers prefer hybrid work environments over fully remote or on-site schedules. Almost 60 percent of surveyed employees indicated they think a hybrid work schedule is the best.
Hybrid offices give employees the best of both worlds. For the most part, team members work remotely offsite, usually from home, but they come into the office on certain days of the week. In-office days give employees the chance to collaborate face-to-face with team members and build camaraderie, while also providing the flexibility the workforce craves.
But it isn’t easy to create a hybrid work schedule that is functional for everyone in your organization. It requires substantial planning and change management strategies. Consider these factors when creating and finalizing your hybrid schedule.
Choose In-Office Days
What makes hybrid, hybrid is that some working days are spent in the office, while others are remote. Determining which days will function as each is one of the earliest decisions you may make.
For some companies, everyone works in the office on the same days of the week. Other companies bring in only certain teams on set days. And still others divide their departments and bring in a mix from across the company on a given day. Some companies have opted to change it up every quarter, while others find the consistency works better.
You know your business the best, but if you want the most honest input, turn to your managers and individual contributors. Sometimes asking your employees what they prefer is the best way to choose in-office days.
Shake Things Up With Seating
One of the great opportunities from having both hybrid and remote work days is that you can convert your office space into a cozy setting with flexible seating options, so no one needs to sit at the same desk every day.
This intermingling helps to build community, as your employees may end up sitting near someone new each time they’re in the office.
Of course, if your operations require privacy, it may work better to maintain office spaces and assigned seating.
Provide the Goods
The shift from on-site to remote to hybrid work requires thought with regard to the equipment your employees need to do their jobs. Take inventory of the computers, monitors, keyboards, and other office tech you already have, and ensure each team member is well equipped, regardless of where they work.
This may mean buying duplicate computer monitors for team members who use company-owned ones in their home office, but still need one when they come to work in the office. Similarly, you may want to provide keyboards and computer mice at every desk, so your team members don’t need to carry their own in each week.
Listen to Your Teams
A massive undertaking like transitioning to a hybrid office environment requires leadership to set their egos and ideas aside in lieu of listening to the people most affected by the decision: your employees.
Be open to taking feedback about what is working and what isn’t, and consider ways things can change if necessary.
A transition doesn’t go smoothly without employee buy-in, and allowing them to voice their opinions and doing something to meet their needs is vital to maintaining relationships and slowing attrition.
Work with a Change Manager
A professional change manager helps ensure change initiatives – like a change in work locations and schedules – are adopted and completed on time and on budget. They are skilled project managers and people managers. Without a professional change manager to guide your transition, it’s less likely to go smoothly.
You may be able to hire a change management consultant for your office transition – or you can rely on one of your own seasoned change management experts to help guide you. Consider change management strategies like creating and displaying a roadmap of where your organization is and where you’d like it to go; communicating the right amount; involving employees in decision-making; identifying change leaders throughout your organization and empowering them to motivate others; and monitoring and measuring the success of the initiative.
Leading by example is one of the best ways you can help keep your employees engaged, motivated, and content at work.
By speaking positively about the ways the hybrid office benefits the company, highlighting the perks for team members, and remaining flexible, you can do your part in managing the transition.