The hybrid working model means the companies allow their employees to work remotely or in the office as and when they wish. Several organizations are shifting to a hybrid model with no sign of returning to the good old 9-5, five days/ week, any time soon.
While the hybrid model has various advantages for the employee and the business, it is also essential to recognize hybrid work challenges, too, to be able to find a proper structure and make it work.
Due to a few challenges, some companies need help implementing a hybrid working model effectively. Let us look at the benefits and challenges of hybrid working with solutions to overcome them and why it is set to become the norm for the future.
Benefits Of Choosing A Hybrid Working Model
Several organizations apply the hybrid working model since it provides various benefits and a mix-and-match approach. Every company has its reasons for choosing a hybrid working model. Below mentioned reasons are a few of them.
Focusing On Employee Well-being
Working from home, whether full-time or part-time, has become the norm. Many staff members have preferred their well-being and family as a significant perk. Employers have observed a reduction in sick days and a boost in overall morale.
Many companies have shifted the office to smaller units, paying much less rent than previous larger office spaces. For employees, a reduction in travel time and costs is a huge bonus, specifically for those who spend nearly half their working hours at home.
Deliverables As A KPI
The older work model measured performance by assessing who sat most at their desks. But remote working eliminates the physical element.
Now, performance KPIs can be measured by delivery times and results. Hybrid work means that productivity is based on outcomes instead of behaviors, giving managers a much more precise output.
Bigger Talent Pool
Hybrid work models opened the hiring criteria to be more inclusive than before. Job openings can now attract talented employees from far and wide, which is only possible with the hybrid model.
It also opened roles to candidates who need flexibility due to childcare or other reasons. Now, companies can hire the best talent with the chance to make their working hours, which can also boost staff retention.
Hybrid Work Challenges
Hybrid work can vary by team, department, or organization. Various roles come with varying levels of expectation for an on-site presence.
Below are some of the most common hybrid work challenges and ways to address them to ensure that hybrid work becomes easier for everyone.
1) Employee Burnout
Working from home can impact employees in a positive way. Many feel highly productive and refreshed without having to commute.
In an office, taking breaks for a chat and enjoying the hour lunch break is part of the day. Overworking is a reality many faces, as it can be hard to switch off at the end of the day, and the boundaries between work and home slowly vanish.
A recent study on employee engagement noticed that 80% of leaders reported that a hybrid working environment was exhausting for employees. Employees said hybrid was more demanding than either full-time remote or full-time in-office.
Managers and leaders must provide opportunities for team members to discuss their health and well-being. It could be during one-on-one check-ins, virtual team coffee breaks, or even sessions with external wellness experts.
Organizations must make sure managers have the skills to identify and support individuals struggling with mental health. Managers should not feel responsible for their team’s mental health, but managers must know how to spot issues and what to say.
One of the core benefits of hybrid working is letting employees work wherever best suits their needs by promoting flexibility.
2) Office Space & Overhead
Handling employee costs and expenses with hybrid work is more complex than entirely in-house employees. For example, keeping a dedicated office with all its perks might waste resources.
Hybrid organizations must ensure that whatever office space they retain provides them with the greatest ROI.
One of the best options is sharing an office space with another company. Deloitte is an example of companies that decreased its office space after Covid.
3) Employee Inequality
There could be inequality in the hybrid workplace because of various reasons.
Home Office: Only some employees can work remotely. It can be not easy working from home if one doesn’t have a dedicated space or home office, so companies cannot ensure equality.
Recognition: Hybrid work can create an uneven playing field, where employees in the office more than others are more likely to get recognition and promotions. Otherwise, employees who spend most of their time working remotely could feel isolated from conversations and decisions because they are not physically in the office.
The problem of proximity bias is real and can lead to other hybrid work challenges that can cause burnout, frustration, and resentment. According to recent statistics, people working from home were 38% less likely to receive a bonus than those working in the office.
Managers must make sure to show equality between remote and in-person performance. The hybrid model will start to fail without equality, as employees recognize the link between being in the office and their professional success.
Organizations must balance the experience for all workers and remember to offer everyone a choice. It is crucial that all employees feel included at work. Plan and schedule company events with hybrid top of mind, potentially combining more important in-person get-togethers.
4) Communication Glitches
Poor communication slows workflow, leaving workers needing clarification or missing out on vital information.
A lack of open communication hurts employee morale. Communication challenges in the hybrid workplace usually exist when there needs to be an agreed-upon policy or communication style.
Hybrid businesses must establish new communication channels to ensure critical information is received and understood by those who require it. When the proper channels and structures are found, communication is never disruptive.
All formal communication should be delivered in person, written, and recorded so that employees can receive the messages. A few events need employees to attend in person.
Find innovative solutions to encourage team communication, like brainstorming solutions together.
5) Lack Of Defined Hybrid Work Policies
A hybrid work is not a one-size-fits-all. It means weekly meetings and client presentations can be planned for specific days. It can mean several things, creating room for miscommunication and frustration. Organizations require clear communication on hybrid policies.
For a hybrid model to work, it requires a firm policy. It can vary for various companies, but generally, it involves re-onboarding the entire team.
Including employees in developing a hybrid policy will ensure their retention. Based on their feedback, the organization would know what works for them.
6) Losing Culture
Organizational culture is based on making employees enjoy the perks of working, communicating, and attending in-person events.
According to McKinsey, having slight moments of engagement among the team is necessary to creating a positive work culture. Workers who have the chance to make connections through mentorship, teamwork, and brainstorming build deeper relationships with their colleagues and achieve high productivity levels.
Companies that want to attract and retain top talent must work harder to maintain remote-compatible cultures. It will improve productivity and drive more substantial business outcomes.
Introduce regular social interactions, both on-site and virtual. Plan a virtual meet-and-greet for new employees. Plan a more effortless and seamless onboarding process by assigning a work buddy to provide introductions and teach them how to log into different systems or use work tools and techniques.
Evaluate the strategies by asking employers for feedback. Check in with employees to determine what is working and what is not.
7) Management and Collaboration
Leaders must have an agile mindset to navigate hybrid work challenges.
Managing a Hybrid Team: Managing teams in various locations can be challenging, especially in ensuring employees have the same opportunities.
Management of hybrid employees could be difficult, both from the point of view of managers and employees. It can be easier for managers to properly do their job with in-person interaction and give accurate feedback, collaboration, and work satisfaction.
If executed carefully, hybrid working can lead to a better alignment between employees working in the office and those working remotely.
One of the main requests of a hybrid model is the balance between autonomy and collaboration. Promoting a culture of trust is required to manage hybrid employees. Frequent communication through well-established channels is also vital.
Traditional Workplace Bias: A hybrid work environment might not be a preference by managers and employees soaked in traditional office culture. While many studies show that the average remote employee worked 1.4 more days every month (16.8 more days per year) than those working in the office, some managers still question the validity of hybrid work.
Managers and team leaders must have regular check-ins and catch-ups with their employees. Not only to connect on work progress but also to guide professional development and understand stress levels of employees. Managers must learn to value contributions equally for everyone.
Establishing Collaboration and Connection: Collaboration is key to a quality and successful hybrid team. Leaders will find a way to re-establish a sense of partnership across a distance.
One way to predict deep connections is through events and activities. Those can create memorable moments and support employee bonds away from their usual working location and schedule.