Traditional offices are those where all of an organisation’s employees work in an office, whether at corporate headquarters or satellite offices. Bosses believed that it was necessary to monitor staff with a physical presence to ensure that they stayed on the clock and worked their hours. However, all this has changed since 2020, when the Covid pandemic saw many employees having to isolate themselves and work from home. This experience has allowed management and employees to assess the pros and cons of remote work versus in-office work.
This has led to a new work paradigm known as hybrid offices. Employees and managers can divide their time between being in the office and working remotely from home. Studies have shown that the hybrid model can increase productivity and performance, provide better work-life balance, and inspire employees to take more responsibility for their jobs. We take a look at the three hybrid models companies can choose from and how a business can shift from a traditional set-up to a hybrid office.
The remote-first model applies to companies where employees work remotely from home. While the company keeps some desks available for employees who need to come in to complete a task, these are not allocated to individuals. Meeting rooms are also provided for collaborative projects.
The office occasional hybrid model expects employees to come to the office a few times a week. They can work remotely the rest of the time. Of the three models, this one needs the most structure to avoid it sliding into one of the other two models.
The office first/remote allowed model is closely related to the traditional model. Remote work may be allowed occasionally or only for certain groups of employees. Managers are most likely to work at the office.
Before transitioning from the traditional model, companies need to determine which of the three hybrid models best suit their environment.
It can be hard for managers to let go of the old directive ways of managing their teams. When shifting to a hybrid model, it entails managers to measure work outcomes instead of work tasks. This puts the responsibility onto the employee to ensure that the objectives of a task are completed to the required standards within the given timeframes. Not meeting deadlines or failing to complete assigned work would be dealt with during performance management evaluations.
Companies spend a fortune on renting office space to accommodate their full workforce. With a hybrid model, it is possible to save big by reducing the size of work premises. The company can use a desk booking system that allows staff coming into the office to book a desk that matches their work requirements. Thus, the office space only has to accommodate employees that are not currently working remotely.
With hybrid work, it is possible to expand the geographical location from which employees are hired. However, the company will have to make use of video conferencing software for meetings and evaluations. The advantage is that the business has access to a greater talent pool, even globally.
Companies moving towards a hybrid model need to pick one that best suits their business and employee’s needs. Policies must be clear on how much remote work is allowed and how collaborative projects will be handled. Finally, management should explore the available technology to make a hybrid model work effectively.