Covid was a catalyst for change in the work environment. Keeping people safe and helathy was the initial goal for employers, but the unintended result was the considerable demand in remote work. Now, onsite work has been dramatically altered to remote work, which is now transforming into a combination of the two: hybrid work.
Some critics of remote and hybrid work believe it reduces employee efficiency. You may recall the November 2022 announcement by Elon Musk, new owner of Twitter. He gave remote workers a 24-hour ultimatum to start working exclusively in-office, or they would be terminated. This did not go over well with Twitter employees, with a mass exodus of key developers and Twitter stock prices plummeting.
Fortunately, sensible employers have allowed their workforce to experience greater flexibility with hybrid and remote work options. Eight in ten people are working hybrid or remotely as compared to two in ten working completely on-site, according to a June 2022 Gallup survey. This is expected to increase as employees continue to demand remote and hybrid accommodations to maintain work-life balance and personal well-being.
If your organization is thinking about or has implemented hybrid work, here’s how you can ensure your team remains efficient and productive.
What is Hybrid Work?
Hyrbid work is essentially a work schedule that balances in-office and at-home working arrangements. An employee can work in the corporate office for three days a week, and then two days a week from home. Or you may have local employees work in the physical office while those who live outside of a reasonable commute can work from home. There are many advantages of hybrid and remote work, including:
- Cost savings – as much as $5,000 annual savings for employees for things like transportation, vehicle maintenance, child care, lunches, and more. Employers save on overhead costs if they don’t need a large office.
- Time and efficiency improvements – Employees can control the time-sucking pitfalls of working on-site. They can focus on completing work tasks without typical office distractions. They also waste less time commuting and taking on too much work at the office.
- Employee engagement and wellness – When employees know their employer has their happiness and health in mind, they become more emotionally engaged in the company and its mission.
Improving the Employee Experience
You may be wondering if hybrid work is a temporary arrangement. After all, people should be returning to the office full-time, right? Probably not, according to the FlexJobs’ 2022 Career Pulse Survey, which advised,
“87% of the 4,000 respondents said that a remote or hybrid job would or already has improved their work-life balance”.
Hybrid work is also good for the corporate culture, which impacts employee engagement and retention. At the end of 2021, a joint survey was conducted by Webex by Cisco and MIT Sloan Management Review Connections to check how remote and hybrid workers viewed this new way of work. The results were an astounding
90% of the 1,500 participants believed their corporate cultures had improved over the last two years.
Efficiency Issues with Hybrid Work Arrangements
There can be some efficiency challenges with hybrid work that all employers should be aware of. The Gallup poll revealed what these challenges are from the perspective of employees.
Strategies for Improving Hybrid Work Efficiency
Fortunately, there are some ways to improve efficiency and overcome any challenges that hybrid workers face.
#1 – Determine if hybrid work is right for your organization.
In order to create an efficient hybrid work situation for your organization, it’s important to understand whether hybrid work fits with your company model and your objectives. In some Industries, remote or hybrid work may only be suitable for specific jobs and tasks. Take the time to review different job titles. Then, develop a list of tasks that can be performed remotely. To ensure a smooth transition, test it out first. Use a small group of employees as guinea pigs. Then, evaluate any efficiency issues that come up.
#2 – Create a hybrid work policy
The first step to a great hybrid work arrangement is having a policy in place. This sets the expectations and the requirements for the program. That way, you can clearly demand and communicate performance expectations. It’s also important to define the types of jobs that are eligible for hybrid or remote work.
#3 – Set up systems to measure hybrid work success
Lastly, in order to ensure the greatest efficiency with your hybrid work program, it must be measured. Use data from the test group to review any inefficiencies that can be corrected. Compare previous periods of in-house employee performance to the performance of remote or hybrid workers. Also, you should gather feedback from the test group, including ideas and concerns that they may have. Over time your metrics should show additional efficiency and improvement.
By using these simple strategies, it is possible to create a hybrid work system that benefits both employees and the organization.