This article is a part of our series about building the ultimate hybrid workplace. Learn about how to leverage collaboration while working with both in-person and remote employees and how to hire hybrid employees.
Before the pandemic, remote work was starting to gain traction. But as the COVID-19 virus became a worldwide threat, it transformed into a survival tool that allowed businesses to continue operations while following quarantine protocols. Now, as herd immunity appears to be right around the corner, we’re in a new era: the hybrid workplace.
What Is a Hybrid Workplace?
A hybrid workplace is a combination of in-person working and remote working. However, unlike fully remote offices, hybrid workplaces have a physical office and location. And unlike an in-person workplace, its physical office has a smaller real estate footprint.
According to WeWork, the goal of a hybrid workplace is to: “balance the needs of individual workers with their ability to collaborate and be productive in a shared physical space.”
Because a hybrid workplace prioritizes flexibility, companies are free to customize the process according to their needs. At the same time, it empowers employees to choose where and when they work. Thus, your business can optimize labor costs, increase employee satisfaction, increase flexibility, allow for smoother collaboration, better cultural socialization, and face-to-face collaboration.
What Are the Benefits of a Hybrid Workplace?
The hybrid workplace carries the promise of being the new workplace solution in a post-pandemic world. It has the best qualities of remote and in-person work arrangements and overcomes the shortcomings of each type of office environment. We spoke with Aircall’s VP of Human Resources, Helen Cheuck, to learn more about the top ways a hybrid workplace can benefit you.
“A hybrid workplace gives you and your team the freedom to choose how, when, and where to work,” Helen says. “At Aircall, we want to make sure our employees are given the flexibility they need to take care of their responsibilities both at home and at work.”
As a result of this organizational style, one person can choose to work from home three times a week and report physically to the office twice a week. Another can choose to be completely remote and only go to the office once a month.
Because there are multiple options available, your team has the flexibility to choose a work arrangement that best suits their needs and abilities. At the same time, your business can easily and quickly adapt to situations such as another pandemic or a natural disaster as your team is now ready to continue operations from wherever they are.
Better Employee Engagement and Satisfaction
80% of employees who experienced working from home at a full-time capacity want to continue the remote work arrangement at least three times per week when offices reopen. And if their workplaces don’t offer that option:
66% will continue to stay but be less happy
54% will stay but won’t go the extra mile in their work
46% will start looking for another job
“Remote work allows employees to schedule their professional lives around their personal lives. This lets them have a better work-life balance,” Helen says.
On the other hand, hybrid work helps workers build closer connections and increases collaboration with colleagues (which is much harder when employees are working fully remotely). Hybrid workplaces give employees the opportunity to have informal in-office conversations and cultivates mentorship opportunities for younger employees.
“Both your employees and your business will experience lower costs with a hybrid workplace,” Helen says. “You’ll pay less overhead fees such as electricity and rent because you’re no longer operating at a full-time capacity, ultimately improving your environmental footprint.”
On the other hand, your employees save money from commuting to work, buying meals, or paying expensive rent prices to live near their place of work.
Lower Ecological Footprint
Because you’ll require a smaller office space with some employees working from home, you’ll consume less electricity, less water, and other equipment needed for in-office work arrangements. All of which significantly reduce your overall ecological footprint.
Your employees lower their ecological footprint, too, by no longer needing to commute every day to work and ordering takeout meals for their lunch and dinner.
“One of the best ways for companies to reduce their ecological footprints is to create hybrid workplaces,” Helen says. “At Aircall, we’re always thinking of ways we can positively impact the communities we work in.”
Types of Hybrid Workplaces
There’s no one-size-fits-all type of hybrid workplace. In fact, this work arrangement is so flexible that businesses can customize it according to their needs and the needs of their employees. However, before you start implementing hybrid workplaces into your own business, you need to understand how they will serve your business and employees. Helen recommends asking yourself the following questions to get started:
1. What is the function of each team member? Does their role allow them to work remotely? Or does their job function only apply to an in-office work arrangement?
2. Where is each team member located? Do they live in the same regions or cities? Can they still meet up for work once in a while? Or do they live in different cities or countries?
3. How is your organization structured? Is your organization more hierarchical or centralized?
4. What is your company culture? Is it individual-focused or teamwork-focused?
5. How do are employee schedules set up? Do employees live in the same time zones? If not, is there a window of time that people can communicate with each other?
6. What are the different channels of internal communication? Do you have cloud-based software that integrates all communication channels? Or are your communication channels disconnected and limited?
By answering these questions, Helen says, “you’ll gain a more realistic understanding of how you can implement a hybrid work environment in your business while continuing to foster internal collaboration.”
If you are still unsure of how or where to start your hybrid workplace, here are the most common types that you can consider. However, it’s important to revisit your plans regularly to retain an effective work environment and continuous collaboration across teams.
1. Remote Hybrid Work Model
A remote hybrid work model consists of mainly remote employees who report to a physical workspace (e.g., office or coworking space) every so often. In-person meetings usually happen when discussions and collaborations are more conducive in a physical office over a digital workplace, such as during brainstorming sessions, client meetings, or team-building activities.
2. Mixed Hybrid Work Model
A mixed hybrid work model is when a portion of your staff works fully in-office while the remainder works fully remotely. It often occurs when businesses have employees that can only fulfill their job in a physical workspace, such as surgeons and construction workers.
3. In-Person Hybrid Work Model
Opposite to the remote hybrid work model, an in-person hybrid model consists of employees who report to a physical workplace but have the option of working remotely. Some employees may prefer this model as they don’t have to worry about having stable internet connections and access to technology and knowledge that they need for work. It’s also favorable for the younger employees who need more guidance and mentorship.
4. Split Hybrid Work Model
A split hybrid work model is when your team members work in shifts. One part of your team reports to a home office on a set number of days, and the other part reports on the other days. For example, 50% of your team might go to your physical workspace Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays but works remotely on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The other 50% would report to the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays but work remotely Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Leverage the Right Tools for a Fully Collaborative Hybrid Workspace
A hybrid workspace is the future of work, as it supersedes the shortcomings of both in-person and remote work arrangements.
However, a hybrid workspace doesn’t come without its weaknesses. To overcome these, encourage a culture of collaboration by empowering and supporting your employees with the right tools.
Aircall understands the challenges of collaborating and aligning teams with various work settings, which is why we don’t provide just any calling tool. We provide a calling tool that allows you to record and transcribe meetings in real-time so you gain full transparency even if you’re not attending the meeting. Plus, it has Business Hours Features that help employees maintain a work-life balance while having an optimized employee scheduling. Most of all, Aircall integrates with over 80 tools that help improve communication, streamlines team workflows, and more.
Want to unlock your company’s full potential when integrating a hybrid workplace into your business model? Schedule a call with us to find out how we can help.
Published on September 19, 2023.