In early May 2021, Google made headlines worldwide. It announced that it would be adopting a hybrid workforce model in response to employee demands. CEO Sundar Pichai explained in a blog post:
“Our campuses have been at the heart of our Google community, and the majority of our employees still want to be on campus some of the time. Yet many of us would also enjoy the flexibility of working from home a couple days of week, spending time in another city for part of the year, or even moving there permanently. Google’s future workplace will have room for all these possibilities.”
He further explained that this push toward a hybrid workforce means 60% of Google’s employees will work in-office a few days a week, 20% will work in new office locations, and the rest will work from home.
Companies across the world are increasingly embracing the hybrid workforce, spurred, in part, by the COVID-19 pandemic. But how exactly can they successfully shift to this innovative model? More importantly, how can they continue empowering their employees despite them working in remote locations?
What Is a Hybrid Workforce?
A hybrid workforce is when employees have a flexible and blended organizational structure. Some will work remotely while others will work from a physical location. Some employees might even split their time between remote work and in-office work.
The term “hybrid workforce” has become near-ubiquitous ever since the COVID-19 outbreak hit in early 2020. Besides Google, other large organizations have embraced these flexible structures too.
By the Numbers
73% of employees desire flexible remote work options after the pandemic is over
65% of employees also want more in-person time with their colleagues
Given these contrasting opinions, companies across the world will likely adopt hybrid work models in the long run.
Publishing firm Wiley publicly stated that it would soon introduce a hybrid model so employees can work remotely. In an interview with HR Dive, Wiley’s Chief People Officer, Danielle McMahan, explained:
“While our office culture and in-person connections will always be core to how we work at Wiley, working virtually is not a barrier and has expanded our options in ways that can benefit our colleagues and our business. Our flexible working model enables broader access to a more geographically diverse candidate pool, further enabling an environment that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive for colleagues, and more broadly, for Wiley’s customers and communities.”
Improving the Employee Experience
The hybrid workplace has completely changed the manager–employee relationship.
By being able to see what life is like for their employees, managers have a greater opportunity to understand how to support team member’s emotional well-being. It might even inspire them to add additional health and wellness benefits, including “reset days”, telehealth, and ergonomic office supplies.
When organizations focus on improving the employee experience, they can create a hybrid workplace model that works for everyone.
Optimizing Office Space
Besides employee benefits, a hybrid workforce also requires companies to reevaluate their use of office space. Some have gone so far as to decide that a physical location is no longer a necessity. For instance, Pinterest reportedly canceled plans to move into nearly 500,000 square feet of office space in San Francisco and even paid an $89.5 million fee to terminate their lease.
However, the push toward a hybrid workforce will not eliminate office spaces. For example, Forbes Magazine notes how tech companies were once known for their swanky HQs with modern architecture, sprawling cafeterias, and other benefits. However, it further claims:
“This move toward more staff working primarily remotely doesn’t necessarily mean the end of tech campus growth or the expansion of large tech giants into new regional centers. As more remote workers are dispersed throughout the United States, we’re likely to see less growth in flagship campuses and more investment by companies in smaller regional ‘hub’ areas in different parts of the country.”
This prediction seems to hold weight, given that Google, despite its plans to adopt a hybrid workforce model, recently announced plans to spend $7 billion on purchasing new office space and data centers.
Physical Offices: Still Worth Investing In
From this, it’s clear physical offices will continue to play a critical role in the corporate world. According to some experts, this is because a company’s success still depends on in-person interaction.
For example, Michael Holloway, the General Manager of Property Investment at real estate firm Kiwi Property, explained that:
“When you’re trying to attract, retain, and nurture top talent, the workplace plays a really significant part in how people perceive a business. Rather than doing a job interview on a video conference, you want to go into their space and see how they value other members of staff.”
As more companies push to embrace hybrid workforces, they will have to consider their physical office spaces and the employee experience. Interested in learning how to develop your own hybrid workforce model? Learn more about fostering team-building opportunities and managing your team.
Your Partner in Empowering Your Hybrid Workforce
Helping companies manage the digital transformation to prepare for a hybrid workforce is exactly what we do at Aircall. We provide you with cloud-based call center software that can help workers improve customer experiences, even while working remotely.
Our top-of-the-line cloud phone system has many features, including:
The ability to set up international numbers to avoid high phone bills when dealing with customers in multiple regions
Encourage collaboration by enabling your staff to comment on assigned calls
Call center features, like skill-based routing, allow you to route calls to agents based on technical skillset. This makes it easier for your team to handle customers’ specific concerns.
Lastly, Aircall’s powerful analytics will give you insight into the quality of customer support that you are currently providing. This includes call monitoring to boost quality assurance and a live feed feature that helps optimize support reps’ productivity.
With these tools, it will be easy for your business to create and implement strategies tailored to your customers’ needs.
Are you ready to improve customer retention rates for your company? Schedule a consultation with our team, and let us find out how best to help your business create more valuable customer relationships.
Published on January 2, 2024.