Hybrid work doesn’t sound so unusual anymore, given it has become part of the “new” normal.
Two years after the coronavirus pandemic was officially declared, time which was spent mainly at home, as various and highly necessary social distancing restrictions and nationwide lockdowns were enforced, people, businesses and entire countries have returned to normalcy. Or, better said, a new normal, given that this period has undoubtedly generated paradigm shifts, changes in habits and behaviors, and goals have been reset. One of such changes can be seen in the workplace.
Remote work was not a choice, but the only option available for businesses to keep having an activity during a time when people weren’t able to come to the office at all, in an attempt to stop the spread of an unknown virus. Indeed, this has been incredibly disruptive for businesses across different industries and markets, as it has been for individuals who have never had to work remotely.
Adjusting to this style of work was not easy, and it took time for everyone to find their style and pace. Companies had to learn to rely more on digital tools and video conferences and instant messaging tools, and employees had to find a work area at home that was free of any distractions. But over time, this practice became easier and easier. And as soon as this happened, some companies and individuals realized the many advantages of remote work and started considering making this a permanent approach to doing business.
So, what followed was a change in business models and paradigms, a shift from workers who wanted to work remotely or, at least, combine online with offline work – the hybrid work practice. Given its advantages, such as reducing or eliminating travel costs and time, since commuting was not in the picture anymore, or not as often, or maintaining a better work-life balance, it isn’t surprising many prefer remote or hybrid work.
But how does a company create a hybrid work strategy? And how can you run a business that performs remotely or uses the hybrid paradigm? It is definitely a challenge, but with the help of technology and by adopting positive behaviors, entrepreneurs, leaders and business owners can successfully build and lead a hybrid workplace.
The following strategies can help you accomplish this:
Encourage honest and open communication at all times.
Without open communication, your business can suffer, whether it uses the on-site, remote or hybrid model. It is of the utmost importance to create a culture within your company that encourages and prioritizes honest and open communications between employees and team members.
This includes maintaining your communications channels available so that your workers feel confident to come to speak with you, regardless of the matter they wish to discuss. This way, you promote a healthy culture instead of a workplace environment where employees are afraid to discuss openly with their managers.
When you employ a hybrid paradigm in the workplace, communication is even more essential. Given that you combine online with offline work, it is crucial to make use of instant messaging tools and video conference apps that support and facilitate communication. Therefore, this culture mentioned earlier, of open communication between all employees, is maintained even online.
Have a proper office space for offline meetings.
Hybrid means combining two elements. When it comes to hybrid work practices, this translates into combining on-site with remote work. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to have a space for when your employees come to the office. At the same time, specific roles may not allow for remote work; such is the case of an engineer or healthcare professional. So, depending on your business, you have to accommodate the employees whose roles are not suitable for remote work.
In any case, having a proper office is a must. For this reason, it is crucial to have a shared space suitable for the type of business you conduct and is just the right size, considering not all your employees will be present on-site. If your work practice is hybrid, but you only need to meet face-to-face quite rarely for particular meetings, you may want to consider renting a space only when necessary.
Focus on creating a safe and healthy environment.
This means offline and online. So, when you have a business that utilizes the hybrid work practice, it is of the utmost importance to create a safe and healthy environment virtually as well as for the physical office you use from time to time.
The online side of the business
Creating and maintaining a safe online environment means keeping in touch with your employees and their well-being, regardless of the virtual setting. The mental and physical health of your workers should be a top priority. So, as a hybrid business, you must focus on providing a safe and healthy online environment, from making them feel valued and acknowledging their work to providing equipment that supports their good posture.
The physical space of the business
When it comes to the physical space, there is no denying you must create a safe and healthy workplace. Any business that has more than one employee is required to adhere to work and safety regulations in order to reduce any risk of accidents at the workplace.
Apart from this, a safe environment also means one that is free of distraction and doesn’t interfere with the business activity, like in the event of a renovation or if there is any equipment failure, like from a boiler.
In a situation like this, you must find the least disruptive alternatives, like using a mobile or temporary boiler. Thankfully, some businesses can provide the help you need to ensure your office space is free of distractions and that your employees’ health and comfort are unaffected. Such service businesses provide temporary boiler rental solutions, so your company can continue its activity seamlessly.
Clearly define your business’ hybrid work policy.
Last but not least, businesses using the hybrid work practice must clearly define their hybrid work policy to avoid having any misunderstandings. Doing this ensures all your employees across all departments know what role is suitable for remote work, when on-site presence is required, and how flexible the remote work schedule is.
Not all companies use the same approach, and not all hybrid work practice styles fit every company. For this reason, it is essential to create a plan and develop a hybrid work policy that works for you and the business you have, considering your employees’ roles and needs.