December 6, 2021
How to create a productive, energized hybrid workplace tailored to your individual needs
As more people transition from fully remote to in-office jobs, we're embarking on a great, hybrid workplace experiment.
This blend of in-person and virtual connections means that the new workplace isn't just a building — it might encompass a traditional office, a home nook, a co-working space and a mobile office.
A recent survey of U.S. businesses found that 70 percent of employers plans to offer a hybrid model, and some 46 percent of employees will fall under that category. With more than eight in 10 employees saying that a hybrid work model is “optimal," it's safe to say that we'll be on this hybrid journey for a while.
No One-Size-Fits-All Solution
Just as traditional offices and fully remote work each offers advantages and drawbacks, a massive shift to a hybrid workforce will present a whole new set of opportunities — and challenges.
There's no consensus on what makes the ideal hybrid setup, in part because there's so much variability.
Hybrid work will look different based on the location of the central and home offices, job responsibilities and schedules, and the size, structure and culture of a company. The most successful people will figure out how to get work done more efficiently, while keeping everyone on the team engaged.
Here are a few keys to building a successful hybrid work model:
Build Your Home Office for the Long Term
By now many people have some version of a home office, whether it's a laptop on the kitchen table or a fully equipped room with multiple monitors.
Now is a good time to take stock of your situation and decide whether your solution is a stopgap one or if you have everything you need to succeed long term. Here's Cox's list of home office essentials and technology for creating the ultimate work-from-home space.
Plus, keep in mind these tips for increasing wifi speed for better video calls and connectivity:
- Install wifi extenders
- Unplug wifi-connected devices not in use
- Download large files at night
- Avoid movie and music streaming
- Monitor connections to your router
- Upgrade your Internet plan
Align the Central Office to its New Purpose
As companies figure out how to maximize in-person time, many offices will have a totally new purpose.
The physical space will likely need reconfiguring to encourage spontaneous water cooler conversations and connections. Hybrid meetings require special planning to be productive.
As managers make the switch to hybrid, they should first make sure that every employee possesses the right tools to work virtually and in-person, including ergonomic chairs and workstations, monitors and noise-cancelling headphones.
Going forward, technology will play an even bigger role in communicating protocols and updates to ensure that all employees feel informed and comfortable.
You might need to add digital signage for new safety guidelines and reminders, real time tools for managing room occupancy and limits, and touchless device controls.
Keep Communications Channels Open
Because competition for talent is high, workers have more leverage and more opportunity to find an office environment that suits their needs and preferences.
In the hybrid workplace, enhanced training and more frequent employee check-ins will become increasingly important.
Continuous feedback and recognition can help keep employees motivated, focused and aligned with the organization's mission.
Don't Overlook Fairness and Equity Concerns
A hybrid model can raise unique fairness issues — that means companies may need to take extra steps to ensure employees receive the same treatment, regardless of where they're working.
Remote workers, for example, may face a disadvantage when it comes to feeling appreciated and earning promotions.
Done right, the hybrid workplace of the future can give employees the flexibility they crave while improving the quality — and efficiency — of their work.
Companies that make the best of both worlds can position themselves for stability and growth, regardless of where their employees work.