When the coronavirus made its way to the United States, the first steps business owners took were shutting down offices and sending employees home with necessary equipment to work remotely. Roughly 3.4% of the workforce worked from home prior to COVID-19 but a global survey from Gartner found that 88% of business executives mandated or strongly encouraged their employees to work from home following the wave of coronavirus. The nation went from an in-office work environment to a remote one seemingly overnight.
Now that the initial shock of the pandemic is starting to ware off, it’s the perfect time to start preparing for the future as best as we can. That means determining how our employees work best, how culture will need to be adjusted, what our offices will look like, and how we will prepare to meet those needs.
There is a lot of dialogue around the hybrid workplace model being the office of the future, and for good reason. Let’s jump right in to why we’re seeing organizations transition to this workplace model and what questions you should ask when considering the implementation of this model for your organization.
Why Organizations are Transitioning to a Hybrid Workplace Model:
There has always been more than one working style, but the current pandemic has shifted so many people into new environments that we now see the three workplace models–remote, on-site, and hybrid–much clearer than before.
Remote employees are those who perform tasks and head’s down work 100% of the time at a digital capacity. They don’t need to be in an office to perform duties and therefore have flexible opportunities to balance work and life. The remote experience is driven by employee preference and a need for on-demand access to other team members and the proper at-home technology package.
On-site employees require attendance in an office to perform their everyday duties. Their position requires in-person intentional connections, cultural opportunities, mentoring, and knowledge transfer. These employees see more access to opportunities, technology, and engagement and this access is their biggest benefit over the other two employee work styles.
Hybrid employees are those who split their time between their home and an office. They head into the office for collaborative work and stay home to execute head’s down tasks. These employees can practice the biggest freedom of choice, choosing where they want to work and when. This flexibility is truly what makes this work style so appealing to employees and employers. In fact, a recent survey from Slack found that 72% of workers would prefer to work in a hybrid remote-office environment.
Three Questions to Consider if You’re Evaluating a Hybrid Workforce:
If you think the hybrid workplace model will work for your organization, there are important questions that the leadership team needs to reflect upon before ultimately moving into the stage of a Change Readiness Assessment. Those questions are:
- How do each of your employees define an ideal and successful “work environment”? Consider the following:
- Space Needs + Utilization
- Time Management
- How are you currently measuring performance – for teams, individuals, organizational goals – and how do these results align with your goals moving forward?
- What strategies do you have in place to continue employee growth opportunities?
You may find that asking these questions to your employees proves helpful, as they are the assets which will be most affected by a change like this. Both the organization and those within it have been forced to adapt to our changing environment, and an organization’s success will be determined by the success of those operating it. Making decisions without employees in mind is a recipe for disaster within an organization, so never let them too far out of your vision and decision-making process.
If you are considering a hybrid work environment for your workforce, start by understanding why it’s growing in popularity and evaluate whether or not it’s the right work model for your organization. From there, we suggest executing a Change Readiness Assessment which is used to assess the scope of change at hand and the readiness of the organization for that change. This will kick-start the change management process. If you’re unsure of how to start or if the hybrid workplace model is right for your organization, our Change Management experts are here to help. Let’s work together.