What would you choose: home office or office? It is a difficult question because both offer their advantages, and for many, it is impossible to decide on one of the two options – but it is also optional. Hybrid working is precisely the flexible form of working that, according to a survey – around 41 per cent of people who work remotely – want.
In this article, we will deal in detail with hybrid working. We show you advantages, models, and proven strategies for a successful implementation.
Hybrid work – what is that?
Table of Contents
hybrid means “composed of different things from two different origins.” Hybrid work (or “hybrid work”) is an approach to the New Work concept and describes a mixture of home office or remote work and on-site work in the office in the working world. There are different models of time and place, which can be combined and thus individually adapted.
Different models of hybrid work
There are many different variations of hybrid work. Not only the place of work is a variable that can change, but also the working hours. For a better overview, here is a summary:
Place of work
- Office First: Working on-site is the standard. In exceptional cases, work is done remotely or in the home office.
- Synchronous hybrid: Working remotely is possible on a few specified days
- Static hybrid: Work is done in the office on fixed days
- Fully flexible: The workplace can be reselected every day
- Home office: The employees work in the home office and are only in the office in exceptional cases
- Fix: This is the classic 9-to-5 job (although the start and end of work can, of course, also differ here)
- Partially flexible: With flextime or core time, it is possible to make working hours more flexible.
- Fully flexible: The employees themselves decide when and how long they work.
Which working model fits?
It primarily depends on the work area to decide which model suits which team. For employees who work in customer service, for example, working in their own four walls can be an advantage. Because in an office it can sometimes be challenging to find the right quiet for telephone calls etc. This is much easier in the home office. Work can also be relocated relatively quickly in the IT industry, web design, or marketing.
On the other hand, there are apparent differences regarding working hours. While it is essential in support or consulting to be available during regular business hours, this is optional in professions that involve writing texts, for example. But even that cannot be generalized. It also depends on the particular area of responsibility. Therefore, finding the same regulation for all team members is almost impossible.
Hybrid work: These are the advantages
The flexible work location and time offer advantages for employees and companies. Like home office or remote work, it is about balancing work and private life, employee retention, and productivity.
The flexible design of the place and time of work contributes to a better balance between work and free time. For example, not having to commute to work because of rush-hour traffic saves time that can be used elsewhere. In this way, leisure activities can be better combined with professional life.
In addition, well-being increases when you work at a chosen location and can flexibly organize your time. The improved work-life balance also contributes to this. In addition, increased well-being can reduce stress, which positively affects satisfaction.
Not only the time saving has a positive effect on productivity. Choosing the most suitable workplace also increases productivity. For some tasks, you may need quiet to be able to concentrate. In other areas, quick exchange with others is essential. The flexible working environment design means that needs and tasks can be perfectly matched. Disruptions caused by conversations with other team members or interruptions are also minimized. So you can work concentrated on a task.
Hybrid work also promotes independent work. Why is this important? In the spirit of New York, it is about thinking creatively and innovatively. This is how new ideas are encouraged. In addition, it is less severe if the manager is present because everyone still needs to learn what needs to be done.
It is, therefore, all the more important to increase employee satisfaction. And this also includes the flexibility of the workplace because more and more people expect an adaptable work environment.
Although this mix of different working models brings many advantages, some companies still need to overcome hurdles that need to be overcome. Here you can find out what challenges are ahead and what helps to master them.
Many companies are initially faced with the question: where do we start? Especially at the beginning, there is much work to create processes, define regulations and create legal security. For a better overview, the representation, for example, in a mind map, helps to identify all critical points.
IT security & data protection
During the preparations, the topic of data security should, of course, be addressed. In addition to being equipped with suitable hardware, VPN tunnels and project management software with a server location, such as facto, are ideal for protecting sensitive data. It is best to use a specialist who is familiar with data protection and can advise the company.
Preserve corporate culture
In addition to all the organizational things, the team spirit must be remembered. Due to the elimination of everyday interactions, it is essential to strengthen the sense of togetherness through joint team events. Collaboration can be supported with virtual team tools.
Tips for implementation
For hybrid work to work in your team, there are a few things you should consider and define in advance.
Choose a suitable working model.
Before you start, deciding which model is suitable and feasible for your team or the individual team members is essential. It depends on the corporate structure and the extent to which processes can be completed online. Can the required software and hardware be provided and used by everyone?
Another critical point is fixed regulations, for example, regarding the place of work: Can the employees work from anywhere, or are there (geographical) limits?
Organize the process
After you have decided on the proper form, you should take care of general regulations. For example, how communication channels are used, which face-to-face meetings are scheduled, and who is the contact person for technical problems. Even if the daily routines are sometimes different, it is essential for the internal organization that specific processes, such as leaving sick, are the same.
Record attendances and absences
In addition, it is helpful to plan who is in the office and when. Tip: So that everyone knows, a small note in the calendar can be sufficient.
When determining the place and time of work, it is also important to organize that employees and teams with much to do with each other are compatible. This makes it easier to arrange appointments. For example, hybrid meetings can be organized if a person works remotely or in the home office. The technical conditions should be suitable, i.e., stable internet, a meeting tool, etc.
Lead your team
Since the employees are not always in the office when working hybrid or from home, the employment relationship is based on trust. Trust in employees is, therefore, a cornerstone for smooth cooperation. Since teams work more agile, reacting quickly to situations is just as important. A situational leadership style is required.
Many companies also need to be convinced about letting employees work from somewhere else. However, an awareness should be created that productivity does not have to mean sitting in front of the laptop for 8 hours – the result counts. In general, the courage to be self-employed is required.
Communication within the team, in particular, must be addressed in hybrid work. The following applies here: create and promote communication opportunities. Be it a virtual coffee break, regular team events, and meetings – encourage the team to stay in touch.
Another keyword here is transparency. Everyone has the same opportunities only when everyone is on the same level.
Hybrid work in practice
But how does hybrid work work in practice? It would help if you used the right tools to provide you and your team with the best possible support.
As mentioned earlier, communication is one of the key concepts to improve team collaboration. To ensure this works smoothly, communication tools such as Slack, Wire, etc., can optimally support you in staying in contact with the team.
You can create channels for different topics and teams or exchange private messages. This is how you always reach the right people. In this course, it should also be determined via which media is to be communicated. A messenger is more suitable for short messages. With more complex topics, a meeting is sometimes easier.
Project management tools
To be able to work together on a project, everyone involved must be up to date. With a project management tool, you create transparency. On the one hand, a project is presented visually, which provides a better overview. The whole project can be mapped like this. On the other hand, all team members can access it. With a PM tool like facto, it is possible to work from anywhere and see real-time comments and status changes. Documents can also be stored in projects, packages, and tasks, eliminating the need to send emails back and forth with numerous attachments.
Regular team meetings help to stay well-prepared and organized. This can be a kick-off meeting in the morning or at noon. A meeting should not just take place but also be prepared for and followed up. When preparing, it helps to create a common agenda. You can quickly work this out, in fact, in the focus area. You can also share the agenda with the team so that everyone can add their points.
But the structure is also an important point during the meeting. In a hybrid meeting, it can be difficult for people connected online to follow what is being said. Therefore, the meeting should always be moderated so that questions can be clarified and everyone can have their say. Rules such as reporting a post can be helpful.
The automated meeting minutes, in which all changes to tasks and projects are recorded, are also particularly useful. So even team members who weren’t there knew what was going on.
Conclusion: The best combined
Hybrid working offers numerous advantages for companies and employees and, with the proper organization, can contribute to a positive change in working life. Due to the high flexibility, it is possible to respond to the team member’s individual needs and helps create an optimal working atmosphere.
In addition to a better work-life balance, increased productivity, and cost and time savings, employees are also happier. This protects against stress and creates an emotional connection to the company, making employees more likely to stay with one company. This is also an investment for the future.