Hybrid Workplace is the new normal: Rekindling the future of work

In the year 2020, almost every organization were thriving to build an efficient workplace which gave birth to remote working culture. But, now as pandemic is waning and people are getting vaccinated. Businesses have started to roll up their sleeves to plan and strategize on how to reshape a culture that is partial or completely hybrid workplace.

What is a Hybrid Workplace?

A hybrid workplace is also known as a hybrid office, is the new-modern age workplace model which is a framework arrangement constituted for employees in the organization by giving them the flexibility to either work from the office with occasional liberty option or by working from home/ remotely. In other words, this kind of hybrid workplace culture also means that a segment of the workforce is given a choice on whether they would adapt a hybrid workplace model and the rest of the staff would work remotely as per their convenience and as long the defined goals and objectives are met.

Hybrid Workplace Survey

Indicating to this new normal workplace – another global research conducted by the Harvard Business School, reviewed that almost 72% of the corporate leaders have generated a roadmap strategy that offers a well-executed hybrid workplace model and the rest 13% of the global leaders plan to decrease their real estate footprint by continuing to leverage their business operations to remote approach. Ultimately, this transitional shift to the hybrid workforce will have a positive impact in unlocking greater productivity, creativity, problem-solving and building employee engagement and retention.

The hybrid workplace offers flexibility combining both worlds of physical and digital workspaces. Thus, post-pandemic the mixed balance of hybrid office and remote workers shift will be constantly changing and evolving. Now the question arises:

  • How will organizations generate a balance of in-office vs remote employees?
  • How do organizations optimize to a hybrid workplace?
  • What will the number of working days schedule for a hybrid workplace policy?

To find an answer to these questions – Initially, the organizations should prepare a full-proof plan that formulates on splitting the staff who will be working in a remote or hybrid workplace as 50/50%, 60/40% or 75/25%, this constant movement will be a challenge for corporate leaders and organizations to handle. But, for employees if the optimal balance is maintained then it will result in enforcing productive work, distributed collaboration, reduced stress levels, less commuting and keeping the work-life balance intact.

Lastly, to answer the final question, here is another interesting fact on the hybrid workplace schedule that has been stipulated from a recent event conducted by Microsoft Research Summit 2021 – (Speakers: Jaime Teevan, Nick Bloom, Siddharth Suri) As per surveys carried out for nearly 5000 U.S citizens per month, observed that at least 2/3rd of the respondents prefer not to go back to office on a daily basis and rather opt for a flexible hybrid workforce model that comprises of working in-office for 2-3 days and rest working from home implying to remote option. Hence, this data report accelerates the new normal work that is building a permanent shift to the hybrid workplace – The future of work.[/vc_column_text][us_cta title=”Get expert advice on the new normal hybrid work” color=”custom” bg_color=”#991dc6″ text_color=”#fcfcfc” btn_link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fsaketa.com%2Femployee-engagement-platform%2F|||” btn_label=”Explore” btn_size=”18px”]Boost collaboration and productivity opting Hybrid Culture [/us_cta][vc_column_text]

3 types of future of workplace models

The idea of creating a hybrid workplace have paved the way to combine two critical shifts i.e, remote work, and flexible hybrid office work in the organizational setting. Whereas this future workplace model will showcase different meanings, concepts, and strategies among various other organizations but the core definition of various kinds of workplace models will be the same. Thus, before drawing out the strategies, implementations, and benefits of welcoming this new normal way of the hybrid work environment. Let us first dive into the 3 types of hybrid workplace model such as

  1. Fully Remote Model: The primary principle of this fully remote model means that in exceptional cases like employee well-being, requirements, and preferences organizations focus on building a remote-based setup as per employees working across different locations, time-zones. However, lack of physical presence becomes challenging for corporate leaders and employers to handle. Therefore, organizations should keep in mind that the team collaboration, engagement, and productivity rate are not being compromised.
  2. Hybrid office Model: A hybrid workforce model means a flexible blend of office preferred and remote allowed setup that was regulated before the pandemic. As per this model, both office and work from home options are designated to the employees but the office keeping the primary place of work and remote policy is provided as per the employee requirements. However, this hybrid workplace policy also offers a flexible work option to a set of employees that typically include working from the office for 2-3 days per week. Thus, the idea is to achieve progressive results where work-life balance is not affected.
  3. Split Model: A split working model is when one set of the team is sub-divided into two or more offices. In such scenarios, their offices are interdependent and allow the team to operate like a hybrid team where each half is working remotely from the other.

Conversely, almost after a year since the pandemic, employers are charged up and ready to rejoin the traditional office environment as they believe the disturbance caused by Covid-19 has spiked up the disengagement and attrition broadening the disconnect of how employees think and see the future of work. Reevaluating the scenario of this new normal work – A hybrid workplace bridges a gap in fostering the digital and physical experience that integrates the key concepts of enabling communication, relationship, equity, flexibility, and engagement.

Hybrid workforce Employee engagement survey

For example, A recent workplace survey conducted by McKinsey, states that the working model before the Pandemic and desired working model post-pandemic resulted, three-quarters of nearly 5,043 employees being inclined to choose the hybrid workplace solution as the new norm.  The above analysis, states that pre-pandemic 38% of employees were looking to discover the hybrid approach. Whereas post-pandemic the desire to work in a hybrid culture increased exponentially to 52% experiencing a rise of 14%. Hence, this hybrid office will enable workforce strategies through new emerging tools and technologies, utilization of human-centric designs that make work seamlessly secure, easy, and connected.

6-steps strategy to build a Hybrid workplace model

Hybrid Workplace Steps

While a Hybrid Workplace Model may seem and function differently in every organization. But, in one way or another we understand its basic essence of blending in remote and in-person hybrid options for employees. Thus, with such considerations, it becomes liable that each employee should create and fuel a productive hybrid culture.

To understand this workplace of the future model better, we have listed 6 top strategies that will help organizations implement an equitable and successful Hybrid work environment.

Step 1: Determine return-to-office goals and objectives

With the hybrid workplace blooming, companies need to set a clear and transparent return-to-office objective. Before adapting to this hybrid culture employees get tremendous questions like:

  • Can they choose what days in a week they can work from home?
  • Will they be able to adjust the office timings as per convenience and flexibility?
  • How will the employer analyze what tasks are best performed remotely?

Answering such questions will help avoid such disabilities and unnecessary hassles within the organization. Also, defining a set of transparent work policies will help determine the degree of freedom given to the employees regarding the flexibility of working on-site and remote.

Step 2: Consider employees’ preferences

Before the pandemic, none of us ever imagined work-from-home would be the new way of work. As the pandemic hit, it not only drastically changed the way we live but also has impacted the way we work. In such critical scenarios, even after the vaccination, half of the people are skeptical and nervous to get back to the crowded atmosphere of work. In a survey conducted by Gartner, 52% of the U.S employees find a hybrid workplace solution suitable as it includes the combination of office and remote work. Therefore, considering employees preferences will lead you one step ahead in building an efficient hybrid workplace.

Step 3: Build policies that support Hybrid Work

Every organization sets their own policies to govern the day-to-day activities in the business. Before opting for a full-fledged hybrid work model, companies should have a check on their existing policies and redefine a new set of policies and procedures that supports this new normal work. As the policies will be reformed distributed teams’ collaboration, communication, employee engagement and productivity will be identified and followed by the new set of norms.

Step 4: Redesign a safe office environment

A few are excited to be back to work in the office and collaborating with the team again. Statistics shows, around 66% of employees have no clue about how safe the office environment is? , how are offices abiding by the Covid-19 guidelines?. However, employers should provide details and make sure to eliminate the confusion by involving employees to consult on the craft to be redesigned. Companies should reshape their office layout as per the hybrid work policies. For example, crafting the hybrid workplace should include spacious collaborative zones, extensive dedicated cubicles and creating private cabins such as phone booths.

Step 5: Equip tools to maximize productivity and engagement

A hybrid workplace model should ensure that all set requirements are having a positive impact on the employee’s productivity and keeping them motivated while completing each task. Incorporating integrated tools such as workplace collaboration platforms like Microsoft teams. As per the recent event conducted by Microsoft Research Summit 2021, it was noticed that tools and technologies have improved, for example, Microsoft teams, at the beginning of the pandemic it had only 4 windows, In April 2020 – it was 9 and then went to 49 feeds by in August 2020. On the other hand, regarding the rate of productivity – In a survey conducted by Microsoft, Before Covid-19 U.S was gaining a 1% rate of productivity every year but reports now suggest that post-pandemic 50% of U.S employees choose flexible hybrid work and the other half a remote model. So, this on whole will have a significant impact on the 1st quarter of the full-effective which might lead to 3-4% contributing to the national productivity rate. Eventually, this would turn up to be a bigger shift in driving the productivity and engagement for the future of work.

Step 6: Revamp the talent strategy

Recruiting a pool of talent as per the old policies will be quite challenging for employers. Thus, organizations instead of only focusing on the short-term goals and consider widening the talent acquisition strategy and instilling new skills that will lead to driving a successful hybrid workplace. These new strategies and culture will help employees feel more empowered and update the productive lifecycle among the team. Such contingent plans and involving business process outsourcing can advance the business goals in this hybrid office culture.

3 Major bottlenecks in Hybrid Workplace Model

  1. Employee Burnout: This is one kind of major bottleneck while building an efficient hybrid workplace model were employees in the organization experience immense exertion physically or emotionally. In simple words, this usually occurs due to prolonged stress and an overwhelming work environment that not only hampers the quality of work but also impacts mental wellbeing. Sometimes especially in such flexible workspace strenuous deadlines, lack of support and resources might lead to employees slacking off beyond the traditional office hours. However, this overwhelming workload will ultimately lead to employees quitting the job. Therefore, to avoid such situations managers should effectively manifest reasons for burnout, drive agreeable solutions and rekindle ways to enhance employee motivation and engagement.
  2. Increased reliance on tools and technologies: Detaching a business operation from its physical traditional office atmosphere will generate a big and complex challenge to grapple with. However, a hybrid workplace demands a flexible location-barrier method. In such scenarios, to keep the business operation running and productivity intact smooth flow in the cloud-based technologies such as Microsoft teams and Microsoft 365 is necessary. Additionally, during the hybrid office setup, the IT department should ensure adequate hardware resources and devices connecting from different locations. In the end, this secures the company data and maintains privacy.
  3. Reshaping the hybrid office layout: The transitional shift to a hybrid workplace will also involve employers and corporate leaders to invest capital in redesigning and redefining the existing office spaces that meet the hybrid workplace needs that require extended functionality, adhering to the new normal adaptable meeting rooms, bigger co-working spaces, efficient conferencing screens to easily catch-up with the remote working staff. Employers and managers will find it difficult to re-design older buildings. In such cases, the cost should be evenly managed without any fallacy and leaders should be ready to draw out a strategical budget to repurpose the traditional office into a hybrid office setup.

How will the Hybrid Workplace impact different Industry areas?

For an organization in different sectors, a hybrid workplace offers an abundance of gain in the modern comprehensive workforce with efficient cost-saving benefits as well as improved utilization in the workspaces. Therefore, reduced rigidity open door to a more flexible on-demand avenue of growth in the business.

Hybrid Model in Industries

In the above data analysis conducted by Future Workplace Study 2020, Financial services, and Information Technology I.T sectors anticipated the highest volume of hybrid workforce post-pandemic, each raising at 35% and 40% respectively. Therefore, this denotes that 3 out of 5 respondents believe that 25-30% of the workforce in each industry will see a shift in the workplace of the future.

Summing Up:  

Switching to a Hybrid workplace offers many new possibilities to achieve the promise and avoid the parole that these new emerging digital technologies enable. The fact that we have the employees have the flexibility to work at their convenience effectively and productively will increase the scope of how the future of work looks like. As new processes emerge and connect, hybrid work culture offers the opportunity to adapt and with that, the technologies and systems will be liable to become more supportive. The fact that embracing a hybrid concept harness the freedom to work from anywhere that increases the diversity and leads us to the near future of work, or we can say the permanent shift to the new normal work of the future.

To find more on how to enable an efficient and equitable hybrid workplace model. Keep following Saketa. To learn more about perks of implementing an effective hybrid workplace model, head to our blog Hybrid workplace model – Perks of implementing a Hybrid workplace that will guide you through the journey of this new normal workplace of the future.

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