The expectations of workers in America have changed. Most companies resisted the idea of remote work until 2020, when the COVID-19 response demanded new levels of flexibility. For many companies, remote work no longer became a perk, it became a necessity.
Over the past year and half, two trends have emerged: one expected and the other a bit of a surprise.
- First, as expected, people really like working remotely—even with a few downsides.
- Second, there was no significant dip in productivity among remote workers—which was the reason most companies were hesitant to change.
As more and more companies begin welcoming employees back to the office, many are at a remote work crossroads. If your staff responded well to remote work, then a hybrid work environment may be a good long-term solution for your business.
With remote and hybrid work environments, a lot depends on your industry and the specific way your company does business. Check out the answers to these hybrid work questions and more.
- What is hybrid work?
- What are the benefits?
- How do you find the right balance between remote work and in-person staff?
What is hybrid working?
Instead of employees working 100% in-person or 100% remotely, a hybrid working model includes a mix. Learn more about the three main hybrid options:
Almost like a 100% remote workforce, your company provides support for every employee to work from home. Although the company maintains an office property, it may be reserved for collaboration or specific types of work, encouraging employees to continue to work remotely as much as possible.
To encourage collaboration, you may have employees come into the office a couple days a week or month. The in-person days can be flexible or following a designated schedule. Employees need clear expectations and requirements for an “office occasional” model to work consistently.
If your workforce will continue to work mostly in the office, then employees can still be allowed to work remotely as needed. Even if only a few employees prefer to work from home consistently, you’ll need to develop a long term remote work plan for your company.
What are the benefits of hybrid work?
Improve the work-life balance for staff
Telecommuting can be liberating for many workers, but it also leads to loneliness and burnout. Avoiding extremes, a hybrid work environment looks for the best balance, both for the company and employees. Even independent, introverted workers may still enjoy occasional teamwork and collaboration in person.
Increase productivity for everyone
Instead of enforcing an arbitrary policy against (or requiring) remote work, you can find what works best for your team. Adapt your employee review process for remote employees, and communicate with team leaders to determine which types of work are more efficient with in-person collaboration.
Expand the reach of your recruiting pool
Trouble finding good help these days? If it’s hard to find qualified applicants in your area, then a remote workforce can be recruited across a much broader area. If you find workers across state lines and abroad, taxes can get complicated, so make sure you’re correctly classifying contractors and exempt employees.
Save on real estate and overhead
Transitioning to an Office Occasional system, you probably won’t need the full size office you’re currently using. With Remote First, you could even rely on short term rentals for meetings. Rent a conference room for a couple of hours, and you can avoid many of the expenses that come with rent and property maintenance.
Reduce exposure to illness
The COVID-19 pandemic may not be the only pandemic of our lifetimes. Even during the regular flu season, we’ve all seen how quickly a random ‘bug’ can spread through the office. If too many vital employees are sick at the same time, it can become a big problem. With the flexibility of a hybrid workforce, it’s easier to tell potentially contagious employees to work from home.