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5 Elements Of A Successful, Hybrid Workforce 

Although remote work did not suddenly appear in 2020, it was during the pandemic that it turned ubiquitous. Some people liked it, others – not so much. Remote collaboration was not effective for all professions. So, companies began to bring workers back into the office gradually. Nevertheless, full-fledged office work will no longer exist as before – this transition is already underway. Therefore, its hybrid version – a mixture of home and office – is more and more likely.

What do statistics say?

According to the US survey, 55% of workers want to work in both the home and the office. Employers in the UK say twice as many people will want to work from home on a full-time basis. The ratio is 18% before and up to 37% after the pandemic. Microsoft predicts that in the next 10 years China’s office/remote work ratio will be 60/40. CIPD too believes that most companies will retain physical offices. Here are some more statistics:

  • 42% are willing to take a pay cut for more flexibility at work.
  • Generation Z is about to become the largest segment of the workforce. And they are interested in a hybrid approach to work. 74% of Generation Z would prefer to work from home or spend time at home and work (Salesforce).
  • 82% of CEOs plan to allow employees to do jobs online occasionally (Gartner).

So, all these statistics show a growing interest in the new form of work, not somewhere in the distant future but right now. We suggest not discussing what is good or bad, but start with practice: by building a hybrid workforce model.

Element 1. Equality

People who work at home do not have the same conditions as those provided in the office. Suppose they have small housing or have a young family, it will be more difficult for them to complete tasks than colleagues who live in more comfortable conditions.

How to implement?

It seems like a daunting task, and there is no single solution. But there are examples to learn from:

  • IT company, Buffer, has offered members $500 stipends to set up home offices.
  • GitHub has created a “work manifesto” containing new rules for doing jobs during a pandemic. Here’s an example of one designed to level the playing field: If some workers want to join online, team meetings should be run as if everyone were being distant workers. Even those people who are in the office are connected to the meetings each from their own desks.

Element 2. Effective Communication

One of line managers’ primary tools is face-to-face meetings with subordinates. During the pandemic, most have moved online, and the role of remote communications has increased. A study by Boston Consulting Group found that employees who are happy with the work interactions are more effective.

How to implement?

Different organisations are inventing their own ways to maintain online communication between line managers and employees.

  • One large insurance company began holding virtual team meetings to share experiences. At these meetings, agents support each other, watch one of them talk to a customer, ask for help, etc.
  • Companies should also encourage line leaders who try new mechanisms to organise online and mixed teams. Their expertise can later be leveraged across the company.

The new approaches that have emerged in today’s environment have made it possible to bring teams together frequently, and not just for ceremonies. In fact, modern technology and the methods that have evolved from it have made inter-team communication routine, working, and habitual. This means that most issues of interaction and transfer of best practices can now be resolved “horizontally”. It does not need the excessive involvement of those in the ranks of the management vertical now.

Element 3. Care

At the beginning of the pandemic, many employers launched programmes to keep employees mentally and physically healthy. Now it’s necessary to keep moving in this direction because the side effects of working remotely (particularly burnout) is here to stay.

How to implement?

Here are some ideas:

  • Companies can give their workers a lot of choice about how and when to work. Allow teams to set time slots without using email or only hold meetings during certain periods.
  • Consider diversity at the workplace. What works for one employee won’t work for another. You can set up an anonymous survey to better understand the needs of the team.

Element 4. New work approach

Forced to work remotely, organisations experimented a lot to determine what worked and what didn’t. Eventually, they learned new things, became more flexible, and began to use some of the tools of the agile approach. This means that large projects and systems sort of start disintegrating into many separate projects and systems with their own workforces.

How to implement?

Even before the pandemic, agile systems came to the forefront compared to traditional project management methods. The pandemic has only strengthened the role of communications by making them almost comprehensive and all-encompassing. For example, the exchange of technical information between teams is intensifying due to digitalisation. Communication is not limited to management issues and problems. The process of making the “right” decisions in design and development is accelerating.

Element 5. Support

You’re not the only one worried about how to make work more productive. It’s also relevant to the employees themselves. To combat procrastination, they go for tips from Jobble and Glassdoor for example. You can help them apply these tips in their lives too.

How to implement?

At the very least, consider changes to your workspace. Say, reduce office space. In return, have more meeting rooms equipped with all the necessary technology. Of course, such transformations will require certain investments in digital infrastructure. But they will maximise the benefits of mixed working models and, finally, save money (particularly on rent) and increase productivity.

Bonus Tip

Hybrid teams can include more than just full-time employees. Diversify your team with part-time workers, freelancers, and agencies where applicable. For example, you may find more value in partnering with a guest posting service instead of a full-time copywriter. Think about what other similar services you might prefer. More often than not, tasks with clear descriptions can be among them such as: design, product development, website promotion, etc.

Author bio: Frank Hamilton is a blogger and translator from Manchester.

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