It’s the new buzzword that’s set to shake up the world of work, but what goes into creating a successful hybrid workforce anyway? In our view, the best thing you can do to set your organisation up for success long-term is to make the necessary adjustments and build the structure required for the transition to a hybrid workforce now. Preparation is key.
So if you’re looking towards the future, trying to plot out how you’re going to move to a hybrid workforce structure, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out how you can prepare for a shift to a hybrid workforce.
What is a hybrid workforce?
Unlike a hybrid car, a hybrid workforce is generally understood as an organisation that has teams working together in both a distributed and co-located fashion. This means that some team members will work from the office while others work from home or in combination with visiting the office a couple days per week.
As you can imagine, this approach can provide an enviable amount of flexibility, but with that comes drawbacks and complications that need to be considered. If you’re planning to move to a hybrid workforce structure in the coming months, below are a few things to consider as you begin to prepare for the change.
How to prepare for the shift to a hybrid workforce:
#1: Team structures
While some employees who’ve been working remotely absolutely love it, there are also plenty who miss the sociability and accessibility of working alongside their team members from a shared office space. For organisations who are aiming to please both groups of employees, a shift to a hybrid workforce is on the cards.
In preparation for the move to a hybrid workforce, leaders will need to determine which employees will continue working remotely full-time, which employees will work partly remote and partly from the office, and finally, which employees will be working on site from a shared office space at all times.
While this may be predetermined to some degree by roles and responsibilities, there may also need to be a more formal process of determining this new team structure. There may also be instances where team members ask to work in a certain structure and then after a few months wish to change their approach. To mitigate this, and avoid constant chops and changes, HubSpot provides their employees with an annual opportunity to change their choice of team structure.
Will your team leaders work from the office, continue working remotely, or take a mixed approach? You may find that within your organisation it’s most useful for all leaders to work in the office some of the time. This will need to be established prior to unveiling the move to a hybrid workforce to avoid confusion and provide consistency to employees working underneath them.
#3: Communication frameworks
During the adoption of remote working it’s likely that your organisation have adopted certain communication frameworks and established digital communication and collaboration tools that are updated regularly.
With the shift to a hybrid workforce on the horizon you’ll need to determine how your communication frameworks need to change to reflect your new team structures. If the majority of your organisation moves back to working from a shared office space, while some continue to work remotely, there will need to be a strong foundation of digital communication tools that are updated regularly to ensure employees don’t fall out of the loop.
#4: Team rituals
One of the greatest challenges of a hybrid workforce model is maintaining a sense of connection and workplace culture with teams working in completely different environments. Without taking this into consideration, hybrid workforces can lead to a trend emerging where in-office teams and remote working teams are disconnected socially, which then begins to impact working relationships and collaboration.
In order to work effectively as a hybrid workforce long-term, you’ll need to ensure there’s clear visibility across both co-located and remote working teams to ensure that tasks are spread evenly. In this environment (especially if team leaders are working from the office) new tasks and projects can tend to be allocated in majority to team members working in the same office space. This is due in part to physical presence as well as natural human biases.