Hybrid Work From Home Model To Become a Trend in 2021
With the COVID-19 vaccination rollout underway, organizations must begin creating a timeline for employees to safely return to the workplace.
However, many employees are advocating for a hybrid work from home model after the pandemic subsides.
This concept allows some employees to work remotely while others work onsite.
A hybrid work from home model would allow employees to split their time between the office and home each week.
In fact, a Research Co. poll found that 80 percent of Canadians who are working from home due to the pandemic would like to continue to work from home in some capacity even after it is safe to have employees back in the office full time.
The Benefits of a Hybrid Work From Home Model
Over the past year, organizations have had to rapidly adapt to the challenges brought forth by the pandemic.
And while the initial transition to remote work proved challenging for many, workforces are beginning to find their groove.
Finding a good balance between in-person and remote work can give organizations the ability to better recruit talent, achieve innovation, and create value for stakeholders, all by focusing on work that is flexible, digital, and purposeful.
In addition, hybrid work models offer employees the following benefits:
- Employees feel more productive
- Employees spend less time commuting
- Employees enjoy an improved work/life balance
Employees feel more productive
Without daily office distractions, like meetings and impromptu drop-ins from work colleagues, workers are finding that they’re able to accomplish more throughout the day.
In fact, a recent survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Canada found that 35 percent of Canadian workers report increased productivity while working from home.
Employees spend less time commuting
Commuters are saving both time and money by working from home. Several respondents to a Canadian Underwriter survey found cutting down commute times of up to three hours a day is a benefit to working from home.
Even working from home one or two days a week can make employees feel more in control of their schedules.
Employees enjoy an improved work/life balance
Employees who have a good work/life balance tend to be more productive, happier, and less stressed.
Empowering employees by trusting them to create their own flexible schedules can also lead to greater company loyalty.
The Challenges of the Hybrid Work From Home Model
While beneficial, maintaining a hybrid workforce comes with its own set of challenges. However, by implementing policies and best practices, these challenges can be overcome:
- Increased childcare responsibilities
- Increased distractions
- Weakened company culture
Increased childcare responsibilities
With many children learning virtually, childcare duties can intrude on working parents’ workdays. Often, women bear a disproportionate share of the burden.
Organizations that allow employees to have flexible schedules throughout their week can lessen that burden by letting parents prioritize their days.
While many employees appreciate the flexibility of remote work, there is no denying that distractions can be hard to resist while working from home.
The Research Co. poll found that 54 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds have a tough time with distractions while working remotely.
However, organizations can help employees stay on track by setting deadlines, communicating frequently, and encouraging employees to stick to a routine.
Weakened company culture
The PwC Canada survey found that maintaining morale and company culture are among the biggest challenges that come with remote working, and Research Co. found that two-thirds of those surveyed admit to missing their colleagues.
Having employees come in a few days a week can help promote connectivity and give workers the opportunity to bond in person.
Technology can also be utilized when employees are working from home to maintain communication and company culture.
How To Implement a Successful Hybrid Work From Home Model
Human Resource (HR) departments can create a structured hybrid work from home model that allows for both organizations and their employees to be successful by focusing on the following:
- Continue caring
- Empower leaders to promote innovation
- Level the playing field
At the beginning of the pandemic, several organizations adopted and promoted programs that focused on improving mental health, physical health and social connectivity.
As society settles into the new norm, it’s imperative that organizations don’t let up on these initiatives, and instead lead with care and compassion to lessen employee burnout and promote employee health and well-being.
Empower leaders to promote innovation
Organizations should identify leaders who are innovating and experimenting with new tools and approaches to managing remote and hybrid teams.
Effective methods can be optimized throughout the organization to better streamline processes.
Level the playing field
As employees return to the office, those working in-person may experience an unintentional advantage to being in the office.
However, organizations can level the playing field by conducting operations as if everyone is remote.
This can involve hosting virtual meetings, utilizing digital work management tools and communicating through online channels.
HR professionals should work with organizational leadership to create and implement sustainable practices that benefit both the organization and its employees.
Leaders should take into consideration what is realistic for their workplace when structuring their hybrid work model.