How To Implement a Hybrid Work From Home Model Effectively
Many companies are adopting virtual or hybrid work models, allowing employees to work from home for some or all of their workdays. These work models can increase productivity and workplace satisfaction, but might also require changes to the way work teams communicate and collaborate. If you manage or lead a work team, you might be curious about hybrid work from home models, which combine virtual and traditional work methods.
What is a hybrid work from home model?
A hybrid work from home (WFH) model allows team members to complete their tasks at home or in the office, depending on their preferences, location and the requirements of their position. Some hybrid WFH models require team members to be in the office for a certain number of days or hours per week, while others might request remote team members to travel to the office for kickoff meetings or other events. Implementing this model might mean that some team members usually work from the office, while others work from home partially or fully.
Advantages of a hybrid WFH model :
It can increase workplace satisfaction
Team members might feel more engaged and satisfied with their jobs if they can choose where they work. Because a hybrid model combines remote and in-person work, team members can benefit from the social aspect of working in an office while also determining their work environment. They may also find it easier to accommodate their personal needs and responsibilities in a hybrid work model because of the flexibility it offers.
It can improve organizational flexibility
Implementing a hybrid model for remote work can allow team members to adapt to the needs of the organization while maintaining productivity levels. For example, if an organization’s main offices require renovation, a hybrid work model can ensure that teams have the tools and procedures to shift to remote operations quickly and easily. Hybrid tools and procedures can also allow team members to travel to other offices or corporate locations with minimal work interruptions, which means a team can still perform work activities during annual retreats or company conferences.
It can make work hours more productive
The hybrid WFH model allows teams to combine different work environments to optimize their workdays. Some team members might be more productive working from home when they’re completing tasks that require individual concentration and quiet, like writing or coding. For cooperative work, teams might gather in an office or work together remotely using collaboration software, depending on what might be more productive for the project and team members involved.
Challenges of a hybrid WFH model
It might change company culture
Adopting a hybrid work from home model might change the way team members interact with each other and form bonds, which might change a company’s culture. As team members move to virtual communication methods, it can be challenging to build close relationships that encourage collaboration and innovation. Finding new ways to foster relationships, such as hosting virtual events and using chat technology, can help team members create a fulfilling workplace culture.
It can make assessment challenging
In a traditional work environment, a team lead or manager might observe employees to measure how much they achieve during the workday. In a hybrid work model, it can be challenging for managers to monitor team members throughout the day, especially if some team members work a different schedule. Many hybrid managers and team leads adopt a system that focuses on tasks or outcomes, which can allow them to assess each team member equally, no matter where they work.
It might require changes in office space
Depending on the type of hybrid work from home model a team adopts, their office space might change to fit the needs of their team. For example, if the members of a remote marketing team come into the office for weekly meetings while working from home, they might replace individual cubicles and desks with a more open workspace that allows for collaboration. You might also develop a schedule that lets multiple teams use the same workspaces at different times to maximize office space and reduce rental expenses.
How to implement a hybrid work from home model effectively
1. Adapt job perks
One way to optimize a hybrid work from home model is to adjust the benefits of an in-person office so that they apply to both types of team members. For example, a team lead that previously took team members to weekly lunches might now send care packages or food delivery gift cards to hybrid members and host an online lunch or trivia session, which in-person employees can access from their offices or cubicles. By changing the perks for the entire team, you can help team members feel included, whether they’re working from home or in the office.
2. Use communication platforms
Communication platforms can allow team members to talk to each other using text, voice and video in a single program. Using a program that offers different communication methods can make it easier for team members to host meetings, ask questions or collaborate on projects. It can also encourage a sense of community among team members who work in different locations by giving them a place to share images, discuss interests and plan virtual events.
3. Develop a schedule for in-person and remote work
If team members are working in different time zones or states, adjusting the team’s work hours can help their productivity. You might suggest that team members work during key hours in the middle of the business day or stagger work hours for team members in different time zones. That can ensure that there are several hours during the day when everyone is working at the same time and can collaborate on projects or attend meetings. Some hybrid teams work in the office on the same day every week, which can help team leaders plan training events and social gatherings.
4. Establish communication guidelines
Setting guidelines for communication can help everyone have the same expectations for email or chat response time when team members are working in different places. For example, you might ask team members to respond to any internal emails within one work day or chats within three hours. You might also develop a system that lets team members label their outgoing chat messages or emails based on urgency or request a certain response time. These guidelines can help team members prioritize their communication tasks, which can make collaboration more effective.
5. Define outcomes
One way to make a hybrid work from home model effective is to make sure team members know their responsibilities and understand how to measure success in their position. You might create a daily or weekly task requirement for an individual or team, listing duties or desired outcomes, and discuss the expectations with both in-person and remote employees. Consider using task management software that allows hybrid team members to measure their progress toward individual and team goals.
6. Lead frequent training sessions
Regular training can help team members succeed in a hybrid WFH model by reinforcing processes and giving team members an opportunity to ask questions. Consider hosting regular training sessions virtually so all team members can take part in the same sessions, allowing them to build relationships with each other as they develop their skills. You might create slide shows or videos explaining key concepts and procedures and store them on a team cloud drive, ensuring everyone can access training materials if they need them later.
7. Host virtual events
Celebrating birthdays, career milestones and finished projects in a virtual setting can help hybrid team members develop relationships with each other and can increase workplace satisfaction. You might plan weekly breakfast meetings where team members can chat casually about their hobbies and personal lives before beginning their work tasks. For more structured celebrations, you might use a trivia service, play an online game or watch a movie together from your own workspaces.
8. Meet with individual team members regularly
Meeting with team members for private training sessions and conferences can help you monitor their progress and ensure they’re meeting their requirements. It can also give you an opportunity to ask them for feedback about the hybrid model the team has adopted. You might use video conferencing software for all of your meetings with team members, whether they work in the office or remotely, to give each team member the same experience. Some video conferencing software allows you to add links and resources during a session, so you can share training materials and examples of projects in your meetings.