Following a pandemic that has transformed our habits and practices, solutions that were temporary at first are now being considered as potential permanent ones. Such examples are remote work or hybrid work, which allow for a certain flexibility.
But is this an opportunity or a challenge to productivity?
‘Hybrid work’ allows employees to do their work both remotely (at home, in a coffee shop, etc.) and at the office, according to a schedule that suits them and their employer. This allows for a certain flexibility at work while respecting schedules that facilitate communication.
To maximize success within your company, we offer you our comprehensive guide to hybrid work.
What is hybrid work?
Hybrid work is a way of dividing an employee’s work hours between the office and other workplaces: their home, cafés, cottages, campsites, etc.
The idea is to offer them flexibility and allow employees a better personal and professional life balance.
In fact, there are several types of hybrid work:
- 50/50 : 50% at home, 50% at the office
- 25/75 : 25% at home or at the office, and 75% of the time the other way around
- fixed days when employees are at the office or at home
- fixed weeks when employees are at the office or at home
The main thing is to have a simple and clear procedure that allows a healthy schedule management, both for the employees doing hybrid work and their colleagues!
Who is hybrid work for?
Some jobs are easier to switch to a hybrid mode than others. If your business is in the construction field, it will be very difficult to offer remote work to all your employees.
However, there is always a solution!
For example, a forestry engineer cannot do remote work instead of fieldwork, but they could do the planning and data analysis outside of the office.
The jobs most likely to suit hybrid work are in the administrative field, as well as software and computer work in general.
5 benefits of hybrid work for managers
As a business manager, you care about the well-being of the company, its growth and increase in value. But you may be wondering if your employees will actually be productive if they worked remotely.
Workleap LMS offers you 5 benefits of hybrid work that will show you the advantages of this type of operating (pssst… several of our employees work remotely, and even in different countries!).
If your employees love their job and you give them a reason to be motivated, they will use their time in an optimal manner and work when they are the most productive.
This means that you will have better results and complete your tasks faster.
When your employees are at the office, they are often interrupted for questions or comments, while at home they can filter and decrease unwanted interruptions.
Nothing beats the comfort of your own home and getting back into your habits. Being in their own environment can make your team more comfortable.
Spending less time in transit, playing music in the background, having their cat on their lap while working… these small things can weigh a lot when it comes to your employees’ mental health!
When we share common spaces with colleagues, we also share diseases. Being able to work remotely reduces risks and therefore sick leaves.
Furthermore, if an employee has symptoms but is still fit to work, they could stay home and continue working, without sharing any germs.
Saving on maintenance costs
Whether it’s electricity costs (fewer people on site, fewer computers and lights on) or rental spaces (since one office can be used by several employees), you can save big.
Do make sure that your employees are well set up and equipped to work, even from home!
You can hire anywhere in the world: some hidden talents may not be located in your city, so you will have to look further.
Or maybe your best employees are planning to relocate or travel the world. Why lose them when you can offer them what they want while keeping them on your team?
Setting up for successful hybrid work
As a business owner, how should you set up for hybrid work?
First of all, know that there is not only one way to do it, it all depends on you and, above all, on your teams.
Here are the steps to a successful balance between on-site and remote work:
1. Survey your employees
Your employees will ‘pay the price’ for your decisions, and, as you know, unhappy employees are not productive employees.
Ask your teams about their preference: do they prefer the 50/50 or the 25/75 models, fixed days at home or at the office or fixed weeks?
There are no set rules, it is up to you to create the rules that will suit your business!
Here are some questions you could ask:
- Do you have children, and if so, what time does school or daycare start?
- How far away from the company do you live, and how long does the commute take?
- Would you like to work remotely or on-site? How many hours per week?
- Are there specific days when you would prefer to work on-site or remotely?
You don’t have to create a schedule for each individual employee, of course (this would be a huge puzzle) but it is possible to do it by teams, departments, projects, etc.
It is up to you to see what suits you best in terms of management!
2. Offer the necessary equipment
You probably have an equipment budget for your business, it is time to use it!
Not all of your employees have a desk, a recent computer or a comfortable space where they can work properly.
Show them that you care about their well-being by offering :
- training on the correct posture when working on screens;
- training on managing distractions at home;
- an ergonomic computer, mouse and keyboard;
- a comfortable office chair;
- a mobile phone;
It all depends on your budget and the needs of each employee, both in their work and personal life.
Which brings us back to the first point ‘Survey your employees’. Do not hesitate to ask them what they think they need to do their work well.
3. Use a communication platform
Communication is key.
If messages do not get across or get across incorrectly, the job will not be done well.
Whether you use remote work or not, why not use an established software that will help you centralize communications?
At Workleap LMS, we offer the best remote work tools in Canada for managing:
- human resources;
- employee engagement;
- training and skill development;
A reliable tool ensures that you keep in touch with people, have regular project follow-up and can easily arrange everyone’s schedules.
4. Create a pleasant and efficient work environment in the office
After spending time apart, it is normal that some things become a little awkward and the relationship between employees becomes a little less natural.
Allowing employees to spend time together as part of their work is a great solution to not only reconnect but also take pleasure in participating in the development of the company.
Organizing focus groups, brainstorming sessions, mind mapping sessions are all informal training activities that you can carry out within your company in order to generate ideas and get your teams involved.
5. Get feedback on a regular basis
Needs change constantly, as you may know. That is why using a satisfaction questionnaire is an interesting tool - do it every quarter or every 6 months.
This can help you notice the evolution of your employees’ happiness level at work on different themes, and allow you to improve the aspects that they do not find optimal.
By offering anonymous surveys, you will get the pulse of the situation and could take the necessary steps to improve the employee experience of your teams!
Downsides of hybrid work
Obviously, no solution is perfect.
While hybrid work yields several benefits, it also sometimes leads to more complex situations to manage. By anticipating them, it will be easier to prevent inconveniences and find ways to compensate for them!
Here are some things to watch out for and some solutions to avoid them:
1. Fewer opportunities for advancement
When we spend less time working together, it is rare that we are aware of and exposed to others’ projects.
Your employees will have fewer chances to notice advancement opportunities within the company, and to advance in their careers.
The solution could be asking team leaders to organize daily or weekly meetings (such as Scrum, for example), where teams briefly discuss their current projects.
Not only can outsiders contribute ideas, if needed, but this also allows everyone to know what is going on in your company.
2. Little knowledge sharing
Whether you are onboarding a new employee or maintaining contact with existing employees, knowledge sharing is an essential part of remote work.
Your teams may feel neglected and unstimulated. This is why cultivating engagement remotely, through activities and a simple onboarding for new employees, are points to remember.
You could organize ‘lunch and learn’ activities, by bringing everyone together, in person or virtually.
Of course, these moments are precious and you could record them so that your employees could easily find the information.
A good knowledge management system is the cornerstone that will get everyone motivated to learn more.
3. A greater sense of isolation
People who work from home often experience isolation at work.
‘Clans’ can also form, as well as favoritism for employees working on-site, because they have the opportunity to chat with their managers more regularly.
Besides that, by being at home, alone, your employees may feel unmotivated or less supported by their colleagues.
Whether in person or remote, communication breaks isolation at work. It is a major element to consider when setting up hybrid work in your business.
Communicate your company’s mission, its objectives, etc. If your employees don’t know WHY they are doing something, their motivation, and therefore productivity, will gradually decrease.
How can an LMS support hybrid work?
An online Learning management system (LMS) helps share knowledge and procedures easier and according to the employees’ pace.
They feel less overloaded with information and are more willing to check data in the application rather than bother a colleague.
Everyone can follow the same training without having to travel at all! Your on-site teams and your remote teams can carry out their daily work without having to schedule meetings and rent rooms.
Start planning hybrid work and remote training in your organization today : request your free Workleap LMS demo!