June 12, 2023

The Ultimate Hybrid Workplace Checklist: Building Success in the New Era of Work

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With online connectivity becoming more stable, smoother and efficient, long-distance communication is no longer an issue. This fact affects how businesses work nowadays; the old ways are slowly disappearing — the ship is sailing away, and the train is leaving the station. What sparked this change was the Covid-19 pandemic. When the pandemic swept across the world, businesses were forced to switch to and adopt hybrid work schedules to survive and continue operating during the pandemic. With that, employees' found hybrid work schedules are more liberating and offer flexibility since they are longer have to commute and rush for the rigid nine-to-six schedule, and just as efficient, if not more. 

A Buffer report for this year's work-from-home survey found that 98% of employees preferred hybrid work schedules. This is because it allows them to rotate between working from home and working from an office. with 91% perceiving work from home as a positive experience. However, to create an efficient, productive and positive work-from-home experience, there are a few matters you have to observe and set up. To that end, we have prepared a hybrid workplace checklist.

Though employees are returning to the office in droves, hybrid work schedules remain the preferred mode and are becoming the norm for remote-capable roles due to the fact hybrid work schedules can meet both employers' and employees’ needs if done right

Why Should You Adopt Hybrid Work Schedules?

Hybrid work schedules offer agile and flexible work schedules that allow employers and employees to have a work-life balance as well as increased productivity, engagement, burnout mitigation and satisfaction at the workplace. 

In addition to that, hybrid work schedules are also excellent for businesses because they will help reduce office costs, promote diversity, attract new talent and reduce turnover rates.

Long-Term Vision for Hybrid Work Schedules

To ensure hybrid work schedules are executed effectively and their benefits are fully reaped, you will need to have a long-term vision for how to deliver productive, intelligent and agile workplace experiences beyond the office’s walls. 

When planning for hybrid work schedules, you should consider:

  • Developing new hybrid policies, strategies and employee support. 
  • Translating managers, shareholders and employees' roles into the hybrid model
  • The best communication/collaboration strategies and tools for hybrid work environments.
  • Consider the long-term implications of hybrid work schedules will have on your company’s culture, employees’ well-being and technology.

Executing Hybrid Work Schedules

1) Addressing Employees’ Concerns 

When transitioning to hybrid work schedules, one of the main considerations is your employees — especially if most of the employees in your company are made of the Boomer generation. 

Baby boomers' reluctance probably stems from their preference to communicate face-to-face instead of online messaging or video calls. Hence the reason why they will need some reassurance and training on how to use collaboration tools before they can feel comfortable and confident working remotely. 

To address such employees’ concerns, when drafting the hybrid policies for your company, make sure to include a sentiment checklist to gauge and address their concerns. The sentiment checklist can include the following examples: 

  • The hybrid work strategy, schedules, and proposed new hybrid
  • A company-wide survey to gather employee feedback on your new hybrid plans

In the feedback survey, you can include questions such as: 

  • Are you interested in working in a hybrid work model?
  • How would you describe your ideal office environment?
  • Which activities do you think are more suitable for in-office work?
  • Which activities do you believe are better suited for remote work?
  • How frequently would you like to be present in the office?
  • Are there specific days that you think are more suitable for remote work or office work?
  • Is having a personal desk a necessity for you?
  • Would you prefer the concept of hot desking?
  • Should all meetings be conducted in person?
  • Do you think there is a need for agile working setups?
  • Are there any employee activities that you think the organization should support?
  • What is the importance of rewards and office perks in your opinion?

2) Choosing The Suitable Hybrid Work Schedule for Your Company

There are several different hybrid work schedules that companies may adopt and use, such as remote first, scheduled hybrid and synchronised hybrid. To determine which hybrid work schedule works best for your company: 

  • Verify if your employees spend most of their working days in the office, at home or balanced.
  • Employees' work preferences from your sentiment survey feedback.

Remote First

Employees work in the office for a set number of days per week and work remotely for the rest of the week. 

Scheduled Hybrid

A team of employees will have a reserved desk space in an office. However, employees of the said team still have the flexibility to move between working from home and working in the office. In addition to that, this mode of hybrid work schedules provides an option to set a fixed day to work from home and how many days they are expected to be in the office. For example, it can set that Friday as a work-from day for all employees. 

Synchronised Hybrid

A synchronised hybrid work schedule is where every employee is expected to be in the office with a synchronised schedule. Leaders and managers can track the visibility by using tools such as Google Sheets as a scheduling tool. 

3) Hybrid Work Laws and Policies

Before implementing hybrid work schedules, you will need to figure out the hybrid laws and policies. This can be done by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Will you provide reimbursement/allowance/compensation for the necessary equipment for your employees, such as a laptop, headsets, internet, mobile phone, desk, chair, mouse, and keyboard?
  • Are the reimbursements tax-deductible, and is transportation covered for primary remote employees when they travel to the office?
  • Should your remote employees be provided with health insurance?
  • What types of insurance do you need to safeguard your business from potential liabilities?
  • Do you need to ensure work-from-home safety compliance?
  • Are there any overtime laws that your business should comply with?
  • Can your operations extend to global locations where your remote employees are based?

On top of that, you also need to think about hybrid policies that will accommodate the new hybrid work schedules plan, such as:

  • Which expenses are considered eligible for reimbursement, and which employees qualify for these payments?
  • Is there an employee code of conduct that applies to both remote and office-based work?
  • Are there any stipends being offered, and are they equally distributed among in-office and remote workers?
  • Could you provide guidelines and etiquette rules regarding desk sharing, particularly for systems like hot desking?

4) Communication Challenges That Might Arise

One of the most prevalent issues for companies that have adopted hybrid work schedules is communication challenges. As an employer, you will need to think of a tool and platform that every employee can access and easily use. 

For example, when you moved both files and communication online, you can use tools such as Slack, Discord or Google Docs to facilitate smooth online communication among employees. 

When there is a need for collaboration, practise hybrid meetings and make them a norm for your company — hybrid meetings can be conducted based on the number of employees involved in the collaboration. You can utilise collaboration tools such as Monday and Zoom to enable optimal collaboration. 

5) Choosing Hybrid Work Schedules Software

To create an efficient and productive hybrid work schedule, you will need to invest in software that is suitable to your company and employees' hybrid work schedules. For example, you may need hot desking software such as Yeastar to prevent overlapping hot desk booking and low remote employees visibility. Collaborative tools such as Monday will allow employees that are in the office and working remotely to collaborate on the same project in real-time. 

6) On-Site Space Management

The core idea of a hybrid workplace is that your employees only come into the office on certain days, while on other days they’ll working from home. However, this can be an issue if your company doesn’t have any space to accommodate the whole team. You can tackle this issue by grouping your employees by project, team or needs;

  • Team A will only come into the office on Monday and Tuesday. 
  • Team B will only come into the office on Wednesday and Thursday.

By rotating the schedule, you will not only be able to provide a fair work schedule but also sufficient workspace when your employees need to collaborate on a project together in the office.

7) Managing Hybrid Work Schedule Rotations  

Since on-site space management is related to hybrid work schedule rotations, you can add a few more steps as a solution that will help both space management and schedule rotation issues. 

  • Identify the number of employees that are required to be present in the office every day, such as the front desk employees. 
  • Create a list of hybrid work schedules with merits and demerits and how they will impact both your employees and business.

8) Design Training and Development Plans for Hybrid Work Place Managers

The hybrid workplace and schedule without a doubt comes with its own set of new challenges that managers have to face. To ensure managers will able to tackle these new challenges effectively, employers will want to provide managers with training and development plans that will equip them with the required skills, such as to facilitate efficient collaboration, effective communication between in-office employees and remote employees, team building and performance management. 

Towards a Hybrid Future

Progressing forward toward a hybrid workplace is no easy task post-pandemic. However, by taking the necessary steps and considering the elements mentioned in this article, you as a manager or leader of a company can move the company’s hybrid workplace towards the right direction. 

Besides that, you also should start aligning the company’s leadership with employees so that everyone can be on the same page regarding what to expect; due date, project time, and many more. 

In addition to aligning understanding, it is also important to assess the current maturity level of your company and employees, which will help you to plot as you move forward with a hybrid workplace and invest in leadership to smoothen future journeys.

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