Well, it’s official. Hybrid working is now the new normal. There’s no doubt about that.
Thanks to the not-so-novel-anymore coronavirus pandemic, the good old workplace as we knew it is now a thing of the past.
Organizations that once cringed at the thought of letting their employees work from home are now at the frontline advocating for the same – encouraging their staff to execute their duties from the comfort of their homes and only report to the office on a need-to basis.
While the remote working trend is not entirely new in the corporate world, only a handful of organizations were toying with the idea way before the pandemic struck with most of them using it as a perk.
We’re proud to say we were one of those companies! We’ve been working remotely for years, with our team enjoying a great balance between work and personal life.
Remote working was largely considered a “luxury” and was only reserved for senior company executives who mostly spent their time shuttling between continents attending meetings and sealing multi-million dollar deals.
In 2020, all that changed. Remote working became a necessity – a survival tactic if you will. According to Forbes, hybrid working will be taking center stage in 2021 as more workers get accustomed to flexible working schedules.
By the close of the same year, remote working had become mainstream and it was expected to double in 2021, this is according to a survey conducted by Enterprise Technology Research.
And with over 70 percent of the workforce expected to work remotely at least five days a month by 2025, not everyone is fully on board or even excited at this new way of working. Actually, some employees are looking forward to going back to the office now that the global health crisis seems to be under control if the vaccine uptake is anything to go by.
However, the coast is not yet clear. Most health protocols still remain in force, which means not all organizations can readmit all their employees back to work.
This is where hybrid working comes in.
While remote working has its pros and cons, the hybrid working system is somewhat of a compromise where both employers and employees benefit from the new working arrangement.
If approached and deployed correctly, hybrid working could spur your organization’s growth tremendously. That’s not all. Your employees’ productivity will also get the much-needed boost not to mention enhanced work-life balance.
What Is Hybrid Working?
Hybrid working is simply a combination of working remotely and from the office. This relatively new style of working gives employees some kind of flexibility to execute their duties from pretty much anywhere including the office.
Since this trend is still in its infancy stage, there’s really no specific rule book to follow. Organizations that have integrated this work arrangement are, for the most part, trying out several hybrid working styles just to see which one suits their operations and employees.
If you are in the process of giving hybrid working a shot, feel free to give a few of these working styles a shot and see which one is the perfect fit.
Examples of Hybrid Working
1. Let your employees choose a hybrid working schedule: Depending on the number of employees, letting them choose which days they want to come to the office and which ones to work from home is probably a good place to start. This way you can closely monitor how tasks get done and which ones seem to be lagging behind. You can then make adjustments to ensure that everyone is in sync.
2. Let everyone work remotely: Have all employees operate away from the office – could be at home or at their favorite coffee shop on specific days of the week then agree on one day where everyone comes in for a team meeting.
3. Let some employees work on-site and others remotely: This will mostly depend on the type of work or duties each employee performs. Some duties will require employees to work from the office while others can be performed from pretty much anywhere as long as they have an internet connection. The beauty of this kind of arrangement is that you will always know who is on-site and who is working remotely. The downside is that those working on-site will not enjoy the same benefits as those working remotely.
4. All employees work on-site on some weekdays and remotely on other weekdays: You can pick which days of the week everyone comes to the office as well as work remotely.
rganizations are now taking hybrid working seriously in the wake of surging Covid-19 cases in different parts of the world. Earlier this year, search engine giant Google announced that it was planning to transition its workforce to a hybrid working model.
According to a study by the global staffing firm, Robert Half, a third of remote workers would quit and look for another job if asked to go back to the office full-time. The study also found that half of the respondents would prefer a hybrid work arrangement.
And even though remote working as a trend has now caught on, Microsoft research revealed that 67 percent of employees want more in-person time with their colleagues. This clearly shows that employees are still not yet ready to ditch on-site working altogether. The research also showed that 66 percent of business decision-makers were considering redesigning physical spaces to better accommodate hybrid work environments.
Need more examples to inspire your new office culture? Salesforce, our partner, found a way to keep employees safe, happy, and, better yet, drive even more equality in the workplace. Check out their story here.
The numbers pretty much speak for themselves. Hybrid working is here to stay and the sooner we embrace this emerging working culture, the sooner we shall get used to it.
How Can You Make Hybrid Working Work for You?
Most organizations approach hybrid working with caution given that it’s still relatively new and there’s no benchmark per se. Since there’s no blueprint or no rulebook to follow, you can create your very own hybrid work arrangement.
With hybrid working, at least for now, there’s only one rule: there are no rules. It’s a new thing so it would be a mistake to try and steal someone else’s take on it.
If you want to make it work, you will have to:
1. Create your own schedule that fits your organization and workforce size. Your schedule will also depend on the industry you are in as well as your day-to-day operations.
2. How flexible are you? Look at which departments are best suited for hybrid working and plan accordingly.
3. Employee wellbeing should be a top priority: Remote or hybrid working might sound cool as employees get to work from anywhere they want but the truth is, a good chunk of employees have had a fair share of mental issues.
Even as you deploy hybrid working, your employees’ well being should be on your radar. Attending to their concerns and responding appropriately can enhance your hybrid work arrangement a great deal.
4. Health and safety are key: Despite the ongoing Covid-19 vaccine rollout, your employees’ safety is paramount – whether they are working in the office or remotely. Ensure that the necessary health and safety precautions are still being met.
This will give your employees peace of mind and ultimately positively impact their work. According to a study, 73 percent of American workers reported that their top concerns for returning to work were air quality and adherence to health protocols.
As the big shift to hybrid working steadily takes shape, a seamless and painless transition will mainly depend on which solutions you choose. Without the right set of tools, hybrid working can be a nightmare.
Top Tools that Will Help You Transition to Hybrid Working Easily
The key to making hybrid working work is communication. To facilitate smooth collaboration and communication between remote teams, 57 percent of the companies surveyed by Statista have prioritized investing in collaboration tools.
Your employees need to be in touch with each other all the time regardless of where they are working from. To make communication and collaboration between teams super effective and consistent, you will need to integrate some collaboration tools that your hybrid workers can easily use to stay in touch with one another.
In no particular order, here are a few collaboration solutions that will enhance your hybrid working arrangement.
1. Trello: Arguably one of the most popular collaboration tools available today, Trello is super-efficient when it comes to helping teams – whether in the office or working remotely, constantly staying on top of tasks and projects. Trello is one of the most used solutions for remote/hybrid working globally.
2. Slack: A messaging tool that allows employees to conveniently communicate with each other regardless of their physical location. Employees can hold individual discussions or form teams and brainstorm ideas for upcoming projects.
3. Google Workspace: This is an essential tool that will help hybrid workers share company documents, create and edit using applications such as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and communicate using the chat.
4. Zoom: With physical meetings almost becoming extinct, video conferencing has now replaced face-to-face meetings. Even if we can meet in person, it’s often more convenient to schedule a Zoom call, especially if your team works remotely most of the time.
5. Zapier for apps connectivity: with Zapier, you can connect 3,000+ apps and save a lot of time on a lot of your everyday tasks.
6. Software Integration: This is another key component of hybrid working as it brings different automation solutions together, seamlessly enabling remote workers and teams to share crucial data across departments. For instance, organizations that use Salesforce and Mailchimp separately can integrate these two using SyncApps. This will help you eliminate endless hours of manual data entry, which is prone to serious errors by the way.
SyncApps Mailchimp for Salesforce integration allows bidirectional marketing automation for your sales and marketing teams. This enables the teams to be in sync at all times as well as effectively monitor campaigns.
When your team works remotely, it’s very important that all its members have access to the same data. With real-time sync, this integration keeps everyone on the same page, no matter where they are.
Here’s another example: organizations that use Dynamics 365 and Constant Contact separately can significantly boost their hybrid working arrangement by using SyncApps to bring these two solutions together.
The SyncApps Dynamics 365 and Constant Contact integration will help your hybrid teams to actively engage your prospects, clients, and partners in real-time, their physical location notwithstanding.
Hybrid working is here to stay even long after the global health crisis fades away. Employees and organizations now need to embrace this new working culture and make the best out of it.
However, hybrid working can only work if you have the right strategy and tools. Apart from the collaboration tools that will keep your hybrid teams connected and happy, integration is the ultimate glue that ties everything together and provides a conducive environment to deliver the organization’s objectives.