Let's talk about hybrid work.
The traditional 9 to 5 work philosophy is up for debate these days and with good reason. The aftermath of Covid-19 is resulting in organizations becoming more flexible to meet the demands of employees who want more time to create a better work-life balance. This could require new initiatives and organizational restructuring but is it worth the effort.
Let us tell you why.
What is hybrid work?
There is not an exact definition of the combined word: hybrid work, but it is a combination of the words:
Hybrid meaning "a thing made by combining two different elements"
And work "an activity, such as a job".
The term hybrid work was made during the corona lockdown, where the two combined elements were (1) working remotely and (2) working at the office. This could be employees with one workday at home per week or only one day in the office per week - and everything in between.
Trust is the key to hybrid work
If you want to have a successful hybrid working environment, you need trust. Leaders must believe that the employees, they have hired, are able to hold ambitious standards of work ethics at home. If there is a lack of trust within the organization, then even the best hybrid work models will fail to deliver results.
The most important task for management is to recruit the right people to do a task, which will yield a positive impact on the organization. When the right people are selected, the management should work to remove friction from employees - making it as easy as possible to do the tasks, that have a positive impact on your organization.
Sounds quite simple, but it isn't.
Let employees choose how they want to work
If the task of management is to hire the right people and remove friction. Then a brilliant way to start is to ask your employees, how they ideally would like to work.
- Some employees might be happy being at the office from 9 to 5 - great! Then you know, how to satisfy these employees
- Other employees might want 1 or 2 days at home to focus on tasks, which require a deeper level of concentration. With this knowledge, you could remove friction for these employees - i.e. not being able to concentrate deeply in the office
- Workers who have children might want to leave work early so they have time to pick up their kids and get chores done at home. They might be willing to put in a few hours in the evening after their kids have gone to bed
- There are also people that work best from home, only getting to the office for social gatherings or important sessions
The point is, that a hybrid work environment is best practiced being an active choice for employees. If employees feel that they can design their work to fit their needs, it could bring tremendous value to the organization. But keep in mind that it has to be an option. One way of organizing a hybrid work schedule might be the right for one, but not for everyone.
What should you be aware of?
Changes in an organization are often followed by positive and negative consequences. This is the same with hybrid working initiatives. If you choose to have more flexibility in your organization, you miss out on other important things.
Tacit knowledge is difficult to distribute
Tacit knowledge is the unspoken knowledge possessed by your employees based on previous experiences and learnings. It is tacit because oftentimes, you do not think about this knowledge in your daily work-life. This knowledge only becomes visible to your organization once you interact with other employees.
You might talk about a problem during lunch with another employee, where you have the perfect solution because you have already experienced the same problem somewhere else.
This kind of knowledge is difficult in a hybrid environment because social interactions are limited.
Social interaction in the organization will be limited
If your employees choose to work from home - then social interaction between colleagues is limited. This means you will have to work harder to stay in touch with your co-workers and find social alternatives if you want to keep a good social environment in the organization.
This could be setting up social events outside of work, where employers and employees have a chance to talk to each other. We have seen examples of companies doing social activities on teams, such as exercising or playing games.
What are the benefits of hybrid working?
There are many benefits from having a hybrid work environment and being able to work from anywhere.
Recruitment with less limitation
Think about all the brilliant talent you could bring into your organization if you were not limited by the physical location of your office. You could bring in people with the specific talents you are seeking, and they could optimize your organization from their homes. This requires a well-functioning hybrid work environment, but once you have that figured out - the world is your oyster.
Fewer desks - more social space
In a hybrid work environment, the purpose of our offices is up for debate. The lengthy line of office desks is no longer necessary when some of your employees are doing tasks at home. There will, of course, be a need for fixed office locations. But you will have the option to re-think your facilities. Create more social spaces instead of desks, or better meeting room facilities for internal and external use.
How AskCody helps create a flexible hybrid work environment
At AskCody we are working to create the future of workspaces by optimizing facility usage and minimizing friction when using office resources. If you want to learn more about how we envision a modern workspace - feel free to read here.
One of the ways we do this, is by making it easy for employees to book meetings, desks, and everything related to these activities - such as ordering catering, digitalizing visitor management, analyzing facility usage, and much more.
Our features such as meeting booking and desk booking make it easier to create a hybrid work environment because employees can book office resources directly from their Outlook calendar. This optimizes the usage of office facilities while giving in-office and remote employees an overview of who is currently working.
If you want to learn more about our features. Check it out here.