Toward a new work environment with the Hybrid model

Toward a new work environment with the Hybrid model

Looking back a few decades in history shows us that crises have often offered unexpected benefits for societies and countries. [1] The 2008 global financial crisis led the major economies to come together and form the G-20 to make common decisions and commitments. In 2010, Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico forced engineers to work together and develop a new technology able to contain the spill. This technology is now used all around the globe. Wars, natural disasters, recessions… all traumatic events that eventually led to new cooperative behaviors or even to the creation of new systems or structures.  

“Sometimes the world needs a crisis to turn challenges into opportunities” [1]

The 2019 COVID pandemic killed millions worldwide, disrupted global exchanges, prevented free travels, confined people to their homes and forced them to reimagine their interactions with others. With most employees having to stay home for more or less extensive periods of time, the work organization was shattered and companies had to come up with new work models to keep their business running. Today, employees’ expectations have changed and companies have to decide what their new normal will be.


EMPLOYEES’ NEW EXPECTATIONS: WORK-LIFE BALANCE, HEALTHY WORK CULTURE AND FLEXIBILITY [2]

Forced to work from home, employees have had to rethink their personal and professional organization. For many, once the struggles of the lack of space and technology issues resolved, came the realization that they could work differently. When asked about the most important factors when picturing the ideal company, employees ranked work-life balance, work culture and workplace flexibility as their top three priorities.


After the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic, workers value time with family and friends, traveling, and “disconnecting” from work more than ever. They are also looking for companies promoting a healthy work culture, meaning companies supporting teams to be better equipped and prepared to handle challenges, manage change and build strong professional relationships. Last but not least, with less distractions and reduced commute, workers feel more in control of their work and schedule - being able to work remotely few days a week is becoming more and more important to them.



“80% of employees want to work at least two days remotely per week” [3]

 

THE BENEFITS OF HYBRID WORK MODEL 

What started as a challenge, became for many employers a real opportunity to rethink and improve their work organization. Multiple surveys and reports [4],[5], show how remote and hybrid work had a positive impact on companies’ performances and their employees well-being. Just to list a few, here are four benefits of a hybrid work model. 


* Happier and more engaged employees

Hybrid work models give employees more freedom and flexibility, therefore increasing their level of  work-life satisfaction. Being empowered, employees tend to be more engaged and perform better. In April 2022, a Stanford study [6] within a large multinational randomized 3-2 hybrid Work From Home vs 5 days per week in the office for 1600 professional graduate employees - they noticed a 35% reduction in quit rates and 12% reduction in sick leave for the same level of performance. The results were so positive that the firm immediately rolled-out the hybrid WFH model to all divisions of the company.


* Improved company culture

Quality vs quantity. While coming less often to the office, employees tend to be more motivated and engaged when on-site. Dedicating these days to specific big team meetings, relationship building, or company-wide events; employees will be more inclined to contribute to the company’s mission and culture.


* More efficient workplaces and lower operational costs

A hybrid work model means fewer people on-site on any given day. A 2020 Microsoft study [7] shows that  56% of workplace leaders anticipate saving on costs due to reducing their physical workplace footprint. Companies also start rethinking the office space, creating more purposeful areas with comfortable couches for casual coffee chats, phone booths for 1-1 meetings, or quiet spaces. 

* Wider talent pools

Remote and hybrid work models also make it easier for companies to attract more skilled and diverse employees across multiple geographies than those without one. This is particularly the case with employees who have skills that are in high demand, such as tech workers, as their jobs can typically be performed remotely with ease. [8]



“Hybrid work model as a way to attract and retain talent”


KEY ELEMENTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HYBRID MODEL [9]

As much as a hybrid work schedule may appear as the win-win model and the future of the workplace, it doesn’t fit all industries and also requires a real commitment within the company. Here are four key elements to a successful implementation of a hybrid model:

* Create a policy that fits your company

There are multiple ways to offer a hybrid work schedule - fix or flexible days to go to the office? How often? Once, twice, three days a week? These are important decisions to make and explain to all employees. The clearer the policy, the easier it will be to implement it. 


* Provide your employees the right technology and equipment to succeed

Regardless of what hybrid model you choose, your workforce should be able to seamlessly work between the home and the office. Ensure you’ve provided high-quality video and audio equipment,  as well as communication tools like Zoom or  Slack so your employees can stay connected and collaborate with each other no matter where they’re located.


* Build training and development into your hybrid working model

Hybrid working will bring new demands on your workforce, bringing unique challenges that they have likely not faced before. One area to pay particular attention to is developing skills to ensure that effective communication, performance management, and team building are in place.


 * Promote honest communication and transparency

Giving your employees the opportunity to engage, speak up and provide feedback will help you evaluate their level of satisfaction and their needs. 


With crisis come new opportunities - We are today at the dawn of a new work environment era with employees’ well-being at its center. 



[1] ttps://www.brookings.edu/research/sometimes-the-world-needs-a-crisis-turning-challenges-into-opportunities


[2] https://www.oysterhr.com/library/key-takeaways-from-our-2022-employee-expectations-report


[3] https://www.ey.com/en_gl/workforce/work-reimagined-survey

 

[4] https://envoy.com/blog/pros-and-cons-of-hybrid-work


[5] https://www.bcg.com/publications/2020/the-path-to-remote-working-maturity


[6] https://nbloom.people.stanford.edu/sites/g/files/sbiybj4746/f/berkeleyv5_0.pdf

[7] https://d1c25a6gwz7q5e.cloudfront.net/reports/2020-11-09-workplace-whitepaper-FINAL.pdf


 [8] https://www.parallels.com/blogs/ras/hybrid-working-model


[9] https://www.breathehr.com/en-gb/blog/topic/remote-working/how-to-successfully-implement-a-hybrid-working-model

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