What Many Enterprise Leaders Get Wrong About the Hybrid Work Model
The hybrid work model has emerged as an unexpected improvement for Indian workers. What started as a forced adjustment due to the lockdown has turned into a movement that has 90% of office workers keen on maintaining a hybrid work model even after the pandemic. While both employees and businesses have been enjoying several benefits of remote work, many enterprise leaders still get a few things wrong about this setup. These misconceptions can be costly over time as it looks like this model is here to stay. To ensure you don’t get left behind, read on.
The Hybrid Work Model
For the uninitiated, this model divides teams between working on-premise and remotely. For example, the marketing team could be working remotely but the sales crew would have to come to the office every morning. Executives can designate certain positions as fully-remote, or they can be completely in-house as well. This depends upon the nature of the work. While this model of work helps companies cut costs, many feel that it may impact overall productivity.
Hybrid Is Different From A Flexible Work Style
In the hybrid model, some designations will work remotely permanently, while others will be at the office. In the flexible work style, all your employees split their time working remotely at times, and working at the office during other times. A recent survey by Gartner showed that there are 7 prevailing myths about hybrid workplaces in the minds of enterprise leaders. Let’s explore some of these myths and uncover the reality of the situation.
“Our Existing Remote Work Strategy Will Work for A Hybrid Workforce”
The issue with this is that most current strategies view remote working as a temporary occurrence. Due to this, existing policies are vague and not strong enough to drive performance and productivity in the long run. It’s assumed that everyone will work from the office again once the pandemic comes to an end. The reality is that most employees will work remotely at some point in time even post-pandemic.
What leaders must understand is that a true hybrid workforce model dovetails into the company’s business objectives. Therefore, enterprises must restructure their strategy with a fresh outlook towards the hybrid style. They have to figure out the correct combination for their departments that will boost productivity and engagement. Do this after analyzing the best place to get work done for each job role.
“Employees are Less Productive Outside the Office”
Many executives believe that working together in a physical space fosters collaboration and creates an office culture. But data shows that remote workers report higher performances than normal. Surely, this must mean collaboration is happening! What leaders must focus on is enhancing their productivity within this model. You could allow employees to take home equipment, supply them with tools, and help them upskill in areas such as adaptability and self-motivation.
To monitor progress, have one-on-one meetings along with reports. Ensure there’s open communication between management and employees to discuss assignments, expectations, ask for advice, and solve challenges together.
“Hybrid Workforce Models Hurt Diversity”
This myth is easy to bust as hybrid workforce models make it easier to hire a more diverse talent pool. Using technology, remove subconscious bias in recruitment, development, and performance management to strengthen your DEI strategy. This approach will ensure you employ diverse candidates either way. Also, many studies show that remote working, when enhanced with the right infrastructure, has benefited women workers.
What you can do is make incremental changes in the way you conduct your daily activities. For example, ensure everyone is heard in the virtual meeting, listen to employees, and keep asking for feedback.
“We Need to Closely Monitor and Measure What Employees Are Doing”
As we’ve explained, WFH has positively impacted worker productivity. This is an opportunity to focus on consistency over the amount of work done. Leaders and HR should create a set of parameters to judge the success of the hybrid model in their office based on outcomes. That will help understand whether this model is working, and where you should improve it.
“Our Jobs Can’t Be Done Remotely”
Some leaders think that many jobs aren’t suitable for remote work. Gartner suggests a scale with ‘fully portable’ being on one end, and ‘fully non-portable’ being on the other. Some jobs are fully portable, others are fully non-portable, and many have a mix of both kinds of tasks. Instead of generalizing, look at the different components of the job role and see which tasks fall where on this scale, and decide the apt mix.
“A Hybrid Workforce Model Duplicates Our IT Infrastructure”
In the study, 70% of infrastructure and operations employees felt that this model was at odds with infrastructural needs for reliability and efficiency. But this mindset cramps agility. To cope with change, organizations have to be able to continuously change their strategies and infrastructures.
To do this, executives can define the specific requirements, such as minimum download and upload speeds, and provide those to their workers. Create solutions that help your employees optimize their performance. Invest in cloud-based services. These are reliable and provide services regardless of worker location.
“We Need In-Person Contact to Sustain Our Culture”
Many executives feel that a lack of contact in person will deteriorate the corporate culture of their workplace and curb ownership. Realistically speaking, values are changing and companies must be ready to shift with those. The most important cultural values today are collaboration, trust, and agility – and these don’t relate to a physical location. Leaders can foster virtual gatherings, encourage employees to use formal and informal networks, and more, to upkeep a feeling of unity among employees.
If enterprise leaders can change their mindsets about the hybrid work model and implement some of these suggestions, they’ll be ready to take on the new world. That apart, smart facility management apps like SeQure will help them manage their distributed workplace.