What does a Hybrid Office of the Future look like?

With the pandemic now slowly receding and humans adapting to the new normal, a lot of workspaces and other spheres have changed their way of operation. Since the pandemic had struck, employees have receded back permanently into remote ways of working. Now, as the companies slowly decide to find out the best way forward for their workers, it seems very clear that not all employees would like to go completely remote. So what is the way ahead? According to a survey by Stanford, 55% of US workers responded that they want a mix of office work and work from home. While companies are trying to manage in different ways, it is clear that the future of work is certainly hybrid. Companies are trying to become more flexible in their way of working, read this blog to find out more about what does a hybrid office of the future look like.  

What is Hybrid Working? 

Hybrid working is a way of working that combines both remote and in-office working in a defined balance. Companies are beginning to implement a mix of workplace policies where employees—be that some, or all—are allowed to work from home, in the office, at a different location, or a variation on a daily or weekly basis. Hybrid work tends to include more freedom around when to work as well as where. It generally grants more autonomy to employees to fit work around the rest of their lives, rather than structuring other parts of a weekday around hours logged in an office. Ideally, it’s the best of both worlds: structure and sociability on one hand, and independence and flexibility on the other.  

The different types of Hybrid Workplaces 

In any form of corporate culture, Hybrid Workplaces are generally of the following types: 

  1. One day in a week: This could be one day a week working remotely or one day a week working in the office.  
  1. Particular Days: A common process for existing ‘hybrid companies’ is to assign certain days for in-office meetings and collaboration, and remote days for work involving individual tasks. 
  1. Fully flexible: Employees can work from wherever they feel is the best, as long as their work is being done effectively and on-time.  
  1. Hot-Desking: This model implies that employees need to book an on-site desk in advance. They have control over when they come in, but it also depends on availability. 
  1. Only when necessary: Employees are only required to come on-site when they are needed in-person, like when they’re hosting a client. This sometimes takes the form of an ‘on-call’ model. 

Top Businesses that have adopted the Hybrid Working Model 

A survey by Xerox says that 82% of the workforce in 600 organizations will be back in their physical workplaces in 1-1.5years. Here are a few of the top business houses that have adopted the hybrid working model in their day to day functioning: 

  1. GoogleGoogle was one of the first companies to announce that employees might continue working from home until July 2021. During an interview with Time Magazine, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said that several factors informed the decision and many of them had to do with employee well-being. 
  1. Microsoft: Microsoft has announced that part of its hybrid strategy is to permanently offer employees greater flexibility once the outbreak subsides. They ‘recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution’ and have adopted a hybrid strategy that includes guidance around remote work, flexible working hours, and benefits. 
  1. Kissflow: Kissflow, a digital workplace services provider, has introduced a mixed working model called REMOTE+. This mixes three weeks of working from anywhere with one week of in-office work. The company pays for accommodation costs for the office week and encourages employees to return home for the other three. 

How should you prepare for a Hybrid Workplace?

  1. Outline a hybrid work policy

Make it known which members of the company can work from home. Perhaps new employees are required to work in the office for the first 30 days to facilitate their onboarding? Maybe some positions cannot be remote? Whatever the answers to these questions are, make sure to add them to your policy. When you are setting up your remote office, are you planning to have employees work three days from home and two days in the office? List out all of the possible scenarios and make sure to include guidelines for each item in your policy.

2. Revise office space to meet working goals

Do you need a larger office if your employees are going to come for only one day in a week or a few days in a month? Most probably not. This requires you to manage your existing physical office spaces in the most efficient way to be able to accommodate your employees. Explore the reasons why you want to have a hybrid office in the first place and revise your setup to meet the working goals of your company.

3. Invest in right tools and technology to support your hybrid model

What are the tools you need to invest into to allow your team to work remotely, efficiently and productively? Make sure to avail remote computers and office computers for your employees. Invest in an applicant tracking system, that can help your company carry out its recruiting process in the best way remotely. AviaHire’s Applicant Tracking System allows your company to carry out all stages of recruitment, right from Sourcing to Onboarding, all of it remotely.

4. Utilize room booking systems and Video Conferencing

Co-located workers should also effectively use office technology. Video conferencing should be utilized as much as possible to keep the co-located teams on the same page with those that are remote. Room booking and usage systems should also be a priority as teams in the office will get the most use out of them.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Hybrid Office

Hybrid offices can boost employee productivity and happiness — which leads to talent retention and overall well-being. Workers aren’t trapped in cubicles or overwhelmed by open-plan offices; they’re empowered to use different spaces based on their task, mood, or style. Hybrid offices also utilize mobile technology and cloud-based software, which can make it easier for employees to have flexible hours or work remotely.

This is often a benefit, encouraging better work-life balance. But it can also blur the lines between work and personal life, setting the expectation that employees should be available at all times. An effective hybrid office finds a happy medium between workplace flexibility and 24/7 office hours.

In Short

With the current scenario worldwide, Hybrid workplace is here to stay. Rethinking practices of organizations and suiting them as per the changes in the workplace culture is the need of the hour. As of today, workplaces might be reopening but it is important to maintain social distancing measures for everyone. Keeping health and safety in mind, a hybrid office might be the right choice for your business.

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