A hybrid work setup is where members of an organization (usually remote) are required to meet in person on a regular basis, e.g. once per quarter.
Remote work or telecommuting (often shortened to telework or home office) means that employees can perform their jobs at least part of the time away from the employer’s office, either by working mainly remotely or with some meetings and interaction with others at offsite locations. Some organizations now encourage or even require this kind of workstyle if possible.
How is a hybrid setup different than remote work?
The difference between these two concepts is subtle, most remote work does not require employees to meet physically at all, but hybrid (or co-presence) does. Additionally, some organizations using a hybrid work setup also allow their employees to work remotely too.
Why should I do it?
Doing this increases communication efficiency and company loyalty while providing economic benefits. It is highly recommended to make sure your organization is ready for remote working before doing so. You can ask yourself these questions:
Am I able to hire people remotely? Would my team be OK with working in the same office while having other people work remotely? How many meetings are there per week? If everyone works from home/remotely how would that affect the number of weekly meetings? How will communication happen if it’s not face-to-face?
How do I implement this in my company?
A lot of work has to be done before trying a hybrid working mode, especially when the company is not used to remote work. Here are some recommendations:
- Create a culture where face-to-face communication is important and beneficial (obviously).
- Let everyone know that you will add an extra day per quarter where they’ll need to travel somewhere (ideally abroad for international companies) and spend time with their co-workers.
- Implement online tools like Slack, Google Drive/Docs, Hangouts etc.
- Make sure your legal team approves of your employees working remotely (especially in the EU).
- Be sure that trust between co-workers is strong.
- Keep in mind that not all positions are suited for remote work, some examples are customer-facing positions or jobs where you need to be on hand at any moment.
- Set up an easy way of tracking hours worked remotely. It doesn’t have to be heavy since most companies can’t afford to hire someone full-time just for this role, but it has to be something reliable enough so your team doesn’t get angry with you.
What organizations are fit for remote working?
Remote working isn’t suitable for all types of businesses and even if it was, not all employees would want to work remotely. Here are a few things to look out for when deciding whether your business is cut out for remote work:
- The type of product/service your company sells – if your company is 100% service-oriented, with the majority of communication happening on phone calls or in-person meetings, it’s not suitable for remote work.
- Whether creating physical products or not – manufacturing companies are very hard to set up remotely since employees have to be near their workplace at all times due to production schedules, other types of companies are more flexible when it comes to where employees do their work.
- How many people work there – obviously the bigger your team is the harder it will be to implement this change and keep everyone happy and productive (will cover that later).
- Geographical location – some positions don’t work well in remote settings, for example, in some European countries there is a law that requires employees to be at the workplace, and for others, the employer must pay more than normal if they want their employees to travel.
What organizations benefit from hybrid working?
This new working style benefits everyone: companies, employees, and society as a whole. Here’s why:
- More efficient communication
- It provides flexibility for those who want it, but also team cohesion – many employees working remotely can cause some difficulties when you need them all in one place (e.g monthly company meeting), but you don’t want your entire team to travel for this meeting either.
- It gives employees the freedom of choosing where they want to work – some people like working from home, but others prefer cafes or co-working spaces. This also allows them to get out of the house and socialize more often (social isolation is a real problem nowadays).
- Financial benefits – having an employee working remotely can be a big cost-saver in many areas: rent, commuting costs, office supplies. And with so many companies going global in today’s interconnected world, sometimes it makes sense just to have one person stationed at HQ while everyone else is remote since it saves money on transportation for meetings and such.
- Talent retention – some people are simply not cut out to work in an office, so being able to provide them with a remote position is more beneficial since they are not willing or are incapable of doing something else.
- Fits into the new model of flexible working – it’s great for millennial employees who want the freedom of not having to sit at their desk all day, but also provides enough structure and oversight that is required by most companies today.
How to implement a hybrid working mode in your company?
Since this can be quite challenging for many teams, here are some tips on how to make it work without too many hiccups:
- Make sure you have tech tools ready before implementing this new working style – there are many practical things that will help you keep control of what your employees do, for example, Trello boards to assign tasks and track their progress, Scrum software to manage all the team’s workflow, Google Docs.
- Team leaders should be proactive – make sure every single one of your team members has some duties assigned to them besides working on their very particular area of expertise (for example project management). That way you don’t end up having multiple people doing the same thing.
- Don’t forget about culture fit – if not implemented correctly this can cause serious problems in the company’s work ethic. Make sure everyone agrees with these new changes starting anything new or restructuring how the team works.
- Infrastructure is key – make sure your company provides you with all the equipment you’ll need, whether it’s a laptop or phone, don’t expect employees to provide their own devices just to work remotely (you should be paying them enough anyway).
- The customer always comes first – even though your employees are working remotely, they still need to answer calls and respond to customers quickly. If you think this will cause problems for any of your team members, try teaching them how to communicate effectively using Slack channels, video conferences, etc.
What organizations are fit for remote working?
There are many types of businesses that would benefit from having at least some employees working remotely:
- Freelancers or agencies – these companies usually have many clients all over the world, so having remote employees means they will save money on rent and transportation costs.
- Consulting firms – this way you can employ an entire team based in one location while outsourcing specific tasks to people living in other countries where it’s much cheaper to operate businesses this way.
- Design & development studios – working remotely is especially beneficial when your studio also consists of freelancers who are scattered across different time zones. ShareDesk was created specifically for this reason to help design teams find places where they can work together.
- Companies with multiple big offices – if your company has multiple big offices around the globe it makes sense to build a virtual communication network between them where employees can communicate more easily.
- Companies with a lot of remote work – try to implement some sort of communication system between your global offices and your teams working from home, at least a few times a year you should have virtual meetings with everyone to catch up on what they’re doing and build new connections.
- Any company that wants their team to be more efficient – if you want your team to be closer or simply get better results, going for a hybrid setup is one of the top choices you can make today!
There are many benefits to having a hybrid working setup. Hybrid working is a great option for companies with employees spread across different time zones since they can connect more easily. Working in this way helps companies reduce the costs of renting office space and hiring people locally, while also helping them build better relationships with their team to increase productivity.
Hybrid working is all about your company having some employees that work remotely while the rest of your team works in an office. This means that to make it work you’ll need to:
1. Communicate frequently and accurately
Make sure all your employees know what’s going on and that you’re always in touch with everyone, avoid silos within your teams.
2. Maintain a good company culture
No matter how many members of your team work remotely, make sure they feel like part of the same team and not like second-class citizens (make them feel special).
3. Make sure everything is trackable
Many remote workers are way more productive, so you don’t want to lose them because of bad communication. Make sure all the important tasks are trackable through time tracking software or apps like Toggl to breathe easy.
4. Show employees your trust
Trusting your employees is one of the most important factors in keeping them happy and wanting to work for your company. If you already have remote employees, make sure to hire more people who are willing to work remotely.
5. Make sure employees can communicate easily
This means clear communication on virtual platforms like Slack or Skype, as well as making sure you’ve hired enough people with excellent communication skills (if your current team doesn’t suffice, hire more people until you have enough).
6. Make proper decisions
Even though your team is spread throughout different time zones, make sure everyone gets a chance to voice their opinions on major company decisions no matter what. If you’re really into democratic business then maybe this approach won’t work for you since it can slow down the decision-making process with a lot of back and forth between your employees.
7. Keep track of all the changes
This is probably one of the most important parts if we’re talking about remote work, there always needs to be someone in charge that’s responsible for making sure things go as planned no matter how many members of your team are working from home or abroad.
8. Make sure employees maintain an active presence
Even if you think all your employees spend their time working instead of chatting with their coworkers, make sure they maintain an online presence so that anyone who needs them can reach out through different platforms like Slack or Skype.
If you keep these things in mind when implementing hybrid working into your company, there shouldn’t be any problems bringing your remote team closer together!