In an effort to find the perfect balance between pandemic mandatory work-from-home policies and post-pandemic in-office work protocols, companies worldwide are testing and refining hybrid working models. Some have even made it a permanent strategy.
Nike, for instance, formally announced that its employees can work in a 3/2 hybrid approach, and Klarna unveiled its Flexible Work Policy designed “to offer employees greater choice, autonomy, and flexibility in how and where they choose to work.” Similarly, Target Corp joined the list of companies that have chosen hybrid work models, while more recently Apple adopted a hybrid model allowing employees to work from home for up to two weeks per year. Many offices are adopting hybrid working models as a long-term strategy. But finding the perfect hybrid fit for your office is the challenge.
Why Has the Importance of a Hybrid Working Environment Suddenly Surged?
For that let’s understand why “face time” is necessary at offices. There are many perks to working in a hybrid environment versus a full-time remote arrangement and chief among them are:
Collaboration and Communication:
Facetime can improve collaboration and communication between employees, especially when it comes to brainstorming, problem-solving, and decision-making.
Facetime can help build stronger relationships between colleagues, as it allows for casual interactions such as water cooler conversations and impromptu meetings.
Leadership and Mentoring
Facetime with managers and senior staff can provide opportunities for leadership and mentoring, as well as feedback and recognition.
Accountability and Trust
Facetime can also help establish accountability and trust between employees, as it allows managers to monitor progress and ensure that work is being completed.
While face time matters, it’s worth noting that it’s not the only factor contributing to a successful and productive workplace.
This theory is supported by a Gallup report, which states that 32% of hybrid employees believe virtual meetings are less effective than in-person meetings, while only 17% of employees find virtual meetings to be more effective. This report emphasizes that the effectiveness of virtual meetings can vary depending on the nature of the meeting, the participants involved, and the type of interaction required.
Therefore, businesses should consider the individual needs of their employees and the context of the meeting when determining the most suitable mode of communication.
With the rise of remote and hybrid work arrangements, organizations will find novel ways to balance the benefits of face time with the flexibility and autonomy that comes with remote work.
Beyond Flexibility: Hybrid Working Benefits
The allure of hybrid working culture goes beyond just flexibility, with numerous reasons why it’s becoming the preferred choice in modern corporate environments. What are these additional benefits?
Cost savings: Hybrid working can help organizations save up to 40% costs on office space, utilities, and other expenses. Employees can also save on transportation costs and other expenses associated with working from the office.
Business continuity: Through hybrid working, businesses can maintain their operations and avoid disruptions during natural disasters, pandemics, or other unforeseen circumstances. This approach enables employees to work remotely, ensuring continuity even when traditional office settings are not feasible.
Access to a wider pool of talent: Hybrid working offers organizations the opportunity to expand their recruitment efforts beyond their local area. By embracing remote work, businesses can access a broader talent pool, promoting diversity and inclusion within their workforce.
Environmental benefits: Adopting hybrid working can have environmental advantages by diminishing the necessity for transportation, thereby decreasing carbon emissions.
How to Create the Perfect Hybrid Workplace?
Creating a perfect hybrid environment involves finding the right balance between remote work and in-person collaboration to ensure high productivity, strong social bonds, and a durable organizational culture. Here are some key strategies for creating a successful hybrid environment:
- Establish clear expectations: Set clear expectations for when employees are expected to be in the office and when they can work remotely. Communicate these expectations to all employees to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Provide the right technology: Ensure that employees have access to the right technology and tools to enable effective remote work and collaboration. This includes video conferencing tools, messaging platforms, project management software, and other tools that facilitate communication and collaboration.
- Foster a strong company culture: Foster a strong clan culture that emphasizes the importance of collaboration, teamwork, and social bonds. Encourage employees to build relationships with one another, regardless of whether they are working remotely or in the office.
- Create opportunities for in-person collaboration: Create opportunities for in-person collaboration by scheduling regular team meetings, company-wide events, and other opportunities for employees to interact face-to-face.
- Prioritize employee well-being: Prioritize employee well-being by providing resources and support for mental and physical health, work-life balance, and stress management.
The 7 Most Common Challenges Faced by Hybrid Offices
Creating a hybrid work environment involves solving several challenges to ensure a smooth return to the workplace. Here are seven key challenges to consider before using hybrid workplace technology as a stopgap:
1. Democratizing collaboration
One of the biggest challenges of hybrid working is managing the use of office space. With some employees working remotely and others working on-site, it can be challenging to ensure that everyone has access to the resources they need. Collaboration technology such as desk booking software can help manage the use of office space more efficiently, enabling employees to reserve workspaces, meeting rooms, or other resources when they need them.
2. Reservation Difficulties
Another challenge of returning to hybrid offices is the difficulty of managing reservations for office space. Ensuring that everyone has equal access to resources can be difficult, and ensuring that the office space is used efficiently can be even more challenging. To address this challenge, companies can use reservation software to manage bookings, monitor occupancy levels, and track usage patterns.
3. Choosing Technology for Hybrid Working
Hybrid working relies on technology to connect remote and on-site workers, so it’s essential to ensure that all employees have access to the same technology tools and platforms. Companies must ensure that all employees have access to collaboration software, communication tools, and other technology solutions that facilitate seamless remote working.
4. Health and Safety
As organizations transition back to the office, health, and safety must be a top priority. Employers must implement measures to ensure that the office environment is safe, including sanitization, social distancing, and air filtration systems.
5. Indoor Navigation
The return to the workplace can be disorienting, particularly when the facilities are not designed for easy navigation. In the absence of a designated workspace, employees may spend excessive amounts of time searching for a place to settle in. This applies to returning workers, new hires, or even visitors from another location, all of whom can avoid productivity loss through a wayfinding solution.
6. Unsustainable environment
Hybrid offices may have unused space on certain days, resulting in the indiscriminate use of resources and unnecessary costs associated with operating an empty facility. To address this issue, facility managers can analyze occupancy patterns and integrate the data into indoor maps to view heatmaps of user behavior during busy and off-hours. This approach enables them to optimize HVAC and lighting systems, thereby reducing real-estate costs and carbon footprint.
7. Facility Maintenance
Maintaining office facilities is a crucial endeavor, yet many offices lack an effective incident reporting mechanism that enables maintenance workers and staff to quickly identify which asset, equipment, or facility area requires timely upkeep. By leveraging IoT and AI technologies to track facilities in real-time, maintenance workers can proactively address issues and avoid costly downtime.
The Ideal Technology for Advanced Hybrid Workspaces
To succeed in a hybrid work environment, technology is necessary for communication, collaboration, and navigation. These functions are crucial whether you’re working from the office or working from home to synchronize with the company’s culture and be more productive.
Mapsted, a technology specialist in addressing challenges encountered by hybrid offices, can solve many of the issues modern offices face through its all-in-one patented location technology solution, which operates effectively without the need for external hardware or wifi. Whether it’s indoor-outdoor wayfinding, asset tracking, desk booking, message personalization, live notifications or location-sharing, Mapsted’s platform offers everything to accelerate a smooth transition to a hybrid work culture. Learn more today about how to fully automate your workplace with the most advanced location technology by watching this short video on Maximize Operational Efficiencies and Employee Satisfaction With Location-Based Technology. We are just a click away if you’re keen to learn how Mapsted’s technology can transform your hybrid office into a center of excellence.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is a hybrid working environment?
Ans. A hybrid working environment is a workplace model that allows employees to work both remotely and on-site, combining the benefits of both.
Q2. How can you prepare your office for hybrid working?
Ans. You can prepare your office for hybrid working by investing in technology solutions such as collaboration tools, desk booking systems, room occupancy sensors, and indoor wayfinding technologies to help employees navigate the office.
Q3. What are the challenges of returning to hybrid offices?
Ans. The challenges of returning to hybrid offices include facilities collaboration, reservation difficulties, wayfinding challenges, ensuring safety and health protocols, and balancing the needs of remote and on-site workers.
Q4. How can hybrid working benefit businesses?
Ans. Hybrid working can benefit businesses by increasing productivity, reducing costs, improving employee well-being and work-life balance, and allowing access to a wider pool of talent.
Q5. What technology solutions can help create a successful hybrid working environment?
Ans. Technology solutions such as indoor wayfinding, desk booking systems, collaboration tools, and real-time location tracking can help create a successful hybrid working environment by facilitating communication, collaboration, and efficient use of resources.