Knowledge Center / Blog
Thinking About a Hybrid Workforce?
Now that a large portion of the population is vaccinated, many businesses are reopening and asking their employees to return to the office. Some employers are staying with the fully remote workforce for now, and some are offering a hybrid plan, with some employees returning full time, others staying home and working remotely, and some splitting their time between working at home and in the office.
A hybrid workforce has its benefits, but it’s unknown territory for many business leaders who are investigating this staff model. As you explore the hybrid workforce, here are a few tips to successfully develop and manage your staff in the hybrid model:
- Pre-determine which employees may be eligible for remote work: Not all employees are able to work from home – some employees need to be present to complete their work. This may be a result of technology only available at the office, or a role that requires constant collaboration with others. Providing equipment to employees that want to work remotely may have a poor return on the investment (ROI), so consider if the cost of the equipment is worth the benefit to the employee.
- You must communicate with remote employees as much as your in-office employees: With employees working from home, they may become “out of the loop” compared to in-office employees who are easier to communicate with because you see them in person. A good way to mitigate this is to task leaders and managers to implement formal and informal communications with remote employees. This may include weekly video meetings or company chat boards that include both in office and remote employees.
- Review your budget and plan for new expenses with hybrid workforce: Not having employees in the office can lead to a lot of cost savings but this also may come with a new set of expenses. These expenses may include maintenance of a shared cloud drive, new communication channels such as message board or video conferencing technology, and equipment to support new remote or hybrid employees. Having a plan for your hybrid workforce budget can alleviate potential headaches down the road and will set your new remote or hybrid employees up for success.
- Set channels for remote and in-office employees to communicate: Managers may not be the only ones that need to be able to communicate with remote or hybrid employees. Set up channels for your in-office employees to collaborate and communicate with your remote employees. This can include email, a regular phone line, as well as chat boards or video call channels that are easy to implement and use by everyone in the organization.
- Consider rewards/incentives for in-office employees: Working from home is a big benefit that is offered to employees in a hybrid workforce but may develop resentment from employees who don’t want to or can’t work from home. A good way to mitigate this issue is to offer incentives and/or rewards for employees who work in office, such as flexible schedules, paid lunches, additional PTO accrual, floating holidays, paid childcare, etc. There is no one size fits all for businesses so it may be a good idea for managers to sit down with each in-office employee to determine how to best support these employees.
- Get feedback from staff, clients and other stakeholders on how the hybrid model is working. For any hybrid model to work, it has to meet the expectations of the stakeholders. Develop a plan to gather feedback from clients or customers, vendors, and other key business partners to determine how well it’s working and what changes need to be made to the hybrid model.