Many employers are planning on encouraging a hybrid work schedule for a slow and gradual return to office. But what is a hybrid work model? What should managers consider? What can be done to provide support for people to have a safe and manageable return to the workplace?
The Hybrid Work Model
Both employers and employees are strongly considering the hybrid work model—where employees can work both at home and at the office during the week—as they plan a transition back to the workplace and beyond. We explore the reasons for this work model that is growing in popularity:
The love of teleworking
Before the pandemic, teleworking had been increasing in popularity and grew by 115% between 2008 and 2018. The growth trend continued through the pandemic and furthermore 83% of employers consider the shift to remote work a success. Looking ahead, 55% of employees say they would like to telework at least three days a week post pandemic and maintain a hybrid work schedule in the long-term.
The desire of the office
68% of US executives believe that employees should be on-site for three or more days a week to maintain corporate culture and meet the desire to have a sense of normalcy when back at the office. Furthermore, 75% of executive and 61% of employees are entertaining the idea that they will be back in the office for at least half of the time by July 2021.
Safely returning to the office
The hybrid work model is also being considered to help minimize interactions, easing the feasibility of social distancing, and lowering the risk of exposure caused by large groups. To achieve this, companies are considering grouping individuals into two or more groups, allowing each group to have specific days they could come into the office and/or staggering schedules. Alternatively, companies are considering the hybrid model where days in the office are for in-person meetings and collaboration sessions, while working at home would be for solo and introspective work.
This strategy is also being encouraged for schools by the CDC but is referred to as cohorting or podding.
What to Consider
The hybrid work model can be a very flexible way to work which comes with its own collection of pros and cons. To avoid miscommunication and false expectations and to ensure a work environment that is both creative and productive, there are a few elements to consider when creating your return to office plans:
- Who will come into the office and who will remain teleworking, and how is this decided?
- How can we encourage two-way communication with employees and managers?
- Should you create a temporary or permanent policy and what should it cover?
Effective Management Style
While the hybrid work model can seem like something entirely new, it can also be seen as an evolution of the telework schedule. With this different perspective, the apprehension around this possible future as we transition back into the office may subside and allow us to focus on the strategies we know work.
Commute66 has created a Telework Management Guide that will help managers understand their teams’ need and what they can prepare for a safe, stress-free, and manageable return to the office.