The changing face of the office – Hybrid working

As the name suggests, hybrid working is a flexible approach that combines working from home and working in an office. Not so long ago, hybrid work, remote work and flexible work was a vague concept. But fast forward to 2023 and hybrid working looks to be the way of the future. The pandemic created a forced experiment and suddenly work from home is more common, accepted and expected by employees as well as by some employers. Author and trend forecaster, Michael McQueen, states that ‘it is unlikely we’re going to go back to the way that things were in the pre-pandemic days of people working in an office full time’. 

So, what does hybrid working look like for employees and employers moving forward?

For this week’s blog we interviewed our founder of Recruit & Consult, Carlie Barnett, and asked her thoughts around the concept of hybrid working. Carlie stated that certain job roles are most certainly suited to the way of hybrid working. She also said that hybrid working arrangements can have benefits for the employee and the employer like increased productivity due to no commute time. Carlie stated that when considering implementing flexible work arrangements, employers should acknowledge what the challenges will be and if the benefits outweigh these.

To make hybrid working a success you must consider how work gets completed. When all team members are working in the one location at the same time, it is easy to manage and coordinate their work. Hybrid working has made coordinating people, jobs, tasks, documents, projects and workflow significantly more complex. Carlie suggests implementing technology to coordinate activities, manage documents, collaborate, and communicate. Putting systems in place and setting up technology will be instrumental in enabling a connection between remote workers and in office workers. Other ideas include having a cloud-based onboarding application as well as performance management tools and employee learning applications.

A question often asked is ‘How will hybrid working affect corporate culture and creativity?’ It is no secret that hybrid work can affect culture and both collective and individual creativity. Maintaining a team’s culture and creativity is hard when employees are scattered in various locations and only have a relationship with each other virtually. In the war for the best talent, companies will often refer to their distinctive ‘feel’, mention their great culture or noteworthy talent.

Ideas for maintaining culture and creativity with a hybrid work model include:
• Focus on helping employees reach their goals and achievements
• Communicate the company values, mission, and goals clearly
• Conduct regular check ins
• Schedule regular face to face time
• Facilitate opportunities to gain experience and learn
• Pair up a new employee with a veteran or a remote employee with an in-office worker. They will gain a better understanding of each other’s experience

A case study on flexible work to consider is Google, a company that has won multiple awards for ‘best place to work’. Google has focused on three trends connected to the hybrid working model. First, work happens anywhere and not just in the office. Second, what employees need from a workplace is changing constantly. Third, workplaces need to be more than desks, meeting rooms and amenities. Google has implemented new systems, innovative technology, choice on where and when to work, as well as new architectural design features (check out the Google Campfire – pretty cool!). Google thinks the future of work is flexible and has made necessary changes to how work is conducted to eliminate social isolation, forge personal connections, aid job satisfaction and increase happiness. When done right, the hybrid working model gives the best of both worlds to both employer and employee. 
Hybrid work can be a win win for all involved.

Photo Credit: Google Blog

The changing face of the office – Hybrid working