As organizations assess long-term work arrangements in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, they must also consider the challenges of implementing hybrid workplace models. Put simply, a hybrid workplace model is a flexible model that blends both on-site and remote work.
While an online survey by Harvard Business School found that 81% of respondents did not want to return to the physical office or preferred a hybrid work schedule, companies still need to assess the organizational risks of both remote and hybrid work. This may include issues related to technology, social isolation, the decline of company culture, workplace distractions and decreased productivity.
To avoid such risks, organizations should have various solutions in place, such as:
- Creating a workplace strategy—Developing and implementing a workplace strategy can help ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding schedules and deadlines. Doing so can also keep projects on track, while still making sure there are designated times for socializing.
- Equalizing the employee experience—Managers must adapt to their workforce being in different places during the workday to ensure that imbalance and discrimination are not brought into the workplace. Updating information regarding accessibility, colleague visibility and employment benefits can help equalize the employee experience for on- and off-site workers.
- Mutually agreeing to terms and expectations—Outlining clear expectations for the workday can help hold both on- and off-site employees accountable.
Remote and hybrid workplace models are likely here to stay. While there are challenges that come along with these models, there are also steps organizations can take to proactively avoid those risks and create a productive, inclusive work environment.