“Work from anywhere” is the new mantra for the post-pandemic era. As employers and their teams consider how best to return to the office, or if they even want to return to the office. Remote-work has been the new norm for the last year. Suddenly-at-home workers realized the many benefits of a flexible schedule and no commute.
But many companies still need their offices to conduct business, and still serve as valuable spaces for meetings, as well as focus work. Salesforce has stated that “the 9-to-5 workday is dead.” We know that Facebook, Microsoft, Google and a host of other companies are making the shift to a new, hybrid workplace.
What is hybrid work?
Hybrid work is a flexible policy that empowers people to choose where (and when) they work, typically a balance between home and the office. Employees may have set schedules, where they work at home three days a week and in the office two days, or choose to work from home or the office full-time. This means teams who used to gather in the office now work as hybrid teams, connected by technology rather than shared floor space.
Why convert to hybrid work?
Employees now understand that they can work well together, no matter where they are located – as long as they have the right tools to support them. Flexibility to choose one’s own schedule allows each person to work when they feel most motivated or creative, even if it’s 3am. That’s not only more productive, it boosts job satisfaction.
Flexibility promotes better work-life balance, too. That’s a big plus for working parents, with schools still in flux or on their own hybrid schedules.
Spotify notes that employers also benefit from hybrid work. “Productivity” isn’t about where you are or how many hours you put in, it’s about what you accomplish.
Working to create a hybrid workplace:
- Gives companies a chance to consider what practices, processes and tools are now required for effective communication and collaboration
- Opens doors to more cost-effective real estate management
- Boosts quality and diversity in recruiting by eliminating geography as a factor
- Supports employee health and well-being
Ready to get started?
It can feel overwhelming, but no worries. Here at Robin, our entire mission is helping companies and teams make the most of every aspect of work and the working environment. We’ve put together a wealth of resources to help you develop a smart, successful return-to-office plan.
Our top recommendation: phase it in.
There’s too much to consider to expect a “cold turkey” transformation from the old office to a hybrid workplace. You’ll need to think about who actually needs to be in the office and the activities they will need to accomplish:
- Evaluate your physical space, to rearrange desks or workstations so they accommodate social distancing
- Re-outfit meeting spaces to accommodate fewer people and more technology and equipment that facilitates remote collaboration
- Plan your health screening protocols for anyone entering the office
- Revise office sanitation procedures for janitorial staff and employees
Now you’re ready to phase in your return:
- Phase 1 – Stick to essentials — only the people who must be onsite, while everyone else works remote.
- Phase 2 – Assign some pilot teams to work in-office, at least part time, to test your plan.
- Phase 3 – Gradually move to greater flexibility, where employees can decide for themselves where and when to work.
- Phase 4 – Welcome to your new normal!
Hybrid is a work in progress
2021 is going to play out as another “wait and see” year. Vaccines will become more prevalent and COVID diagnoses will drop . But we still need to get down to business, even as we wait for these positive events. This year gives companies the perfect opportunity to give hybrid work a whirl. Learn as you go, working together to create the new normal that works best for your teams and business goals.