What is Hybrid Work?
Even if you’re not aware of the term hybrid work, you’re probably aware of how it manifests in business.
Hybrid work is the joining of at-home, remote work, and on-site work. We’re seeing this type of model become a popular choice for our customers and in the broader business world as our Business Phone Plans get put to use.
Let’s take a quick look at how it may take shape at your business if you haven’t already started a hybrid work structure of your own.
The Demand For Flexible Employment
The COVID-19 pandemic started a recent surge in remote work and has changed many aspects of our lives in the past year and a half.
We saw in April 2020 that many businesses closed their office doors or were forced to do so because of government regulations. Then, when businesses started opening up again, many took the route of remote work because it was easier and safer for their employees.
As we enter the second summer of the pandemic, many regulations have been lifted, and companies are eager to get back to normal. However, they can’t remove themselves from the circumstance that remote work put them in – for better or for worse, both managers and employees saw that remote work was possible.
Hybrid Work as a Compromise
When business leaders think of normalcy, they most likely consider a time before COVID-19 was ever-present. They think of employees coming into the office and not working from home.
Yet we know that the flexibility of working from home has had some positive impacts on the lives of employees and on the operations of businesses overall. Consider our customer 1st Classic Limos that used its phone system to stay operation during the worst struggles of the pandemic.
Business leaders know they can’t remove the positive experiences of working from home, so many have begun to start a compromise in what we’re discussing today: hybrid work.
Hybrid work is the mixing of work from home and work in the office, and in the best of times, it can allow businesses to complete all their operational tasks without sacrificing employee happiness. The handling of physical materials can happen in a central location, for instance, while sales and marketing efforts can take place from remote locations.
Still, the use of the hybrid work model is not without its controversy.
Ups and Downs in Hybrid Work
One of the most high-profile controversies surrounding hybrid work at present concerns Apple, which The Verge reported began with Apple CEO sending a notice to employees that they would need to return to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.
Deirdre O’Brien, the senior vice president of retail and people at Apple, backed up this announcement by stating that his company believes “in-person collaboration is essential to our culture and our future.”
Apple employees pushed back with their own letter – citing the inclusivity and flexibility that fully remote work offers – but were ultimately denied for a broad request to continue full-time remote work. Instead, Apple will reportedly handle all upcoming remote work requests on an individual basis.
Crafting Your Own Hybrid Work Model
The controversy surrounding Apple may put the concept of hybrid work in a bad light. There are probably good points to both sides of the argument about whether fully remote work is appropriate in the long term at Apple. You will need to have a discussion at your own company about which type of work model fits best.
A CNBC article points to three important elements of any hybrid work plan.
First, you will want to create clear expectations so everyone knows how to proceed in the future. Although not everyone will agree with a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday approach like at Apple, it’s still important to draw clear lines to create a standard of work.
Next, it is essential for managers to spend time with their employees. CNBC recommends one-on-one meetings between managers and employees at least once a week. This can help bridge the gap between what’s getting done at the office and at home, and it can allow managers to see how a hybrid work is affecting their work-life balance.
Last, both employees and managers should remain accountable for their work no matter the location in which it’s completed. Employees should expect to complete their objectives when they’re at home the same way they would when they’re at the office. Managers, CNBC notes, can be held accountable when work isn’t completed because they are responsible for providing training and development as the workplace evolves.
Beginning Your Own Hybrid Work Plan?
VirtualPBX can help you put your best foot forward when establishing a hybrid work model at your own business. Tools like Business SMS and Video Conferencing available on many of our plans can keep your entire team connected from any location.
We have helped many companies stay steady throughout the switch to remote work. We’re primed to keep you steady while having employees venture back to the office a few days a week.