The hybrid business model – a collaboration between work and a formal office setting – has gained traction over the last year. The trends in hybrid work are still accelerating.
Many people cite the global pandemic for the current work-from-home movement. In reality, it might have come into the spotlight, recently, but the hybrid business model has been on the rise for a long time.
As more parents entered the workforce, the hybrid model gained new appeal because of its ability to create a favourable work-life balance. If your business is ready to embrace this new work model – and it should be – here are ten helpful insights that can help you maximize the efficacy of the hybrid work model.
1. Build Transparency Into Your Hybrid Business Model
As a small business owner with employees who work remotely, creating transparency and trust is critical. It will be difficult and stressful for employees who feel as if their boss – remote or up-close – does not trust them. In addition, no one works well when they feel the pressure of micromanagement.
As a small business owner, you also expect the same courtesy, respect, and transparency from your clients, right? Imagine how hard it would be to work in a fishbowl with your client constantly hanging over your shoulder. Make a point of extending the same respect you expect to your own staff and team members.
2. Foster Personal Development
As your team members start to embrace the hybrid work model, they inevitably learn important things about themselves. They learn how to self-pace, how to trust their own instincts, and how to work effectively as part of a remote team. They also learn how to transition their ideas from solo to team models on the days all team members are in one location.
By fostering ongoing personal development, you help hybrid workers build their personal development by learning to revamp the ways they learn, alleviate fear and frustration, and embrace inclusiveness from any distance. As you meet your client’s needs in a hybrid environment, you have plenty of opportunities to learn as you grow.
3. Create Two Fully Equipped Office Spaces
Working half the time in a formal office and half the time in a home office can be complicated when you are constantly shifting files, documents, and equipment from one location to the next. One of the best ways to make hybrid work…well, work…is by creating duplicate offices. Equip your home office and traditional office with identical printers and other electronics and technology to make mobility truly mobile.
Another way to make hybrid life easier is by storing your work in the cloud. Cloud technology means you never have to worry about leaving a file behind, leaving notes on one desk, or forgetting important elements of a presentation. Mark your way to hybrid success with simple steps like these that make every workday easier to navigate.
4. Restrict Communication To The Cloud
Following up on the previous point, cloud storage makes the hybrid workspace super simple by putting everything you need at your fingertips. As long as you do so extremely carefully, you can access your data and records from any available computer or laptop. In addition, cloud storage means you have password-protected, secure data with minimal maintenance.
It also means your remote team has simple shareability, scalability, collaboration, and transparency. Your hybrid work model benefits from the increase in flexibility. Working in the cloud increases flexibility, eases transitions, make document, photo, video, and idea-sharing easier. It also simplifies collaboration and scalability which leads to increased time management and greater focus.
5. Redefine Organization and Orderliness
Organization is the hallmark of any good business. It is, in fact, what separates chaos from confusion. It also improves output and productivity. In the hustle and bustle of hybrid work, organization means your business environment is less stressful and more efficient. Organization also leads to less disorder and turmoil in your daily workload.
Accurate job descriptions, timely reviews, ad honest assessment can make employee organization easier. By creating a well-organized hybrid work environment – two actually – you save time and energy, stress less, and foster greater creativity. You also create workflow diagrams and charts that help team members stay focused and on track. It means greater task management, less clutter, and makes it easier to meet deadlines and client demands.
6. Create A Balance In Employee Monitoring
The best way to make employees comfortable in a hybrid environment is to ensure they have clearly defined expectations. Knowing what is expected of them, how work is expected to be delivered, and when it is expected, makes their work-life much easier than unclear expectations. When you work in a hybrid setting for a client, you cannot be expected to meet goals and ideals you were never made fully aware of.
Monitoring your employees is an indisputable part of hybrid work, but there is a huge difference between monitoring and virtual stalking. Be careful not to make your team feel like they are working under a microscope.
Just as you would expect from a client, your small business employees have the right to absolute privacy in their downtime and off hours. Expecting them to work around the clock in their home office is as unacceptable as asking them to do the same in a traditional office setting.
7. Support Employee Mental Health
Today’s hybrid work environments can be stressful situations simply due to the transition from pre- to post-pandemic environments. Working with children in the background, and families in the same space all day can be tough. Switching between that and the hustle and bustle of an office or coworking space can also be disconcerting.
To foster employee mental and emotional health, encourage your staff to take the usual coffee and lunch breaks they would take if they were in the office. Make sure they have comfortable, ergonomically correct seating options, too, because working comfortably helps increase morale and productivity at home and in the office. When you are working for your clients, make sure you give yourself the same breaks and comfortable desks and chairs.
8. Redefine Your Company Culture
Keeping company culture front and center in a corporate or small business office setting is easy. Surely, there are marketing and branding materials everywhere that keep your attention focused. Hybrid work can make it more difficult to have the cohesive company culture spelled out in front of you.
You can reinforce your company culture by fostering a shared purpose, plan, and goal. Highlight each team member’s contributions while making its role in the bigger picture clear. Even in a hybrid workplace, make a point of making your team feel inclusive rather than competitive. Of course, healthy competition goes a long way as does structure that guides rather than constricts.
9. Flexible Work Hours
A hybrid work environment has many benefits with flexible hours being high on the list. When your employees have flexible work hours in and out of the office, they tend to produce better work, have greater peer-to-peer and employee-employer morale, and usually have greater staying power which leads to lower turnover rates for you.
Like most small business owners, you have probably learned to work at your peak hours of productivity. Those hours can look very different for night owls than they do for day dwellers. When you offer your employees the option of working at the peak of their productivity versus sticking to the traditional workday clock, you and they reap the benefits. Think of it this way – does it really matter what hours of the day your team works as long as the work is done accurately and on time?
10. Respect For Employee Downtime
With smartphones, tablets, and laptops, it is easy to work even in between home and office. One of your goals when introducing hybrid work into your company, or when working in a hybrid environment for your clients, should be efficient work, not constant work. Everyone needs time to regenerate between work sessions rather at home or in a corporate or small business setting.
Not only should you respect your employee’s downtime, but you should also absolutely insist that they respect it as well. Encourage them to relax and refresh themselves in between work sessions and to use the travel time between home and company offices to slow down and unwind.
Hybrid work may have been forced on your small business, but that does not mean you cannot thrive in it. Sharing physical workspace has its benefits and combining it with the freedom of working from home is usually beneficial for all involved parties. As you make the shift from strictly office or strictly home office to a cohesive blend of both, these trends and ideals can help make the shift more seamless and less disruptive.
Hybrid work is about the work you do, not the place where you do it. When you understand this principle, put cloud technology to work, implement personal growth strategies, and support employee health and wellbeing, you can make hybrid working work for you. The small business world is growing and evolving every day. The future of work is hybrid. Is your business ready?