After in-office work and remote work during the pandemic, hybrid work has become the new “standard”. This work model entails, once again, changes that managers and their teams must consider and integrate. This new reality, that is becoming more and more prevalent in our professional environments, refers to the possibility of allowing employees to alternate between time spend working at the office and time spent working remotely, according to proportions set by the organization.
Organizations are faced with the following questions:
- How to regulate work in this context?
- How to benefit both the workers and the organization?
In order to make thoughtful decisions in this area, understanding the benefits and challenges of hybrid work might be useful. Here are a few observations:
Benefits of hybrid work
- Hybrid work includes the possibility of working from home, allowing many workers to be more efficient due to a decrease in distractions. This work model fosters concentration for tasks that require deeper thinking.
- The flexibility of choosing when and where to work; would we be more efficient at home or in the office? These options suit many workers and meet the growing need for work-life balance. The employee chooses where, when and how to perform their tasks, according to their needs and the level of collaboration required with their colleagues.
- The autonomy of choosing one’s work mode is a sign of trust of the employer towards their employees. This trust plays a significant role in the workers’ motivation and generates higher levels of satisfaction and commitment.
Challenges of hybrid work
- Hybrid work is a source of stress and discomfort for many workers whose lives have been disrupted by the pandemic. For them, this new way of working means more changes to integrate and the obligation to change their way of operating once again. Change means ambiguity and complexity, and therefore, a source of stress for these workers.
- The “right recipe” for hybrid work does not exist. There is no “one size fits all” model for hybrid work. The “recipe” for a hybrid work model will vary from one organization to another depending on different variables, for example: the nature of the work, the type of organization, the products or services offered, the value of and need for collaboration between employees and departments. The question we must ask ourselves is: what do we gain and what do we lose by not being physically present at the office?
- Different models in this area are being explored by specialists. For many organizations, it is currently difficult to effectively navigate between remote and in-office work. It is a source of ambiguity and pressure, both for employees and managers. Having to constantly adapt is very demanding, but this transformation will lead to new forms of work organization.
How to think about YOUR recipe for hybrid work?
As mentioned previously, the solution will lie in a balance to be determined for your own organization. Some reflection is needed. It is necessary to explore and determine the format that meets your strategic needs, that generates efficiency in terms of employee productivity, and that meets the needs of your talent. It is to your advantage to look into this matter since hybrid work, if well managed, is a real lever for attracting and retaining your talent in a context of labour shortage.
Furthermore, some winning conditions have been observed in terms of hybrid mode integration. Here are a few suggestions to consider:
- In your reflection, make sure you think in terms of “we” and not “I”. Find the solution that works for the organization but also the workers and the work teams. Ask yourself: what would be beneficial for the organization but also for the workers? As much as possible and according to your organization’s culture, involve employees in the reflection and the search for solutions.
- Once you have established your hybrid model recipe, make sure to communicate it clearly and share the reason behind it. This means explaining the advantages of this model for the worker and for the organization. How does it meet the organization’s needs while addressing worker concerns?
- Manage this change effectively. As mentioned previously, this new way of working might be a source of discomfort and stress for some. In order to take into account the needs of both managers and employees, creating transition plans will facilitate the integration of your hybrid model.
- Finally, educating your managers on the reality of this work model will be essential. Research shows that 81% of Canadians have indicated that their managers need better training to effectively manage this mode of work (study by KPMG). Managers were already familiar with in-person work, and are becoming more and more comfortable with remote work, but the hybrid model remains poorly understood. They must develop new reflexes and new management methods in addition to finding effective ways to exercise mobilizing leadership. Training your managers on your own hybrid model recipe will be the key to integrating this new work model.
Finally, you should know that hybrid work has been shown to be the most appreciated work mode by workers. Among the major findings, the majority of employees would like to have the opportunity to meet in person but would also like to keep a part of their work remote for all the benefits that it brings them. It has been noted that nearly 77% of Canadians like the idea of a hybrid work model. (Study by KPMG accounting firm)
At Bedard Human Resources, we want to help you implement YOUR hybrid work model recipe.
Please contact Stephane Pepin for more information on our HR consulting services.