For many businesses, the time has come to make the transition to a hybrid working model. But the practical aspects of hybrid working can seem daunting. To make things a bit easier, here are the six steps to transition your company into hybrid work, while avoiding the potential pitfalls.
After months of remote work, over 80% of employees would prefer to retain at least some time working from home[i].
In fact, businesses who don’t offer some flexibility may find it harder to recruit and retain top performers - 31% of employees would reject a job offer which required full-time office work, and 20% would even take a lower salary to retain the option to work from home at least some of the time.
However, for some business leaders, hybrid work seems like a recipe for communication issues and a fragmented culture. To make the transition to long-term hybrid work, without all the headaches, we recommend that you follow these six steps:
Step 1: Define the goal
As with any project, you need to start with the end in mind. What are you hoping to achieve by transitioning to remote work? What aspects are most important to your employees? How many employees are keen to try hybrid work?
To find out more:
- Use surveys and pulse polls to sound out your employees and identify any concerns
- Set up small focus groups to test out different ideas and brainstorm potential pitfalls
- Involve line managers throughout the process, to make sure that you design a model that works for every team
- Consider the needs of your customers, partners, resellers and other stakeholders before you commit to long-term change.
Step 2: Create a hybrid working model that works for your business
The great thing about the hybrid approach is its flexibility. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for what a hybrid business should look like. Some companies let employees define their schedule as they wish; others insist on everyone working from home for the same 3 days a week. For some businesses, decisions about which roles can be done from home are taken by managers; in others, employees are free to make this decision.
If the complexities start to feel overwhelming, it might be helpful to create employee personas. To do so, sort your people into groups based on their preferences, job role, team or even career stage. Then you can define a model that incorporates the needs of each employee persona, without getting too bogged down in the details.
Alternatively, you could consider putting teams on a rota, so that everyone works from home on the same days. This approach can simplify the process, while also avoiding the risk of creating a two-tier culture by standardising the experience across the workforce.
For a detailed, practical guide on how to transition your company to hybrid, check out our new white paper.
Step 3: Think about your office
Once you’ve defined a working model, you may also be able to draw some conclusions about your office requirements.
For example, if you realise you’ll only ever have 50% of the workforce in the office at any given time, it could be time to downsize. Or, if you’re planning to work mostly from home, perhaps you should consider repurposing the office as a space for socialising and collaboration.
Step 4: Consider the practicalities
After you consider your physical space, it’s time to move your attention to the rest of the logistics. For instance:
- Remote work has significant legal and regulatory implications that need to be considered, especially if you’re planning to let employees work from overseas.
- You may need to update your contracts to acknowledge those employees working from home, even those in the same country.
- You may also need to rethink your approach to compensation and benefits, to make sure they’re fair for all employees regardless of where they work.
For a detailed, practical guide on how to successfully transition to hybrid work, download our new white paper here
Step 5: Overhaul your People policies
To build a successful hybrid company, you’ll need to overhaul your People policies and processes, or risk accidentally creating a two-tier culture and a fragmented employee experience.
The end-to-end employee journey, from recruitment to onboarding, from learning to performance, will need to be revisited, to make sure that you create a single, unified and positive employee experience for both remote and in-person employees. For instance, will you switch to remote interviewing, or keep some interviews in-person? Will you switch to self-serve digital onboarding for all employees?
Step 6: Iterate
Possibly the most important step of all! The transition to a hybrid approach is not a one-and-done event. Rather, you should think of the transition as a series of experiments.
Keep track of key metrics to see how things are going - and, even more importantly, be sure to ask your employees how they feel about the process. You then have valuable information you can use to optimise your model, refine your policies, and make sure that your shift to long-term hybrid working is a resounding success.
If you’d like a more detailed breakdown of the six steps to effective hybrid work, please take a look at our white paper, “Moving to a hybrid workplace - a practical guide.”