Three years ago, when COVID-19 shook the world, it also shook up how we work. Gone are the days when a nine-to-five routine inside the same four walls was just how things were done. Fresh and flexible approaches have emerged that address both employee desires and business needs. One of these approaches is the hybrid work model. Simply put, the term “hybrid work” means working some days in the office and some days elsewhere. The specifics? In many cases, they’re up to the employee and their manager, but some companies might set an overall requirement. In the hybrid work model, workers may work remotely, but they’re not remote workers. A remote worker is someone who works from home all the time. But a hybrid worker might come into the office one or more days a week, or just come to the office for a meeting, before heading home to finish a report, or even use a local cafe to brainstorm new ideas. As a manager, if you implement hybrid work well, it can boost the productivity of your team, attract talent and improve job satisfaction while addressing some of the challenges remote workers face, like feeling isolated or disconnected from the team — and those are just some of the benefits of the hybrid work model. The traditional corporate office is now just one piece of a larger mosaic, and employees can move between these pieces to get their work done the way that suits them best. By incorporating the hybrid work model as part of your employee value proposition (EVP), top talent will recognize that your organization places a premium on employee well-being. CONTACT ROBERT HALF FOR HELP WITH HIRING TOP TALENT.
Fully remote working allows businesses to tap into vast reserves of global talent no matter where these professionals work. Many of them are already accustomed to thriving in isolated work environments. The benefits of hybrid work arrangements may be less obvious, so it pays to take a closer look at what they are:  More in-person collaboration: Don’t underestimate the power of face-to-face connection. A Robert Half survey found that 65% of professionals believe they form more effective relationships with colleagues they’ve met in person, and 49% feel more comfortable collaborating this way, compared to 31% virtually. With hybrid work, you get the best of both worlds — employees work from where they prefer without losing those all-important human connections while still appreciating the value of teamwork in the workplace, whatever the setting. An emphasis on wellness and work-life balance: A happy employee is usually a productive one. The hybrid work model empowers individuals to create work environments that suit them best. Reducing exposure to typical office stresses and strains opens the door to a healthier, more balanced life and promotes employee mental health. Lower real-estate costs: The hybrid office is no longer just a place to seat employees — it’s a hub for collaboration. Tools like desk booking systems help you manage space more intelligently, giving you the option to downsize without sacrificing functionality. Also, understanding how these spaces are used can guide future design decisions, ensuring that the office remains adaptable. Focus and productivity: The flexibility to choose between a peaceful home office or a buzzing shared workspace empowers employees to find the setting that maximizes their productivity. It encourages deep focus when needed and collaboration when it’s time for teamwork. Less commuting for employees: No one pined for their daily commute during the pandemic. So it’s no shock that a third of workers in a 2021 Robert Half survey said that they would rather quit than return to the office five days a week. Hybrid work means less time on the road and more time for professional and personal pursuits, a work-life balance adjustment many are keen to maintain. A bigger talent pool: Hybrid work allows you to hire beyond your office’s immediate vicinity. While it’s not quite the "hire-from-anywhere" approach of remote work, it does let you cast your net a bit wider. Maybe someone in a neighboring city has just the skills you need. With hybrid work, employees can still come into the office for a particular purpose but also enjoy the benefits of working from home. Plus, looking beyond the usual boundaries allows you to tap into a more diverse talent pool, helping you create a workforce with a broader range of perspectives and backgrounds. An enhanced employer brand: Adopting a hybrid approach sends a clear message that you value flexibility and the individual needs of your employees. This not only resonates with potential new hires but also fosters pride and loyalty among existing team members, helping you to retain your top performers.
Follow these tips to make the hybrid model work a success in your organization. 1.     Help employees understand their options Define your company’s work approach by laying out transparent policies. If different teams or departments follow various working arrangements, it’s critical to communicate those differences. That way, every employee knows the options available to them and can plan their workdays accordingly. 2.     Embrace technology Digital technology makes hybrid work possible. With the help of desk-booking or hoteling systems, employees have the power not just to reserve a desk but also to see who else will be in the office, where they’ll be sitting and for how long. Virtual private networks (VPNs) create secure connections for workers on the move, allowing them to access company resources safely from anywhere. Coordinate closely with your IT team when implementing these tools. It’s vital to make sure the technology supports everyone no matter where they work and provides access to key data systems in your organization. 3.     Break down communication barriers With some team members working remotely and others at the office, wires can easily get crossed, leading to misunderstandings. To bridge the gap, you need a rock-solid communication strategy, encompassing regular team meetings, video calls, instant messaging and real-time chats and document sharing. Make sure everyone knows how to use each of these channels. Some will prefer one over the other, so encourage your team members to learn about their colleagues’ communication preferences. 4.     Go beyond measuring productivity When reviewing and refining your hybrid arrangements, there’s a risk of focusing too much on metrics like productivity and too little on elements like belonging and inclusion. This really matters, because if a hybrid worker is unhappy, they might keep in step for a while, but their performance will slip sooner or later. Engagement surveys and regular one-to-ones can help you measure the extent to which hybrid employees feel heard, respected and fairly treated. 5.     Encourage socializing, whatever the setting Online camaraderie can be just as powerful as face-to-face connections. The time it takes to begin a meeting with some laughs and fun exchanges is well worth the small productivity loss it might cause. Outside of group meetings, encourage your teams to set up casual chats and virtual hangouts to foster strong working relationships. And when everyone’s in the office, seize the opportunity to relax together, whether over a group lunch, team-building exercises or simply sharing a coffee break. Hybrid work offers a compelling balance between traditional and remote setups. By supporting both in-person teamwork and remote flexibility, you can build an environment that suits everyone’s needs. It’s a smart way to stay agile and resilient in a changing world. FIND A JOB THAT WORKS FOR YOU.