By Bond Collective Staff
Though it may seem like something brand new, the hybrid work model has been around in one form or another for quite a few years.
If that’s news to you, we’re not surprised. The hybrid model never really took off because the technology to support the seamless integration of both on-site and remote workers just wasn’t there yet.
Add to that the fact that businesses had no idea how such novel arrangements would affect productivity, and it’s really no wonder that companies large and small were loath to implement such an unknown and untested system.
Recent events, though, forced everyone’s hand. Businesses suddenly found that the technology was, indeed, capable of keeping up with their demands, and productivity didn’t suffer as much as they thought it would.
Now, the hybrid work model is rapidly becoming the norm for businesses everywhere.
Even though many businesses have already embraced this new way of working, you may still wonder:
What is the hybrid work model?
Is my company ready for it?
In this article, we discuss those two questions so you can decide if the hybrid work model is right for your business.
What Is The Hybrid Work Model?
This multifaceted arrangement lies in sharp contrast to the more traditional work model that focuses almost exclusively on supporting the in-office workforce and marginalizes those employees working virtually.
The hybrid work model also differs from the traditional model in three other fundamental ways:
The ratio of remote employees to in-office employees is not static and will shift from hour to hour, day to day, and week to week
Workers don’t necessarily have to schedule where they work in advance
The number of in-office workers doesn’t always exceed the number of virtual workers
This unique shift away from the standard concept of one employee, one assigned desk toward a more fluid and flexible arrangement is the foundation on which the hybrid work model is built.
Ultimately, it demands that managers and owners change the way they think about their offices and how their teams work.
We’ll discuss a number of important variables that go into making this new paradigm successful in the Is Your Company Ready For The Hybrid Work Model? section below.
But first, we’ll investigate the theory behind the hybrid work model and how it provides a unique flexibility that can change the way your business works.
The New Hybrid Work Model Theory
As we mentioned, the hybrid work model — an arrangement that provides equal support for in-office and remote workers — has been around for years.
In light of world health restrictions, the concept has recently come to embody and represent the dual ideas of flexibility and adjustability — both in the physical workplace itself and in the way a business operates on a day-to-day basis.
In the physical sense, modern hybrid work models focus less on individual workstations and more on collaboration spaces where both in-office and remote employees can gather and work together.
In the operational sense, modern models are adjustable to the overall needs of the business and allow them to customize how and where employees work at a moment’s notice.
A business operating under this new paradigm might implement a model that can change from day to day to accommodate the needs of the business, the needs of its employees, and the external conditions that might affect them.
A multi-stage plan, for example, can adjust at a moment’s notice to dictate where and how employees work:
Stage 1. All open and on-site
Stage 2. Open with restrictions
Stage 3. Soft open
Stage 4. Work from home strongly encouraged
Stage 5. Mandatory work from home
Stage 6. Closed
Your business may not need to go as deep into the theory and philosophy of the hybrid model as this example, but implementing the physical aspects of the concept — a flexible workspace that facilitates in-person and remote collaboration — is certainly worth considering.
Is Your Company Ready?
The hybrid work model contains a number of different variables that may require significant changes to the way your business normally operates.
In this section, we give you basic suggestions to help your company make the transition into this new way of working.
1) Incorporate Online Collaboration Tools
The cornerstone of this work model is collaboration and the tools that make it possible. In the 21st century, those tools encompass a broad spectrum of old and new but most often revolve around cloud-based software.
While video conferencing (discussed below) is now done mainly online, collaboration software is different enough that we separated the two into their own categories.
That’s because collaboration tools — like Slack, Trello, and Google Workspace — are more about organizing your workflow, communicating in real time, tracking changes in documents and spreadsheets, and minimizing the confusion of multiple team members working on the same task from different locations.
2) Invest In Video Conferencing
Another cornerstone of the hybrid work model is video conferencing software. Apps such as Google Meet, GoToMeeting, Zoom, and Skype allow anyone with an internet connection to meet, talk, and work together regardless of where they’re located.
Some team members may be in the office, while others may be in another city, state, or country. With video conferencing software, your entire remote team (or any combination thereof) can gather together to brainstorm, collaborate, build a sense of team, and get things done.
3) Experiment With Hot Desking
For decades, the traditional office model revolved around the concept of one employee, one desk.
The hybrid work model is completely different because some team members may only report to the office two or three times a week. Others may only work remotely and never need a space of their own in your office.
That’s where hot desking comes in. In hot desking, team members occupy workspaces on a first-come, first-served basis.
Desks, tables, and chairs have no permanent “owner,” and team members use whatever is available when they arrive.
This hybrid seating model requires implementing some sort of reservation and tracking system, but check-in and check-out software makes hot desking simple, efficient, and effective.
4) Offer Hoteling
Hoteling is similar to hot desking but different in one key aspect: workspaces are reserved ahead of time — typically for longer durations of several days, a week, or a month.
If a remote team member knows they will be in town for a week and would like the security and consistency of the same desk day after day, hoteling is the perfect solution.
Like hot desking, hoteling only works if you pair it with a reservation and tracking system that is easy to use and accessible to all anytime, day or night.
The Hybrid Work Model Done For You
Whether your business is ready for it or not, building a hybrid work model from scratch can be a difficult and expensive undertaking. The reservation and tracking system that facilitates hot desking and hoteling is enough to give most managers a serious headache.
But why reinvent the wheel when everything you need is just a phone call away? Partner with Bond Collective, and we’ll do all the work for you.
For years, Bond Collective has provided the business world with coworking spaces (the precursor of the hybrid work model) for individuals, teams, and even entire businesses.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a team of one or 100, you’ll enjoy all that Bond Collective has to offer, including industry-leading amenities such as:
Conference rooms for two or 20+
Private meeting and phone booths
Guest reception and greeting
Unlimited black-and-white printing
Fast, reliable WiFi
Mail and package handling
Nightly office cleaning
Fresh fruit, snacks, and weekly breakfast
Complimentary spa water, craft beer, and coffee
And, as the world adjusts to the effects of the Coronavirus, we continue striving to uphold the high standards of hospitality and design that have become a hallmark of our communities while maintaining the protocols and procedures necessary to ensure the comfort and safety of our existing and future membership.
Visit any one of Bond Collective’s many locations in the United States — including workspaces in California, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas — to see what the best of the hybrid work model is all about.