Choosing the Best Hybrid Work Model for Your Business

Choosing the Best Hybrid Work Model for Your Business
(Chris Montgomery / Unsplash)

While some impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are likely to fade along with the virus, others are here to stay. Within the workplace, one of those long-lasting changes will be the switch to a virtual workforce, either in part or in whole.

Prior to the pandemic, while many employees were eager for the flexibility that virtual work had to offer, most employers were dragging their feet on making the transition, citing numerous concerns. However, once the first stay-at-home order hit, those employers were forced to give it a try, and many were surprised to find that it went much more smoothly than they anticipated. Now, a year and a half into the pandemic, it has become clear that remote work is here to stay.

The decision that employers are faced with is no longer, “Should we allow remote work?” but rather, “What should our remote work policy look like?” From strict to lax, there are many different strategies when it comes to choosing the best hybrid work model for your business. Read on to learn about three different models for incorporating virtual work at your organization:

1. Limited Hybrid Work

With a limited model, your focus remains on in-office work and culture. This means that your team members are required to come into the office the majority of the time but are allowed to work virtually in a very limited capacity, maybe just 5-10 days each month. With this model, the employer may even mandate which days are available for virtual work. In some cases, an employer will require that everybody come to the office on the same day or days, but then allow flexibility for choosing which days to work virtually beyond that.

Implementing a limited hybrid work model makes sense if your organization requires a fair amount of in-person connection and coordination in order to get the job done. It allows for some flexibility while still maintaining a strong in-office presence and culture.

2. Moderated Hybrid Work

A moderated hybrid work schedule still involves a combination of in-office and virtual work, but it allows for a bit more flexibility than a limited model. With this model, employees have greater leeway when it comes to how many days they work from home (though a cap is still likely used) and on which days they work from home. Some employers choose to require that their team members schedule in advance when they will be working from home; others set a cap on the percent of the team that can work from home on any given day.

One of the big perks of the moderated hybrid work schedule is that allows for greater schedule flexibility while still enabling the development of a strong in-office culture.

3. Relaxed Hybrid Work

With a relaxed hybrid work model, for the majority of the time, the employer leaves it up to their team members to decide how frequently they want to work in-office and how frequently they want to work virtually. Required days in the office are rare—usually monthly, quarterly, or less.

This type of model is a big draw for new employees. Additionally, depending on how frequently in-person visits to the office are required, it can open up your organization to hiring new talent outside of your geographic area.

4. Fully Hybrid Work

The fully hybrid work model is exactly what it sounds like: everyone works virtually and the organization no longer has a lease payment for office space. If organizations that use this model want to hold an in-person meeting, they need to rent out short-term space and pay to transport team members to the same location.

One of the greatest challenges of this model is cultivating a company culture when face-to-face meetings are rare and team members live in geographically diverse locations. However, there are a lot of perks to this model, if it is feasible for your organization, including no lease or utility payments on an office space and high employee satisfaction.

When it comes to picking the best model for your organization, the first step is to be open to all options. Consider sending out an anonymous employee survey to gather information about the preferences of your team members.

Then, your executive team should have a candid discussion that includes examining all of the possibilities and enumerating the pros and cons of each.

Finally, once you settle on a model, be frank with your team about why you chose it, why you think it is the best decision for your organization, and how you are going to work diligently to make your team happy with the chosen model.