3 Examples of New Hybrid Workforce Solutions
As more of us return to work, or transition from remote work (and below-the-waist athleisure-wear) to some other arrangement, there’s no question the traditional office-based scenario has evolved into a hybrid workforce structure.
This is the case across nearly any industry employing “white collar” staff. Is this a positive or negative? Essentially, it just is. The pandemic has left us with hybridity as the most viable option for various businesses moving forward, so the best way to go about it is to focus on the positive and the most effective ways to adapt your organization to a hybrid workforce. As Harvard Business Review points out:
“Hybridity promises organizations the benefits of remote working (increased flexibility, reduced carbon footprint, labor-cost optimization, and increased employee satisfaction) alongside the critical strengths of traditional, co-located work (smoother coordination, informal networking, stronger cultural socialization, greater creativity, and face-to-face collaboration).”
Of course, no two workplaces will adopt hybridity in exactly the same manner. Various models are emerging, and companies are experimenting with different structures, implementing new policies, and creating new approaches to see what works best for their employees and customers.
Here are just three of those…
Google Cloud and the On-Site Offsite
In July of last year, when we were still adjusting to the idea of the ‘new normal’ and realizing face masks are here to stay – for a while, at least – Google announced that employees could work from home until July 2021. This was an extension to the original announcement that allowed WFH through the end of 2020. As one of the first big companies to embrace remote work, it makes sense that Google would create its own approach to hybridity.
The idea behind the on-site offsite is to allow employees and staff to gather (safely) on company premises. They follow social distancing guidelines on campus, usually outside, to create a more physically intimate environment than is possible over webcams. This is particularly helpful when introducing new team members to their managers, as it fosters a sense of cohesion.
Vodafone New Zealand and free-range working
With the catchy opening line of “You don’t have to be at work, to get work done,” Vodafone’s approach to flexible working involves working from wherever you have an internet connection. The holistic approach takes into account the personal lives of employees too, from childcare to sports.
This mobile workforce has been very successful, according to Jodie King, chief people officer of Vodafone NZ. One day a week, most teams go into the office and schedule meetings in person, but for the rest of the week, the managers are left to decide what framework is best for their teams.
Salesforce and flex working
When the pandemic first began, Salesforce conducted wellbeing surveys to gauge how their employees were dealing with the changes caused by COVID-19 and working remotely. The feedback they gathered helped them understand that 80% of employees wanted to hold on to a connection to the physical workspace.
To address this, they came up with three options for employees and staff: flex, which means being in the office 1-3 days a week and remotely the other days, fully remote, and office-based.
What model suits you best?
Depending on your geographic location, stage of reopening, and your company culture and structure, one of these models may be worth taking into consideration – or perhaps a mix of the three. This is the best time to experiment with different approaches to hybridity and see what sort of flexible workplace suits your industry and keeps your staff happy and secure.
Some of this may even depend on the individual, as some people are just better suited to working remotely than others. Conducting surveys the way that Salesforce did is an excellent way to gauge what options you have moving forward, so get started there and see what happens.
Last but not least? Making a hybrid workforce an efficient reality relies on technology solutions that can address the challenges. Explore what’s available for easing the transition and making a hybrid workforce an effective element of your future business continuity.