6 Reasons Why You Need the Hybrid Work Environment Policy
Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, remote work was used sparingly and was not encouraged by most organisations unless the reason was very critical. The general impression was that remote work was not practical, and the top reasons given were – technology gaps and promoting and maintaining company culture. Whereas in fact the underlying reason for not adopting remote work has always been the distrust between employer and employees. But things have changed more than we have imagined in the last two years and how!
As vaccinations are expected to slowly make life limp back to normal, it seems like hybrid work models are evolving – which allow employees the option of choosing their place of work – at a physical office, or work from home or a combination of both. The reality is the “normal” we were used to is never going to come back, and this “normal” will vary from company to company.
A recent article in The Times of India, quoted a LinkedIn study that said surprisingly 7 out of 10 young professionals feel remote working will negatively impact their career growth! However, nearly half of India’s workforce is keen on being back in the cubicle as they believe workplace setting is more conducive for productive work, while 9 in 10 employees believe a hybrid work model positively influences work-life balance. In a recent report released by McKinsey, 90% of organizations said they are adopting a hybrid work environment, but only a handful have concrete plans for how to implement it. If you’re not among those who are already acting on it, here are 6 reasons why it’s important to prepare a hybrid work environment policy.
Remote working is expected to double permanently.
For most companies, 2020 has been a year of adapting. Employers weren’t prepared for their entire workforce to work from home but factors such as forced disruption, access to technology and innovation, things worked out well for many companies. If anything, the Covid-19 pandemic has proven that business can continue and employees can still be productive when working remotely – and as lockdown restrictions ease around the world, many companies have started to make their current fully remote work set up a part of their work policy to make it a permanent option for their workers.
Flexibility is no more a unique benefit but a new normal.
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, flexible work arrangements were a benefit restricted under a handful of circumstances such as for new mothers or employees recovering from sickness. Now almost every office has employees working from home or away from the office in some capacity. Flexible work arrangements that were once considered too difficult have now become the new norm of working life. Employers that promote flexible work arrangements can expect improved productivity, efficiency, creativity, engagement, and retention.
Work-life balance is preferred to job status among the millennial workforce.
Most millennials are looking for jobs that support their lifestyle. They are not afraid to quit jobs to pursue their passions and dreams, they don’t mind taking up jobs that pay lesser if it makes them feel valued or if they are learning or getting to work on a project of their choice. To quote an example, someone who has an interest in sports and has commitments to go for training, or competitions, will find a job that allows them to do that. A stringent 9 AM to 6 PM job will not be something that they can commit to. Millennials are the majority workforce in India now. To make room for them, you need to be ready for a hybrid work environment.
Bring agility to business operations.
Business agility is the effectiveness with which you make improvements and adaptations in your current methods or processes. An agile business can respond more quickly to business demands, opportunities or changes and minimize threats – both internal and external. This allows you to grow and stay ahead of your competition and helps to strengthen your business continuity plan. A good start to build an agile workforce is to attract talent that is not only a specialist but a generalist – someone who doesn’t have a precise set of skill sets confining them to one area of expertise but at the same time they are curious, engage in active learning and are quick to adapt.
Hybrid work offers an opportunity for optimum productivity.
One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic revealed is how different employees work. Some thrived as remote workers—maintaining a healthy work-life balance and meeting deadlines and quotas—while others didn’t. Perhaps because their homes were not conducive for remote work, but it could also be that some people just perform better when work and home are separate. A successful hybrid work environment gives employees the ability to work productively, regardless of where they are located. They may work some days at home (or at a coworking space or coffee shop) and on other days from a designated office. This model can promote flexibility, inclusiveness, and the well-being of all team members. Also not all roles are meant for work from home, hence work process must be realigned to ensure that office or field visits are possible within the scope of the hybrid work models.
Helps control employee retention and attrition especially of new joinees.
It is clear now, that many employees have embraced a flexible work culture. We reiterate, that it suits some to work remotely, while others to work from an office. Companies that promote a hybrid work environment rather than ‘hire to retire’, are likely to get a variety of suitable talent. And allowing people to choose the way they work and how they work as long as they are productive will also ensure less attrition. HR processes will accordingly need to be redesigned to deliver the right employee experience to a high percentage of employees comprising millennials who may be working from anywhere.
Taking a strong stance about only back to work or only work from home may be difficult. On the positive side, working from home has shown a marked increase in the amount of work done on any given day. At the same time, many employees complained that there was no sanctity to time and scheduling and people were taking calls and working at odd hours too. Others argue that over the medium to long term, long-distance employment can’t deliver key benefits — including learning through observation and new friendships — that come from face-to-face interactions. In-person work also fosters innovation. There is also the big question of saving commuting time, office resources etc. Can people go back to a full time 5-day workweek at an office? The inertia is already set in. It doesn’t look possible in the near future.
The pandemic is surely hastening the move towards a hybrid model that involves some days at home and some in the office, giving workers new flexibility. Hybrid is a win-win for both organisation and employees. You can adjust the model to fit your employee’s preferences to boost productivity. As a result, your organisation can accomplish more, while keeping employees happy and contributing towards overall health and safety in the workplace.
At Yellow Spark, we can help you design a hybrid work policy which suits your unique business operations. To know more write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author Profile: Deepam Yogi is an adventurer at heart, socially conscious in her gut and professionally a strategic consultant. She co-founded Yellow Spark to support organisations to build workplaces that people love being a part of. Deepam describes herself as a shy yet opinionated writer and firmly believes that most answers to complex issues lie in simple communication.