Hybrid work allows employees to split their time working from home and in the office. By enhancing flexibility and improving work-life balance, this schedule is favored by 83% of workers worldwide.1
According to The Flex Report, which analyzes data from over 4,000 companies with over 100 million global employees, 30% of employees currently work hybrid schedules.2 However, only 26% of workplace leaders have clear hybrid workplace strategies in place.2
Successfully transitioning to a hybrid work model begins with a well-defined hybrid workplace strategy. Below, we’ll explain what a hybrid workplace strategy is and why it matters. We’ll also break down the steps involved in creating one.
What is a Hybrid Workplace Strategy?
A workplace strategy is an assessment of your company’s core components, including its:
- Office design and resources
- Technology infrastructure
- Human resources (HR) policies and processes
- Company culture
The primary goal of a workplace strategy is to optimize your company’s effectiveness and efficiency. Hybrid workplace strategies simply take into account the additional considerations of a hybrid team.
The Importance of a Hybrid Workplace Strategy
There are various benefits of remote work for employers. Establishing a clear hybrid workplace strategy for your company can help you:
- Optimize your office space utilization
- Streamline your overhead costs
- Attract and retain top talent
- Improve collaboration and communication among team members
- Increase employee engagement
- Boost employee productivity and performance
- Bolster your company’s resilience and adaptability
A hybrid work strategy achieves this by aligning the core components of your workspace with your business objectives and employee preferences.
4 Components of an Effective Hybrid Workplace Strategy
Every company’s hybrid workplace strategy will vary, depending on its size, location, industry, and organizational culture. Even so, all hybrid workplace strategies should focus on the following components:
#1 HR Policies
First, you need to establish documented hybrid work policies. These policies should clarify:
- How often employees can work remotely
- How often employees are expected to come to the office
- What days employees should work remotely vs. in-person
- How you plan to monitor remote working hours and in-office attendance
- How team members can provide feedback regarding their employee experience within the hybrid work environment
Some companies prefer to implement a more structured hybrid schedule, requiring all employees to come to the office according to a set schedule—every Tuesday and Thursday, for example. Other companies may be comfortable giving their employees more flexibility, potentially allowing some to work remotely full-time.
No matter what style you prefer, you should clearly define your expectations of your hybrid environment within your HR handbook.
#2 Office Space
Once you have a general idea of how many people will be coming to the office and when, you can assess your office space.
- Is your office large enough to accommodate everyone? Could you move to a smaller workspace and save money?
- Do you have enough desks, chairs, and computers to support all of your scheduled in-office employees on a given day?
- Are the desks configured in a way that promotes employee productivity?
- Do you want to invest in a coffee machine, snack bar, or recreation room to improve the overall employee experience?
Since some of your employees will be working remotely at least some of the time, you don’t necessarily need to have a dedicated desk for each person. Many hybrid companies are utilizing the following strategies instead3:
- Hot desking allows in-office employees to claim different desks on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- Hoteling enables employees to reserve desks in advance, ensuring they have a sufficient setup ready for them when they arrive.
On remote days, your employees will likely rely heavily on technology to get their work done. You can improve their productivity and engagement by providing them with the right tech tools.
Here are some hybrid work solutions worth looking into:
- Video conferencing software, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams
- Cloud-based document management software
- Desk booking software (if you opt for the hoteling strategy)
- Virtual messaging platforms, whiteboards, and other collaborative tools
- Augmented reality (AR)
#4 Performance Metrics
Before you start crafting your hybrid workplace strategy, it’s important to step back and reflect on your business objectives. What are your goals for your hybrid workforce?
Maybe you want to improve employee retention or lower office expenses by following a hybrid working model. Or maybe you have rigid output requirements you must meet to sustain your desired revenues. In either case, it’s important to set key performance indicators (KPIs) for each of your goals.
By listing out these goals and KPIs, you can construct your workforce strategy to support them. After that, you can monitor your strategy’s implementation to ensure you’re on track to meet your goals.
How to Build a Successful Hybrid Strategy
Now that you know its core components, you may be wondering how to develop a hybrid workplace strategy. Here are five steps to do just that:
#1 Define Your Hybrid Work Requirements
The number of days that you require employees to be in the office will influence how much office space you need, as well as your technology infrastructure requirements. Thus, you should figure out this aspect of your workspace strategy before you do anything else.
If you want to enhance your employee engagement and retention, ask your employees about their preferences. You can administer a survey with the following questions:
- How often would you ideally like to come to the office?
- Do you prefer a structured schedule or a more flexible schedule?
- Do you feel more productive working from home or in the office?
- What tasks do you perform more effectively in the office?
- Do you have sufficient at-home office space?
- Do you need any at-home equipment?
Based on your employees’ responses and your business objectives, you can set a hybrid work schedule that balances everyone’s needs or allow each employee to customize their schedule instead.
Insightful Statistics from Hybrid Companies
Wondering how other companies have chosen to implement a hybrid working strategy? Here are some interesting insights according to The Flex Report:2
- Two-thirds of companies with fewer than 500 employees have opted for a “fully flexible” model, allowing their employees to work remotely as often as they want.
- Only 13% of companies with over 50,000 employees are fully flexible—66% of them have implemented structured hybrid workweeks instead.
- Companies with structured workweeks require 2.53 days in-office, on average. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the most commonly required in-office days.
You can use these trends to inspire your own hybrid work strategy. But keep in mind, there’s no right or wrong way to arrange your hybrid model—there’s simply a schedule that works best for your team.
#2 Define Your Office’s Purpose
Before the rise of remote work, office spaces had a straightforward purpose: to give employees a place to come together and conduct business. Now that so much work can be done remotely, this vaguely defined purpose is no longer sufficient.
More precise office purposes include giving your employees a space to:
- Meet weekly to discuss important topics.
- Enable collaboration on projects.
- Conduct meetings with clients.
- Be more productive if their house is too distracting.
You’ll likely use your office space in multiple ways. By clarifying its primary functions, you can design your office configuration accordingly and invest in the right office resources.
#3 Shop Around For Technology Providers
After arranging your office space, it’s time to select your hybrid work technology. You’ll likely need video conferencing software and web-based document management at the very least.
Depending on your operations, you may want to invest in additional tools, as well. Ask your employees what solutions they believe would help them do their best work from home and compare different providers.
Once you’ve finalized your chosen suite of tech solutions, you can start implementing it and training employees on how to use each tool.
#4 Promote Consistent Communication
Without clear policies, hybrid work can take a toll on your team’s communication. You can prevent this from happening by establishing clear communication expectations within your HR policies.
For example, you can require your remote employees to respond to emails within 24 hours or schedule company-wide conference calls each week to give everyone a chance to connect.
#5 Monitor and Optimize Your Hybrid Workplace Strategy
Managing hybrid teams and implementing a successful strategy takes time. What works well during one quarter may not yield the same results in the next.
Thus, it’s crucial to monitor your performance metrics and regularly request employee feedback. Based on this information, you can fine-tune your hybrid workplace strategy as needed.