The hybrid work model is a popular choice for businesses adapting to the new normal imposed by Covid-19. While lockdown measures have been lifted in some parts of the world, in many locations they are also coming back into force or being extended. Amidst this climate of uncertainty, forward thinking companies are implementing, or at least considering, a hybrid business model.
But what exactly is a hybrid work model and how can you create one that works for your business?
What is a hybrid work model?
A hybrid work model is a combination of remote work and on-site work options. The reality is that there are many possible combinations which would all constitute hybrid working. Some popular variations include:
- No-office hybrid model: this may sound like a paradox, but it basically means there is no dedicated office for employees to return to. Rather, employees work remotely most of the time, but are allocated a stipend to meet in person. Whether that’s for coffee or renting an office space with their teammates, the company outlines a guide for particular times in a week, month, quarter or year that make sense for it.
- Team-split hybrid model: some teams work in the office permanently while others work remotely full-time. This allows for teams who need an office or specialised work equipment to work on-site. Other teams in the same company who don’t need access to such materials continue working remotely. Depending on company policy, different teams may also have the autonomy to decide how they want to manage hybrid work within their own team
- Fully flexible hybrid work: this is the most personalised of the approaches. Employees individually choose when they work remotely and when they come on-site. This means having a dedicated office space that employees can use at their own discretion. Again, a rota system that employees can sign up to online can help manage social distancing when such measures are necessary.
Designing your ideal hybrid work model
Whatever hybrid work model you decide to adopt, you’ll want to tailor it to your business’s goals and culture so you can benefit from the best possible outcome. You’ll need to consider the following design elements:
Consider what kind of physical space you’ll need and who will be using it. Not all teams necessarily need access to the same things. If you’re planning on having a designated office, you’ll also need to consider health and safety requirements in a post-pandemic world. For example, more space between desks will allow for social distancing whenever this is needed. Providing a remote work allowance for healthy home offices is also a way to position yourself as an attractive employer and keep your employees engaged.
Particularly if your team is splitting its time between working remotely and the office, you’ll need to consider timings. You can adopt a rota system to allow for safe on-site working. You can change the rota every few months so different team members get to meet on-site throughout the year. You’ll also want to consider whether your team will be working synchronously or asynchronously. The asynchronous path is gaining more traction, allowing companies to hire abroad. Whichever time-split model you choose, make sure it aligns with your wider business goals and your values.
Depending on your model, you might need to invest more to make your hybrid model work, so plan a separate budget. As it’s not a one size fits all solution, it may take some trial and error. This will allow your business to adapt quickly whenever you feel something’s not working as well as you’d like it to be.
How our clients are adopting the hybrid work model
To give you a taste of how some companies are designing their hybrid work models, we asked some of our clients in the tech and SaaS industries for details on how they are working.
Our client, Sphere, is a SaaS business based in London who were working fully on-site before the pandemic. When Covid started, some of their employees returned to their home countries temporarily and then asked to work remotely. Now, Sphere employees have the option to work remotely outside of the UK. While it may not be the norm in the wider team, their take on hybrid work is oriented towards the needs of their employees.
A single hub supported by remote hires:
Another one of our clients is a biotechnology company on a mission to remake single-use plastics by looking at renewable and sustainable sources. Based in Germany, their leadership team is fully aware that the best biotech talent can be anywhere in the world, not just in Germany. That’s why they’ve focused on growing their team out by hiring remotely from a global talent pool. Their approach to hybrid work is to have some of the team based in Germany, and others working remotely from anywhere.
Multiple hubs supported by remote hires:
Similar to our biotech client, we are working with a German eCommerce platform who are committed to hiring abroad with the aim of relocating talent to their homebase in Germany. Due to Covid and the limitations of being a budding business, they now plan to grow their team remotely, allowing team members to work from abroad while also keeping an office space in Berlin for local employees to work on-site with a view of building out some other hubs in Europe at a later date. Their hybrid solution is allowing them to pick their top talent no matter where they are based and eventually grow their physical footprint.
Communicating your hybrid work strategy
Communication and being open to learning is key to staying ahead, which is why we’re exploring these topics with businesses like HubbleHQ, the world’s first hybrid workplace platform.
“When figuring out the right hybrid work strategy for your company, it’s essential to be as communicative as possible with your team at all steps of the process,” says Tushar Agarwal, co-founder and CEO at HubbleHQ. “This starts with speaking to them about how they want to work in the future. And once you’ve implemented your new policy, be sure to keep open feedback loops with your team.” Managing your hybrid work model this way will help you align your strategy with your business goals and keep your talent happy and engaged.
Stepping into the future of work
A hybrid work model is part of the immediate future of work and your competitors may already be adopting some of its principles in order to attract higher caliber talent, reduce expenses, or simply enter new markets. It’s providing companies with a great way to differentiate themselves during the hiring process, manage employee expectations, and be more competitive in the market, all while tackling head on the insecurities around abandoning the office for good. If you're ready to set up your hybrid work model, read our hybrid work policy checklist to find out what you need to consider to ensure your hybrid team success.