The Hybrid Office is Upon Us: Are You Ready?


Three things you can do now to plan for a hybrid work model

People have grown fond of working from home. A recent study offers some telling statistics:

  • <95% of people feel their productivity has been the same or higher working from home
  • 73% say they have a better work-life balance working from home
  • (And 79% of those people cite lack of commuting as the main reason their lives are better)
  • 65% want to become full-time remote employees post-pandemic; 31% would like some sort of hybrid arrangement
  • 27% of workers are willing to take a 10% - 20% pay cut to continue their remote arrangement
  • 81% of respondents say they would be more loyal to their employer if they had more flexible work options.

These statistics represent a major cultural shift in the workplace. The shift has critical implications for not only how you retain people, but how you hire them.

Against this backdrop, let’s look at three things you can do to plan for the inevitable: the hybrid work model.

1. Familiarize yourself with the variations of the hybrid model available

Knowing more about the options available to you and your team is the first step in the process. We’ve broken them down for you here:

  • Business operations will function like a remote organization. Downsizing offices, using office space differently, and relying on mostly virtual communication characterize this variation. In this approach, colleagues may see each other in person only once or twice a year.
  • Office-occasional: Like it sounds, employees may come in occasionally each week. This may be a popular choice for a lot of businesses, especially SMBs that have relaxed policies around where their employees work. Leaders can be as loose or prescribed with this model. Office space is used for working autonomously and for collaboration.
  • Office-first, remote-allowed: The last variation that was widely used even before COVID-19. In this approach, the office is the main designated work area. The remote work policy may be implemented but not highly favored by management, especially if they are working in the office themselves.

2. Conduct a pulse survey with your team to gain valuable employee feedback

Gathering employee feedback is critical.  Pulse surveys capture real-time feedback on your policies. For success, it is important to capture feedback frequently (especially if feelings and viewpoints can change), share results with the team, and take action according to employee feedback.

If your organization is planning to re-open offices or is beginning to gather feedback on workplace preferences, here are some questions that can help shape the structure your hybrid model takes:

  • Based on what you know now, and given your position/role/responsibilities, if provided flexibility, how many days would you expect to work in the office per week?
  • When we can safely return to the office, which arrangement do you prefer?
  • I am confident my manager will support a flexible / hybrid work policy.
  • Are there any accommodations that we could make so that you feel more at ease being in the office?

Once you’ve collected employee feedback, decide which variation works best for teams and individuals.

3. Strategize on how you are going to offer consistent employee experience accordingly

As much as possible, organizations should try to give remote and in-office employees the same experience, offering equal and individual benefits for all employees.

There are a few things to be aware of when considering the unique experiences of your employees:

  • Remote employees can feel disconnected, miss out on perks like lunches, company happy hours, etc. Plan to help them feel included in the workplace by offering virtual options as well as in-office events.
  • On-site employees can receive preferential treatment, faster promotions, and lots of FaceTime with management and leadership, creating deeper relationships. Make sure that you are considering your remote talent and fostering your relationships with them as well.

Adjusting your benefit offerings for employees on-site and remote is important to show the team that no matter where they work, they’re appreciated.

Consider giving your remote team a similar experience to the in-office team by:

  • Adding a lunch budget
  • Sending out birthday cards
  • Hosting virtual mixers
  • Having weekly 1-on-1 time with managers

Strong, consistent, multi-channel communications have never been more important. Even in the best times, employee survey results often show low marks on questions about the frequency and effectiveness of ‘Leadership Communications.’ The challenge is only magnified when some people are in the office, having hallway/breakroom discussions, while others are at home, missing these chance encounters. Your job is to ensure that the most important ideas and policies are communicated to everyone.

Regardless of the office model you choose – even if it’s the same model you used before the pandemic – the culture of your company has been altered. You will have new and unique challenges. We understand this. Our recruiting approach is the best at marrying employees to the culture of your company. Accountants One is here to serve you.

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