How Hybrid Work Could be the Next Challenge for Companies to Conquer

What does the hybrid model look like, and what do leaders need to know about tackling its potential challenges?

By now, many of us have grown accustomed to the remote working environment. The global shift to remote work continues to teach many lessons, including the upcoming shift to the hybrid working model. What does the hybrid model look like, and what do leaders need to know about tackling its potential challenges?

Hybrid Working Models are Part of Evolving Remote Work Policies

Worldwide ERC®’s research on remote work policies and the senior HR leaders implementing them found that over the past year, a resounding 100% of research participants implemented at least some form of remote work policy, with roughly half of them rolling out formal “work from anywhere” policies. Another 40% are considering implementation of such policies. These policies are still developing as 96% of employers reported that they are working to determine which roles are best suited for on-premises work, remote work, or hybrid work.

What is the hybrid model of work?

While the model of working from our home offices from Monday to Friday has become the norm, the hybrid model of spending some time at both the home office and physical work location is growing more popular. Variations have emerged on this model – perhaps the company uses a “remote first” approach that prioritizes remote work while allowing for a few days in the office, or the company uses an “office first” approach that prioritizes working in the office while allowing for some remote work.

Major companies are approaching the hybrid model of work to allow employees more flexibility of choice in how and where they work. This month, Uber announced that it will adopt the hybrid model, saying that this approach will “promote productivity and workplace camaraderie.” GM is also using the hybrid model for its 155,000 employees while espousing a simple strategy for employees: “work appropriately.”

Overcoming the Potential Challenges for Hybrid Work

CEOs are recognizing this shift in approach to work, too. A recent poll of 251 chief executives found that 82% are likely or very likely to allow some employees to work from home even after the pandemic subsides. What this means for organization leaders, HR managers, and mobility professionals alike is that the hybrid model presents a host of new challenges to consider and conquer.

For instance, just like the remote model, it may not work for everyone depending on if their role requires their on-site presence. Having some employees in the office while others are remote will also be a balancing act that requires careful planning. On the one hand, remote workers will need the same set of resources to work as successfully at home as they have had throughout the pandemic, while office workers must be kept safe as the pandemic winds down in certain parts of the world.

The global shift to remote work also shined a light on such crucial work aspects as equity and mental health and well-being. The same will be true for the shift to hybrid working models. For Microsoft, in-person working levels are adjusted based on local health data and government guidance to ensure that risk-tolerant workers don’t feel unnecessary pressure to return to the office. Harvard Business Review writes of this “psychological safety,” in which employees working from home must feel basic comfort in returning to the office.

Workers must also have the tools to be successful. A global survey of 560 business leaders and 558 employees found that, as the world of work approaches a hybrid model, businesses must ensure “digital parity” and “experience parity,” in which workers all have access to resources required to do their jobs no matter where they are located, while a democratized workplace ensures that all employees can collaborate, learn, develop, and succeed.

From hybrid models to a completely distributed workforce, ensuring that employees are supported with adequate tools, resources, and executive support while being able to collaborate with their teammates wherever they are located will continue to be of utmost importance no matter where work is going.

Want to Learn More?

To learn more about the transformed world of work and how employers are tackling new challenges, Worldwide ERC® launched Transformation of the Global Workforce: Remote Work, focusing on remote work policies and perspectives from global senior HR leaders. We also developed a LinkedIn Learning Path specifically for remote work that will set individuals and teams up for success. Courses include “Time Management from Home” and “Supporting Your Mental Health While Working From Home” as well as sessions from the Global Workforce Symposium 2020. Click here to get started and accelerate your learning.

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