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Mastering Hybrid Work

Strategies for Making it a Success

Best practices and success stories to help HR, IT departments, and workplace managers manage hybrid offices.

hybrid work strategies

Hybrid Work Models

Which hybrid model would suit your business and what do you need to know before introducing it?

Well-chosen hybrid work models can improve the functioning of the entire company. However, if the model is not suited to employees’ needs and the company’s requirements, it may have the opposite effect.  

Due to a change in how we work, there has been much discussion about hybrid work models. Are the hybrid work models good or not? How to select a proper hybrid work model? Should we apply the same hybrid work model to all employees the same? These are just some of the questions modern companies have been asking themselves recently.  

By blending the benefits of remote work with the advantages of a physical office location, hybrid work has emerged as a potential solution to balance the needs of both employers and employees.

I mean, just look at what the data tells us: “55% of employees want to work at least three days a week remotely” .

So, in this article, we’ll explore the different models of hybrid work, and how organizations can effectively implement and manage this type of work arrangement. 

hybrid work models
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There are several popular hybrid work models that organizations have adopted. Here are the 5 most popular: 

  • Office-first hybrid work model 
  • Remote-first hybrid work model 
  • Partly remote hybrid work model 
  • Flex hybrid work model 
  • Work from anywhere hybrid work model 

 
The specific model that an organization chooses will depend on various factors, including the nature of the work, the preferences of employees, and the goals of the organization. One important factor that influences the decision making related to hybrid work is: legislation. This can vary from country to country. The COVID pandemic kinda forced some countries to modify labor laws to be more permissive when it comes to telework/remote work. But work is still in progress.

Now, let’s take each model and analyze it a bit.  

  1. Office first hybrid work model 

Hybrid work has already become an everyday reality for us. Some people love it, and some still need to be convinced about its advantages. Many companies, still determining the idea or possible effects of hybrid work, have decided to explore the office’s first hybrid work model. This basic model allows for a smooth introduction of the more flexible work style that employees crave. 

In the office’s first hybrid work model,  people primarily work from the office. The office is their command base, where they divide most tasks and organize work. They can work remotely a few days a week or a month. It all depends on the company’s arrangements. 

Some companies require the presence of employees on-site on given days, and others let teams decide the schedules. People like to impact when they come to the office and need real reasons to follow a specific schedule. 

  1. Remote first hybrid work model

Work-from-home (WFH) fans have genuinely liked the remote-first hybrid work model. It contains all the benefits of remote work and a crucial socialization element, especially important for the younger generations.  

In the remote’s first hybrid work model, people primarily work from home. The company encourages people to work remotely yet still provides them with office space for company events, networking, and inspiration.   

The remote-first hybrid work model allows a schedule tailored to the needs of projects, teams, and even individuals. That kind of approach centered on people helps to create a work environment that supports the well-being of employees. 

  1. Partly remote hybrid work model

Hybrid work should support productivity and employee satisfaction. Therefore, if part of the team wants and can work mainly remotely, and some primarily stationary, it may be worth allowing them to do so. For such solutions, people invented a partly remote hybrid work model.  

In the partly remote hybrid work model, some teams work from home and some from the office. It doesn’t mean that stationary employees cannot work from home and remote ones cannot come to the office. Some teams, e.g., developers, work for weeks or even months from home in complete focus on the project but come to company events or introductory presentations. This group likes to work from home and is even ready to quit a job when attending the office is often mandatory.   

On the other hand, some departments, for example, creative ones, like to work in a stimulating environment, which is undoubtedly the office space. They would be miserable if they had to work alone at home for months. As a study shows, virtual communication curbs creative idea generation. So it’s completely understandable.  

  1. Flex hybrid work model

This hybrid work model is for open companies with an innovative approach. This model allows employees to work remotely, stationary, for selected hours and even days! Companies operating in this flex hybrid work model enable employees to take days off during the week and work as they prefer, for example, early morning or late evening. 

And take a look at that: 54% of employees say they’d change the company for one that provides more flexibility. If modern companies want to build competitiveness in the talent market, they should listen to peoples’ opinions.  

The overriding goal in the flex hybrid work model is to deliver projects on time. Where and when this happens is not as important as a result. It’s great for international teams working in different time zones, for people with disabilities, and for those who want to fit work to life, not the other way around. 

  1. Hot desk hybrid work model

Hot desking or hoteling is a model where employees do not have an assigned desk in the office. Maybe the company has decreased office space, in order to cut costs, and there are fewer desks than employees.

The hot desk hybrid work model allows one to choose a different desk with each office visit. It is a great way to mix teams, integrate people and let them work in conditions that suit their preferences.  

Many companies make additional facilities for employees and enable them to filter desks by amenities, for example, a standing desk with two screens near the window or adapted to the needs of a disabled person. Certain desk booking software such as Tidaro, even allow the creation of specific office zones. 

  1. Work from anywhere hybrid work model

Imagine a beautiful beach and the calm sound of the ocean. You are sitting on the hammock under a palm tree with a laptop on your knees. For some people, this sounds like heaven, so they choose work from anywhere hybrid work model.  

Work from anywhere hybrid work model is very simple. People can work fully remotely with no location restrictions. Moreover, they don’t even have to go to the office. They stay in touch with teammates to lead projects together and that’s all. If you are wondering who can be interested in such a model, here are the most popular from-anywhere jobs: marketing, computer & IT, writing/editing, project management, purchasing, customer support, HR & recruiting.  

Hybrid work models: examples from SAP, Unilever, and Apple 

During the COVID19 pandemic lots of companies were forced to embrace hybrid work. Starting with 2023 we see a comeback of office work. Yet, some companies are still embracing remote and hybrid work practices. It’s because they can really feel their benefits.

SAP 

  • SAP has approached the topic holistically. The company surveyed employees first, showing that 80 % want to work hybrid. On this basis, SAP created a new concept, “Pledge to Flex,” i.e., a flexible hybrid work model.   
  • SAP points out that this hybrid work model is 100% flexible and trust-based. The company emphasizes that employees can always visit the office. 
  • In practice, an SAP employee can choose a workplace daily without asking for permission. The company is constantly improving its space so that the employees who choose the office can work productively. 

Unilever   

  • Unilever can boast an exciting approach to hybrid work. According to the company’s hybrid model, employees spend 40% of their weekly working time in the office, another 40% work from home, and the remaining 20% from anywhere.  
  • Plus employees can work from another country once a year for four weeks.  

Apple 

  • Due to the introduction of a hybrid work system that was not adapted to people’s needs, the company lost many valuable experts, including a long-term employee – the Head of the Machine Learning department.   
  • Apple employees pointed out that the company wants to be recognized as a supplier of ideal tools for supporting remote and hybrid work. At the same time, it does not fully enable employees to do so.  

The future of hybrid work – office or remote? 

Although sometimes it may seem tempting to abandon the office entirely, it may not be the best idea. Why? Let’s look at some generation’s differences: 

  • 42.2% of Gen Z want to work remotely one to two days a week. 
  • 37.8% of Millennials want to work remotely three to four days per week. 
  • 21.4% of Gen X and Baby Boomers want to work remotely full-time. 

Numbers clearly show that office spaces are still relevant for employees. Some of them like to socialize with a team, solve face-to-face problems, or don’t have the proper conditions to work entirely from home, e.g., issues with the internet, renovation next door, crying babies, or roommates’ party 🙂  

It is also worth looking at how the job market will change over the years to adapt proper work conditions to different generations. 

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