After two solid years of anxiety caused by the pandemic, the business world seems to have permanently changed its work formats for a majority of employees.

The preferred style of work in today’s climate is a combination of face-to-face and remote formats, with many companies claiming that a hybrid work environment will be the new norm.

In many countries, more than half of employers are going to implement this model. Let’s figure out what the features of this model are and how to switch to it.

The main differences of the hybrid workplace

The combination of in-office and remote styles of work is called hybrid working.

Despite the popularity of the model, it isn’t easy to clearly define and describe. It is not completely clear what should be the ratio of time spent working remotely versus in-office working to classify an employee’s position as “hybrid.”

Experts agree that the degree of such “hybridity” should be determined in each case separately, depending on the specifics of the tasks, goals, and prerequisites for the position at hand.

Usually referred to as a hybrid office setup, this combination of office and remote formats is typically when more than a third of employees work outside the office more than half of the time.

Characteristics of the hybrid workplace format

  1. Partial presence of staff working in an office according to a flexible but pre-agreed schedule;
  2. Coworking spaces are often used by employees to avoid long-term, costly leases and are easily found in both suburban settings and urban cities, such as the ideal coworking spaces that can be found in New York;
  3. Non-personalized jobs;
  4. Clear planning of the time and content of personal meetings and joint activities;
  5. An adaptive workspace that can be transformed depending on current tasks.

A view of a Parisian hybrid workplace.

How to implement a hybrid format

The potential for remote and, consequently, the hybrid format depends on the specifics of the work, the corporate culture of the company, and the prevailing leadership style.

Simultaneously, the approaches to this format and the details of its implementation may vary from company to company.

In any case, the transition to a new model requires a specific sequence of actions:

  • Gather the main stakeholders and determine why the hybrid workplace is needed. At this stage, you need to outline the goals and expected results of the project.
  • Identify a project leader responsible for developing the business plan and leading its implementation.
  • Develop a business plan. It needs to reflect how much it will cost to implement a hybrid office format and its benefits. You also need to develop criteria for assessing the effectiveness of the project.
  • Select a pilot unit for the implementation of a hybrid office.
  • Analyze the roles and categories of tasks for employees that can be converted to a hybrid format, taking into account information security requirements. There are some factors to consider, such as how physical objects and social interactions are involved in work operations, as well as how difficult it is to move or remotely access equipment.
  • Analyze the business processes that will have to change with the transition to a hybrid.
  • Evaluate the system for setting goals and remote performance monitoring. Moreover, not only control is essential here, but also feedback procedures.
  • Analyze the infrastructure and communication channels needed for the hybrid format. Access to teamwork should be the same regardless of geography.
  • Examine the corporate culture and identify aspects that require increased attention.
  • Decide on the redesign of the office space. Typically, this means less space for personalized workspaces and more spaces for teamwork.
  • Draw up an action plan. Here, experts advise paying attention to the most difficult aspects of the hybrid, for example, monitoring employees’ stress levels, filling the company’s information space, and maintaining communication and feedback.
  • Provide monitoring of the hybrid format. In 3-6 months, you need to regularly measure the effectiveness and conduct employee surveys to assess the situation and identify problems.
  • At the end of the pilot period, determine which decisions are best to abandon, what to improve, and what can be safely replicated throughout the company.

The latest in-house polls show that the future belongs to the hybrid office.

More than half of managers do not plan to return to 100% presence in the office and completely take their team offline. A third of employees do not intend to go to the office at all.

With many supporting the hybrid format, it is more than likely that this style of flexible work will take precedence for companies looking to avoid costly leases and promote a sustainable work-life balance for employees.