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What is Hybrid Working?

Hybrid work environments are becoming more prominent as we get closer to a post-COVID-19 world. Learn the meaning of a hybrid workplace and how this setup can be conducive to effective teamwork and productivity.

As we start to enter a post-pandemic future, companies are re-evaluating their workplace structure and looking to implement a work model that best fits the needs of their employees.While many workers have grown accustomed to the work-from-home lifestyle this past year, businesses have started to explore a hybrid work environment as a way to safely return some of their team to the office and still offer the flexibility to work remote.


What Does a Hybrid Working Model Look Like?

A hybrid work environment includes a mixture of in-office and remote employees. Companies that adopt this type of work structure give their employees the deciding factor of when, how, and where they work optimally. Hybrid work setups can also include teams that work at home part-time and in an office the rest of the time. Either way, the company gives its employees the independence to choose how they work best.

Businesses could implement a hybrid work environment by choosing to have in-office days for collaborative work and using remote days for more deep focus work or by allowing their team to choose whether they would like to work in an office or remote. As with any new change to a workplace, there are ups and downs to employing a hybrid work model.

On the one hand, hybrid work helps to continue the work-life balance that came with working remote full-time and cuts out the stress of commuting to and from the office every day. On the other hand, hybrid work may bring its own frustrations, like switching back and forth from a home and office work setting, or some of the team feeling left out of the company’s culture.  


Hybrid Work Best Practices

In order to make the move to hybrid work successful, companies will need to create trust between the organization and its employees, be transparent in communication, and provide their teams with the necessities to help them stay productive and work effectively.

While every organization is unique, the foundations of creating a thriving hybrid work environment are similar and focusing on these best practices can help businesses with a smooth transition.


1. Building Trust

A crucial part in collaboration and hybrid work is building trust between employees and the company. Without trust, managers sometimes become micromanagers to keep tabs on their team to be sure they are staying busy, which can leave the team members feeling uncertain and stressed. It is important to focus on the quality of work being done rather than the hours being clocked. Allowing employees to manage their workload independently and establishing trust across all fronts will greatly help lead to the success of a hybrid work environment.


2. Clear Communication

In addition to creating trust, having transparent communication with employees is necessary in a hybrid work structure. Setting clear expectations and goals will help teams understand what they are working towards and motivate them to work together. Daily or weekly one-on-one check-ins can help establish strong communication between managers and teams, as well as foster a trusting relationship.

3. Use the Right Tools

Much like remote work, technology is key. To avoid as many frustrations as possible, teams will need to be equipped with collaboration tools that allow each employee to stay connected and be able to communicate with each other, no matter where they are. Tools like video conferencing, file sharing and messaging are important to keeping employees engaged with each other and their work, which will also help in trust and communication.

Businesses should invest in tools that help make their teams feel as if they are in the same room. Mitel’s MiCollab + MiTeam Meetings is a set of collaboration software and tools that has practically everything a company needs to run an effective hybrid team—providing employees a cohesive experience for messaging, video conferencing, and collaboration. Employees can access this software on any device at any time no matter where they are.

Hybrid work helps to continue work-life balance and gives employees the independence to manage their time efficiently. Whether companies make the decision to transition to a more hybrid work environment or continue to work remote full-time post-pandemic, having trust, clear communication and the necessary technology software are vital to creating a hybrid workspace that supports all employees equally. 


Key Hybrid Working Challenges

With any change of working practice, there are undeniably big challenges, and hybrid working is no different. Maintaining awareness of these challenges and taking the right steps to ensure they don’t negatively affect your workforce or customers is vital. Here are some examples of the challenges faced when implementing a hybrid working model:


1. Unconscious Bias

For those who prefer to work remotely more often, there can be a concern and a risk that they may suffer from unconscious bias. Not being visible to management could risk them feeling less valued than those in the office, due to potentially getting less facetime and fewer benefits than those in the office. It’s important to remain connected to those who work remotely and ensure this doesn’t happen.


2. Loss of Culture

It’s without doubt that company culture was easier to build when all staff were based in the office five days a week. Taking some or all of the staff out of the premises can lead to disillusionment within the workforce, which makes it all the more important to focus on what aspects of culture you’re looking to nurture and do that through the channels available to you.


3. Hybrid Worker Wellbeing

Working remotely negatively affects the mental wellbeing of some employees, and those employees struggled when working from home was enforced. This presents an opportunity for employers to use hybrid working in the most accommodating way possible for employees, giving them the flexibility they require to shape their own working schedule.


4. Communication & Connectivity

Although those working remotely and those in the office are not in the same physical location, there should be no difference in their ability to communicate with colleagues. Creating a quality connection between remote workers and those on-site is vitally important, helping connect the entire workforce and avoid the kind of mistakes that negatively affect both customers and employees.



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