It was around a year ago when the hybrid working model was the biggest topic in the workplace. Websites like LinkedIn and Harvard Business Review were offering special posts on how to best shift from online to in-person, particularly as workers and employers alike were eager to get out of their homes. But back then, most of the advice being offered was new and theoretical. Only now are we able to take a step back from our environments and truly examine how we’re fairing a year or so in. Of course, not everyone is going to agree on one given approach to a hybrid workplace model, but maybe what we can all agree on is that the old one just simply isn’t going to cut it anymore. So, let’s talk about how you can replace old corporate cultures with something more productive and inclusive: hybrid workplace models.
Why Should You Implement a Hybrid Work Culture?
Offering a hybrid model to your employees is by no means the easiest, but it certainly is the most inclusive approach. And while there will always be challenges, as with any working model, the pros largely outweigh the cons. For one, your workplace is now opening up beyond those who are local and able to join your team in-person. Not only does this include expanding beyond those able-bodied to come into the office, it further allows for a wider reach for talent. Our very own digital marketing lead is joining us from across the globe. And if our job opportunities were only available to locals, we would have lost out on his incredible and incomparable skill sets and dedication.
This also means your talent can be more diverse, as well. Take, for example, folks who can’t afford to live in the area surrounding your office building. Working from home can save them time and money on a lengthy commute. This is especially important these days when gasoline is at an all-time high, and commuting is not where most folks want to be spending their hard-earned salaries.
At the same time, many workers, particularly those who live in apartments or smaller homes, don’t have the luxury of having a dedicated home office. Some may have roommates or family members who also need to work from home, and this may make working from home actually a detriment to their success. All of this is to say having options is always the best rule of thumb.
So, let’s dive into some of our favorite tips for approaching an inclusive and fair hybrid work model.
Our Top Five Tips for Inclusive Hybrid Workplace Models
1. Start Off on the Right Foot
As more young people are joining the workforce, more HR leaders are holding their interviews online. And the consensus seems to be that interviewing online is generally a win-win situation. Candidates can save time and money on getting to the workplace and being dressed appropriately from head-to-toe in appropriate workwear. Equally, those doing the hiring can squeeze in more interviews in a shorter amount of time, and are able to hold interviews with talent from across the world.
What’s more, holding interviews online can also get candidates into the right mind-set for the position if it is being offered bimodally. They may feel like your implementation of bimodal features is particularly inclusive in comparison to your competitors.
2. Visible Communication is Key!
For in-person conflicts and problem solving, communication is key. The same goes for online workers, though this needs to be made explicitly transparent when working from home. That means you need to have a reliable and multi-functional platform to communicate through. This may involve having company-wide and department-wide group chats. It may look like changing your Teams status to “In a meeting with the developers” when you’re in a meeting, and “Free to chat” when you’re not. It may mean regularly updating your coworkers via Slack. Or even sharing Google calendars to show each other your schedule for the day, and when you’re available to meet.
There are so many new and improved platforms out there that are designed to bridge that gap between online and in-person workers. And luckily for you, we have an entire blog dedicated to improving your work from home management strategies! Whatever strategy you use, make sure it’s offering an equally transparent means of communicating between all workers, online and off!
3. Make Your Home Base Hybrid-Friendly
In addition to the above, make sure wherever you’re checking in is also accessible bimodally. If you hold daily stand up meetings, make sure you’re making them equally engaging for those in-person and online. If you do have some coming into the office and some not, make sure you’re fostering a fair environment for all. Those attending meetings in-person should have a device before them to show their face and put them on the same playing field as those attending online. This way, if anyone (in-person or not) has something to say, they can make their voice heard.
Your home base doesn’t have to be Teams or Zoom, though. You may choose to use Trello or other platforms to manage your collective time and efforts. Either way, make sure everyone has equal access, and can be kept in the loop.
4. Equity Not Equality
As mentioned above, not everyone in your organization will have equal access to jobs. Some may find working in the office far more challenging and demanding for their socio-economic status or their position in their family life. Alternatively, some may struggling working from home with a device shortage or limited bandwidth. The best way to show your support, then, is quite simple: do what you can to level out the playing field. Offer to improve a worker’s wifi system at home. Have a work laptop couriered to someone who doesn’t have one. Offer even more flexibility by expanding not just where but also when the worker may do their tasks. These little changes may make all the difference in your employees’ overall productivity and even happiness.
5. Rework What Doesn’t Work Anymore
People change, and so do our values. What may have been at the fore of your organization or management model before the pandemic may have changed drastically. And that’s not inconsistency, that’s growth. So, lean into any changes you’ve been thinking of making. Revamp your branding, including your own as an employer, and make it more suitable for how you approach your work today. This may look different for every employer. You may, for example, be throwing out the need for formal attire. But that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of professional conduct. It’s small changes like these that can make the workplace feel more relevant to our daily activities.
Progress Is a Process
Your workplace is a process not an end goal. This means you should be readdressing your management approaches regularly. See what’s working from your employees and rework what isn’t. Ask for feedback from all levels of workers, and offer compromises on things you would normally disagree with, even just for a trial period. Work and rework until you and your workers find a good balance, and recognize what is working when it is. If you have ideas you don’t see listed here, make sure to share your ideas with us!