When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, most office workers had to work remotely from home. The rise in the proportion of work from home led to the significance of hybrid workplaces and their roles in the workplace landscape. What is a hybrid workplace? It is a flexible workplace model meant to support a distributed staff consisting of both remote and in-office staff.
This means that the workers have the freedom to work from wherever is most convenient to them and the company. Studies have shown that hybrid workplaces can positively impact the productivity of your workforce. How do you build a hybrid workplace that is both flexible and effective?
Tips for Creating an Effective Workplace
Traditionally, offices were designed to mainly serve in-office staff. Therefore, companies should have processes, technology, and spaces that allow staff to work in harmony regardless of their location. The following are some measures you can take to improve your office.
1. Diversify Meeting Spaces
When redesigning your old workplace into a hybrid workplace, you should pay particular attention to the collaboration spaces. The office will majorly turn into a venue for connection and collaboration since many workers will be working individually from home. Meeting spaces should accommodate varying numbers of participants and allow them to spread out throughout the space. This means that the necessary equipment for communicating with remote participants should be in the conference rooms.
2. Incorporate Video Conferencing
There is a high chance of remote participants in every meeting in the hybrid workplace model. This calls for the creation of spaces that can handle video conferencing. We are used to accessing video conferencing applications from our phones or laptops due to working from home. Therefore, it is easy to incorporate video conferencing’s flexibility into the workplace.
Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM) solutions enable remote users to have a full room system experience by seamlessly bridging the meeting space audio and video. These solutions allow users to walk into any space and connect to remote participants while using their laptops as the room solution. You can turn any space into a conference-ready space since the solutions are cheap to deploy as well as flexible.
3. Find Out What Your Employees Need
You need to learn the needs of your employees before you build a hybrid model that works for your company. The best way to create a work model that motivates your staff is to involve them. You can gauge employee attitude towards a hybrid workplace by sending out a survey. You must enquire about their ideal workplace setup and include illustrations. Some of the queries you should raise include;
- In the past year, have you been away from your designated workplace?
- What is your ideal number of days per week working on-site?
- Would you prefer working from an office space closer to home rather than commuting to the office?
You will have a clear picture of the demand for a hybrid workplace once you analyze the responses to the survey. You should then start to design your model according to the flexible working arrangements that appeal to your employees.
4. Develop Employee Personas
Although employee surveys are essential in understanding your workforce in real-time, you cannot always have time to carry out surveys. You should develop a set of employee personas to keep your staff motivated and productive. Personas are your employees and their needs, preferences, and behaviors represented by a set of semi-fictional characters. While you manage your space and create new experiences to fit the evolving need of your employees, they will help you stay on top of things.
Benefits of A Hybrid Workplace
Here are some of the advantages of the hybrid workplace model;
1. Increased Productivity
A hybrid setup boosts productivity since it offers flexibility to the employees and empowers them to work to their strengths. You can find a good balance of creativity and collaboration by cultivating a culture that presents remote work as a positive substitute for office work. Ensure that your employees work where and when they are most productive. You should have in mind that while some employees may thrive in an office setting, some need peace to focus. You can also increase productivity by overhauling processes and finding new ways to motivate your staff.
2. Growth in Employee Satisfaction and Culture
The key to employee satisfaction is autonomy. Employee satisfaction will improve if you give full autonomy on how, where, and when they work. Autonomy for on-site staff is also crucial since some may feel that you can trust them to get work done without supervision.
The guiding principle of this freedom is mutual appreciation and positive assumptions. It is easy for the employees to make assumptions about other employees when they often don’t see each other. As well as keeping these assumptions positive, they must also trust that every team member is making responsible decisions and doing their best. Although building trust takes some courage and time, it has immense cultural benefits.
3. Increased Possibilities for Continuous Learning
Although most companies are performance-oriented, there is never sufficient time for learning. This is often because the staff is too busy performing to find the time. A hybrid workplace model allows employees to schedule their work to let them work peacefully without distractions. It promotes time for learning, reflection, as well as self-development.
4. Better Mental Health
The work-life fit is crucial in any healthy working environment, although they are rarely in perfect balance. Hybrid work reduces stress and prevents burnout by enabling every worker to balance their life and work in a manner suitable for them. It also improves communication about how teams work in harmony. This helps individual employees understand each other better and strengthens relationships.
However, there are some disadvantages associated with the hybrid workplace model. Your company’s reliance on technology will increase. This means investing inadequate hardware and resources, which is costly. You might also need to redesign your office layout to fit your new hybrid model. Such redesign may pose significant challenges.
We have learned a lot about how we work since the pandemic. A hybrid workplace is a viable model and has a positive impact on productivity and well-being.
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