Is a Hybrid Work Week a Feasible Plan for the Future of the Office?

Is a Hybrid Work Week a Feasible Plan for the Future of the Office?

The hybrid workweek will provide flexibility, collaboration, focus and more - and your team members will thank you for it.

As we transition into the new normal, organizations are searching for ways to bring team members back into the office while catering to health, safety, and personal needs. Following the outbreak of COVID-19, professionals around the world made the transition to working remotely, and many have happily settled into that rhythm. As a result, many team members do not wish to return to the physical office, or at least not full-time. Alternatively, many people are eager to return to the office and work in a space that makes them feel more productive and focused than at home. To reach this balance, many organizations are adopting the hybrid work style. Surveys have shown that 55% of professionals want a mixture of home and office working. Now that companies have proven that this work style is achievable, many are planning to stick to it.

Many organizations carry a hesitation regarding hybrid work because it locks team members into either full-time remote work or full-time office work. This can be deterring as for many companies, the physical office holds tangible resources necessary for work. Alternatively, it can make it challenging to feel company culture for the professionals strictly working remote. But, there is a solution to this: a hybrid work week. Hybrid work as a concept is the mixture of remote and in-office work between team members, allowing them to choose where they work from. A hybrid work week takes this one step further, allowing team members to alternate their work setting throughout the week. This means that an individual can choose how many days to work in-office and spend the remaining days working from home. According to a study, 47% of professionals working remotely say that their ideal arrangements would be to work from home one to four days a week. 40% would choose to work remotely every day, and only 14% would prefer to work in-office every day of the week. Clearly, there is a demand for the hybrid work week, but is it feasible?

Flexibility

One of the most apparent benefits of hybrid work is the flexibility it offers. Team members can choose their work setting based upon the way ahead of them. Team members can come into the office for tasks such as meetings, orientations, team-building, and project kick-offs and participate with peers face-to-face. On the other hand, when performing tasks that require focus and concentration, team members can choose to work from home if they feel that that allows them the space to concentrate. Individuals can cater their workweek based upon activities at hand, cultivating an activity-based workplace. This work style is excellent in boosting productivity in a stress-free environment, catering the office to the needs of your team members.

Not only does a hybrid workweek offer the flexibility of where individuals conduct their work, but it can also include more freedom as to when they work. This grants more autonomy to team members to fit their work schedules around the rest of their lives. Many professionals have children or other personal responsibilities that cannot always fit into the schedule of a typical 9 to 5. Allowing team members to work remotely when necessary can relieve them of the stress of balancing work and personal lives. Ultimately, providing team members this flexibility will lead to happier and less-stressed individuals, which translates into better work and thus a better company.

Collaboration vs. Focus

Both remote work and in-office work carry their own benefits, each of which is individual to every team member. In terms of remote work, team members will have more flexibility with their working hours. In addition to this, many see benefits such as reduced stress resulting from less commuting. Many professionals commute for hours each day, and this can take a toll on anyone. Reducing the days that an individual must commute to the office can allow them to be less stressed and utilize their time better when it is not spent traveling. Furthermore, many team members find that remote work will enable them to focus more as they get distracted in an office environment. It was reported that 49% of respondents in a survey said that they felt more productive while working from home. As almost half of the surveyed workforce, this is significant. Cultivating focus and productivity is a win for any organization, so this is an excellent benefit.

In-office work also comes with several benefits of its own. While some team members find that they can focus better at home, others feel the opposite. The same survey reported that 32% of professionals found themselves to be less productive while working at home. Being in a designated working space can set team members in the mindset of getting work done and separate them from potential distractions at home. Additionally, working in-office produces more collaboration and team-building. It can be much smoother to build healthy working relationships with team members when working face-to-face or having the availability to socialize and brainstorm together. 

Social Distancing

Speaking of COVID-19's effect on the workplace, a huge change we have all had to adjust to is social distancing. As more and more professionals begin to return to the office, health and safety must be a priority of every company. A hybrid work week is an excellent tool for achieving social distancing. While ultimately team members should have the flexibility to create their own schedule, managers will be able to better balance capacity and social distancing through limiting how many team members work in-office on a given day. This will ensure that the office stays under capacity and allows team members to maintain a healthy space between one another. Another excellent tool to implement hand-in-hand with hybrid work is hot desking. With desk booking software, organizations can coordinate hot desking with ease, allowing team members to book their desks in the office. Not only does this cultivate flexibility within the office, but it is instrumental in socially distancing the office. Hot desking will allow team members to choose a desk that they feel comfortable and safe in, easing the transition between remote and office work.

We are living through an unprecedented time, and companies are looking for solutions to adjust to the new normal. Implementing a hybrid work week will allow your team members the flexibility they have become accustomed to over the past year. This, combined with the opportunity to return back to the office and collaborate face-to-face, is an unbeatable pairing. Through hybrid work, you can safely return willing team members to the office as is needed and desired. Your organization relies on the health and happiness of your team members. Implementing a hybrid work week will alleviate stress, increase productivity, and provide your team with a work style that best suits them. While it may take time to adjust to this new work style, it is entirely feasible to implement. The hybrid workweek is the future of the office, so be the first to take part in it, and your organization will thank you for it.

Smart office's newsletter