Many businesses pivoted to a virtual work environment at the start of the pandemic for the safety and well-being of their employees. While this dramatic shift created some hiccups in the process, most companies were successful in this transition. Now that COVID-19 restrictions are lifting and social distancing requirements are easing, employers are preparing for a return to the office setting. Going forward, some companies are evaluating hybrid approaches, with a mix of remote and office work.

Here are four points to consider as you evaluate a hybrid model for your team.

  1. Need for Flexibility – Some employees have proven to be very productive working from home, even while dealing with children learning remotely and other distractions. However, others may find it more productive to work from the office. Employers should consider that one approach might not fit everyone, and offer flexibility when establishing the return to office policy.
  2. Technology Enhancements – The pivot to a remote work environment has tested the technological capabilities of many companies. If a hybrid workplace model is the right choice for you, it is critical that the business invests in technology. The goal is to have all employees able to access all work programs from anywhere, whether they are at their desk in the office, working from home, at a client location, or in a conference or huddle room in the office. Considerations may include converting to cloud-based programs (if not already implemented), as well as enhanced mobile device capabilities.
  3. Redefining Culture – A remote environment can create challenges with truly feeling connected with colleagues. Many employees may feel isolated without the social interactions in an office environment. With a hybrid model, companies may want to look at creative solutions to foster collaboration for all employees, regardless of their physical location. This may include in-person social events for employees, frequent personal connections virtually and engaging employees through more involvement and communication about matters that are important to them. This is an ideal time to maintain or redefine a strong business culture.
  4. Revamping of Space – The move to a hybrid model will likely translate into an expectation of reduced office space. Some companies may consider a "hoteling" approach, whereby employees utilize unassigned workspaces while in the office. With less desks or workstations, companies may see opportunities to reduce the associated lease cost. However, employers may want to consider revamping the space to increase collaboration or huddle rooms to enhance productivity for their teams.

As employers evaluate their post-pandemic workplace and consider a hybrid model, a holistic approach that offers flexibility for all employees and investments in technology may position companies for greater results. Additionally, leaders should capitalize on this opportunity to redefine their culture through employee engagement and consider changes to the office space to increase collaboration among the team.

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