What Is a Hybrid Working Model?
A hybrid working model blends remote work with in-person work. At its core, hybrid work enables companies to offer more flexibility while continuing to enjoy many benefits from in-office work.
You might be asking yourself, what is a hybrid working model policy exactly? With hybrid work—the beauty is that there is not just one ‘right’ hybrid work model to follow. Companies can implement hybrid work in an approach that suits their needs and goals.
Over the past few years, hybrid work has become more common than ever. It’s a new but vital way to attract and retain employees, who are placing greater value on flexibility.
What is a hybrid workplace model and how can it be tailored to your needs
Implementing a hybrid work model, or even considering it, shouldn’t be taken lightly. Getting the model right is essential, especially during the transition. You want to be able to continue running your company efficiently without needing to invest more time and effort than necessary to handle the change.
It is important to evaluate your current work environment. Do you work in the office or is your team completely remote? Many companies still prefer the in-person office environment but understand that they need to adapt to retain and attract workers and stay competitive.
Consider if having your team in the office is the main priority, or if a fully remote team is preferable. If you want an approach that offers the best of both worlds, then a hybrid work model may be the best fit.
It offers a compromise for those who prefer the office setup while enabling workers to enjoy a greater degree of flexibility. In addition, a hybrid work model can be a helpful stepping-stone if you are transitioning to 100% remote work.
Hybrid work can sometimes offer the best of both worlds
How will your team divide their time and work? Whether everyone is in the office, at home, or something in the middle, each situation has its own advantages and disadvantages.
An in-person office setup can sometimes offer a working environment that fosters collaboration, fast decision-making, and spontaneity. However, commuting to and from the office daily can be draining and time-consuming.
In-office work models also come with more distractions, like long coffee breaks, random chatting or unnecessary meetings.
A fully remote model can help people focus on the task at hand and provides greater flexibility. Workers can get their work done with fewer interruptions while often enjoying a better work-life balance.
In addition, being fully remote helps reduce overhead costs, which can help your company grow and diversify fast. The downside is that 100% remote work can sometimes make collaboration difficult, harm organizational culture and silo information if communication strategies are not properly implemented for the change.
A hybrid model might allow companies to leverage both models. It enables workers to take a break from their commute while fostering team building in the office.
The hybrid work model enables people to complete their work remotely and then come to the office if their role really requires so for culture building, communicating with clients, or other things better done in person.
While this model allows you to tailor your approach to fit your needs, it can require intensive planning and software integrations to handle change management, especially when it comes to scheduling and task management. Once those logistics are in place, the rest is smooth sailing.
Get your communication right
Finding the right balance between remote and an office-based team is integral to a successful hybrid working model. Success often comes down to the final component—communication.
A crucial element of modern workplaces is meetings, which allow teams to stay on the same page, share information, and talk about complex or high-priority topics. For many of us, virtual meeting best practices are something that still needs to be mastered.
For example, you don’t need to wait until everyone is in the office to have an all-hands meeting. Add a virtual meeting element so team members can join from wherever they are, ensuring that everyone gets information when you need them to.
These hybrid meetings give teams the opportunity to share information that was picked up casually, over coffee or just passing by while catching up with a coworker. This prevents important details from being siloed with only those who are in-office.
For inspiration on managing hybrid work, look no further than slow-moving corporations that have historically had significant operational change issues. In recent years, however, they have often seemed to be some of the fastest adopters.
Here are some hybrid work model examples, where corporations kept their revenues healthy, employees busy and the company growing.
American Express: a flexible hybrid workforce model
American Express has had the idea of flexible office working conditions for some time. They experimented with different working styles and decided to use them all in their model. As a result, some American Express workers can take advantage of hybrid work, a few can enjoy fully remote work, while others need to be onsite for work due to the nature of their roles.
The American Express hybrid approach requires workers to be in the office for at least 2 days per week. Teams can decide ahead of time what the remote work looks like to help facilitate optimal collaboration. Some workers can work fully remote, this is a growing portion of their workforce.
The remaining number of American Express workers are in roles that need to be onsite, and they still come to a physical office at least 4 times a week.
Overall, the American Express approach is comprehensive. With their hybrid approach, American Express can reap the benefits of remote and in-office work. Collaboration can be smoother, and meetings and information sharing can be more intentional. With clear expectations and effective leadership, American express is harnessing the power of the hybrid approach—while offering their workers flexibility.
American Express also offers a benefit enabling most employees to work anywhere for four weeks. This can increase employee retention, productivity and provides flexibility for team members across different regions to cowork for short periods of time.
Citi: the classic hybrid working model policy
Citi has become a pioneer for working remotely. As one of the oldest banks in the U.S., this is an excellent (pleasantly surprising) move toward a 21st-century strategy.
However, some roles can’t be done remotely, mostly impacting onsite tech security or physical branch staff members. Nevertheless, Citi continues to incorporate hybrid work as much as possible, even for those positions.
Citi adopted a type of hybrid work that enables almost all positions to work remotely for at least two days a week if they choose. While there is a significant push for Citi to commit to fully remote work and eliminate their physical office, it’s not a current priority. They want to keep using their existing hybrid work model, which still offers many remote opportunities.
Citi implemented more changes as part of their hybrid working restructuring. First, no more video calls on Friday — a rule that applies to the whole company. They have also worked to reduce phone calls after-business hours end. In addition, on May 28 every year, the whole company takes the day off work. This means no phone calls or meetings, and everyone can take a breather.
Amazon: a limited offering
Not all companies fully embrace hybrid work. Amazon believes that a completely hybrid work model wouldn’t be a fit for them. The company believes that working with an office-centric approach allows for better innovation. They see in-person interactions as key to brainstorming and on-the-fly collaboration.
Despite this, their model does allow for some compromise. Recently, they have allowed individual teams at Amazon to determine the amount of time that team members will spend in the office or working remotely.
With a company the size of Amazon, this compromise allows teams to tailor their hybrid approach to their needs. This will enable teams to figure out what works for them and their projects, they can use that flexibility to work with other teams that may still be doing 100% in-office work.
A con of Amazon's hybrid work policy is that it can be inefficient and often limiting. For employees who can complete their work from any location. Being stuck in a narrow interpretation of hybrid work can be frustrating.
The company is also disadvantaged when recruiting workers since they are limited to a localized talent pool. Potential hires will have to weigh any in-office attendance against greater flexibility offered by Amazon’s competitors.
In a world where fewer and fewer workers want, or need, to relocate for work, Amazon will remain an outlier, which negatively impacts their talent pool. However, Amazon sees a hybrid work approach as beneficial, even if its policies are limited.
Goodyear: an initially reluctant hybrid work model
If you are looking for a happy ending from a company that was reluctant to embrace hybrid work, look no further than Goodyear. When the pandemic paused travel and in-person interactions around the world, Goodyear had to change.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Goodyear’s technical employees and experts had to be onsite. This meant that they had to implement various technology tools, like video conferences, into their work to compensate for missed in-person interactions.
Adopting virtual meeting technology was much more cost-effective than flying workers across the globe to visit offices and attend meetings. It was such an impactful change that Goodyear adapted common hybrid work strategies. As a result, all employees can now work remotely partially, but there are no fully remote jobs yet.
A manufacturing company may be an unlikely place to see the adoption of new approaches to work; however, Goodyear proved hybrid work could benefit them.
How do I implement hybrid work?
Assess what each department, team, and position needs. Are workers equipped for success with a laptop and the required software to get work done? Or do they need more support? Complete a cybersecurity review or audit before implementing a hybrid work policy.
You will need to choose a company-wide communication tool and roll it out to your team and company. As remote work increases, more communication tools are available, making it easy to find something that fits your needs.
Communication tools help with everything from messaging to task management. Focus on finding remote work tools that can help you and your team get the job done without distraction. Easy-to-use apps and programs will have a better adoption rate, helping to speed up the acclimation to the new hybrid work approach.
Evaluating the companies with hybrid work models, it’s clear that they've kept it simple. Those companies use the tool that helps them get their daily work in order. They only expand their software library when needed, minimizing costs, ensuring a smooth transition, and preventing overcomplication.
What's an excellent tool to start with?
Keeping your company and team productive should be your main priority when working hybrid. For productivity, task management should be the priority. Rock works to minimize distractions that come with adopting hybrid work by keeping all communications in one app.
Using Rock before implementing hybrid work makes it possible for employees to work as they did before the transition. Your team can communicate when they need to with Rock’s built-in, centralized project management functionality.
When connecting employees is easy and fast, everyone will have more visibility into their team’s work regardless of where they are getting work done.
The core product suite of Rock combines asynchronous work with synchronous communication. Your team or company can streamline the software used and simplify your day-to-day work since Rock offers everything from messaging to task management, notes and file storage.
With the right type of software, companies can get back to being productive.