Before the pandemic, remote collaboration was already a part of the American workforce. The global crisis led to increased companies’ Slack and video calls usage. By April 2020, almost half of companies reported that more than 80% of their employees worked from home because of COVID-19.
The shift to remote work was made possible by decades of research and development into technologies that support it. But not everyone uses these tools with the same ease and convenience. As early as 1987, groundbreaking research recognized some challenges facing women working from home using technology. One major challenge was child care because many women needed to be there for their kids during certain hours to take care of their beloved child.
Since that time, we have acquired much more about virtual collaboration. An associate professor of information systems claims to be interested in what they can expect as they eagerly anticipate a post-pandemic future. One thing that stands out Hybrid work arrangements – that is, employees who do some tasks in the office and others virtually – will be a big part of the picture.
A survey taken in 2021 shows that 99% of human resources leaders expect employees to work in some hybrid arrangement. Many have already begun working remotely, such as the file hosting service Dropbox, which allows its employees to work from home and hold team meetings in the office.
The definition of “hybrid” varies from one organization to another. Some workers may be in the office a couple of days a week or every other day. Other businesses may require occasional face-to-face time, perhaps meeting in a centralized location once each quarter.
In the end, research does show that many companies fail when it comes to implementing a virtual workforce.
Remote work Vs. Work in the Office
In-office work promotes trust and transparency, which may increase organizational culture. Developing an office culture is a natural result of the structure and casual conversations with co-workers. It’s difficult to replicate these things in virtual environments because there are fewer opportunities for unscheduled chats and spontaneous knowledge sharing.
However, looking at different metrics, in-office work loses off to working from home. Recent research has figured out that remote workers report more productivity and enjoy working from home because of the flexibility, adaptability, the ability to wear casual clothes, savings of money, and the shortened or nonexistent commute time. There is a crucial cost-saving for office space, one of the largest lineups for companies.
Hybrid arrangements attempt to amalgamate the best of both worlds. They attempt to retain the advantages of a traditional employer-based system while enjoying the flexibility and administrative efficiency of the self-funded plan.
It’s not perfect
It is true that hybrid work, or working remotely, faces many of the same hurdles as face-to-face work. Deficient planning and communication, ineffective or unnecessary meetings and confusion about tasks happen both in-person and remotely.
Home and office security is a major issue when working from home. The networks at home are more vulnerable than those in the office, and employees who work from home are more likely to share their computers with people outside of their organization. Hybrid organizations need to address these complicated issues upfront to work through them.
With hybrid work, managers can’t see what employees are doing. Instead, managers must measure employee performance based on the results of their work rather than the time they spend working.
Another pitfall: Fault lines can develop within hybrid teams – misunderstandings or miscommunication between office and home. These two categories may start to divide, potentially leading to tension and conflicts between them.
Creating a Hybrid Environment
One approach to creating a hybrid model is to use the e-commerce platform as a virtual storefront while expanding your physical store to attract customers who are not willing to shop online.
Listening to employees is critical to making sure the hybrid environment is working. One-on-one conversations, focus groups, and human resources surveys are all ways of getting feedback. Recognizing achievements with in-person or virtual kudos is important too.
Performance incentives, including financial rewards or tokens of appreciation, including food delivery, help increase employee commitment.