The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to adapt and embrace flexible work arrangements to respond to the various quarantine protocols.
Remote work is the most prominent among these setups. Based on March 2021, 70% of firms worldwide are now working remotely. The Philippines is no exception: Sprout’s Future of Work survey notes that 64% of companies have adopted work-from-home (WFH) arrangements.
But since remote work makes it harder to collaborate and maintain project management, experts are now talking about how a hybrid model is the future of work. Hybrid setups give team members the freedom to work from the office (WFO) and WFH on different days of the week.
But where do we stand now when it comes to hybrid?
Going Hybrid: A Closer Look
Global and local statistics echo the sentiment that hybrid is the future.
In Riverbed’s latest hybrid work survey, 97% of business and IT leaders feel comfortable with their employees working hybrid. Meanwhile, 85% share how they foresee at least a quarter of their workers going hybrid post-pandemic.
In the Philippines, 47% of WFO managers surveyed by Sprout want to adopt hybrid work, while 62.2% of WFO leaders expect workplaces to eventually embrace hybrid. Meanwhile, 50.8% of WFH leaders see a somewhat hybrid setup in their future. Companies will work in a mostly remote setting with a few days in the office in that arrangement.
If these statistics tell us anything, companies want to thrive in hybrid workplaces. So let’s go into detail and discuss why your large enterprise should adopt a hybrid work arrangement.
Embracing Hybrid Work: Pros & Cons
Change is the only permanent thing in this world. If you want to stay competitive and growth-ready, embracing change is necessary. And it starts by revisiting, reevaluating, and changing your current processes to avoid potential risks.
Hybrid work offers benefits and drawbacks. Let’s look at a few.
Benefits of a Hybrid Work Model
Working in a hybrid setup gives employees the flexibility to work in a way they feel most comfortable. In turn, this can contribute to better productivity.
The Hybrid environment challenges your workforce to be creative and collaborate. It urges them to complete remote tasks that require deep focus and brainstorm with team members for projects that call for collaboration.
Better Employee Satisfaction & Belongingness
Autonomy plays a role in promoting employee satisfaction. Consider how employees who have the freedom to choose how, where, and when they work feel happier. And there’s data to prove this: in April 2021, SurveyMonkey reported that 85% of American workers on a hybrid setup demonstrate better work autonomy, which helps boost their overall satisfaction.
Fostering a sense of belongingness and inclusion (and a strong company culture) can also help employees feel in control of their work.
Seamless Performance Management
Many companies are performance-driven but don’t offer stretch opportunities for their team members. If you want your employees to learn and grow under a hybrid work arrangement, you’ll need to provide more than just training courses.
To start, consider optimizing your performance management system. If you’re making room for professional growth, consider using Performance+ to provide constructive feedback and one-on-one check-ins with team members from a single place.
Higher Levels of Employee Engagement
Hybrid work makes face-to-face interactions possible so team members can meet and collaborate. Apart from participating in brainstorming sessions, in-person meetings allow employees to socialize and discuss new ideas during informal, face-to-face chats.
Since hybrid work means fewer employees reporting on-site, there’s a lower need for office space and other supplies. Consider how hybrid workplaces have a more cost-effective setup, like standing desks, lounges, and similar areas — rather than rows of assigned desks.
Drawbacks of a Hybrid Setup
Cybersecurity risks are more prevalent because of today’s current digital landscape. Consider these statistics:
- Cybercriminals can breach network perimeters in 93% of attempts without social engineering
- 36% of remote workers have adopted unsatisfactory cybersecurity practices
These numbers tell us that addressing external and internal security risks could harm data privacy so your enterprise must ensure a safe digital experience.
Here are a few tips to keep these threats at bay:
- Establish security policies & practices
- Conduct employee security training
- Build & strengthen a cybersecurity culture
- Hire a Chief Risk Officer
Health & Safety Risks
Health and safety risks your large enterprise should watch out for include stress, burnout, and overtime work. If you plan to adopt a hybrid model, prioritize the mental health needs of your employees. With Sprout’s Employee Wellness Program, you can offer holistic services like group counseling, leadership training, anxiety and depression sessions, and more from a single platform.
If you want to learn how to promote occupational safety and wellness, check out our blog here.
Connecting with colleagues can be challenging for hybrid teams. For example, team members reporting on-site could feel disengaged or closed off from their colleagues working from home. Avoid disengagement from taking over by conducting more inclusive team-building activities and get-togethers.
Some employees may feel like their manager is breathing down their neck when working from home. After all, some leaders could micromanage their team because of a lack of trust or real-time supervision.
Micromanaging your employees could compromise your relationships with your team members and hamper growth. You can avoid (or resolve) this risk by:
- Delegating tasks to team members
- Setting clear expectations
- Building trust between you & your team
- Keeping lines of communication open
- Proactively responding to employee feedback
How Large Enterprises are Adopting Hybrid Work
Let’s look at seven enterprises shifting to the hybrid model and how they’re making it work.
One of the world’s tech giants has jumped on the hybrid work train. Microsoft’s employees currently have a remote and in-office working arrangement in place. Fully remote work is also an option because team members can keep working from home so long as employees secure their manager’s approval.
Since Microsoft has started offering alternative work arrangements, it has seen higher employee productivity and satisfaction.
Target has (mostly) moved out of its old office. However, the retail powerhouse has allowed some of its employees to work on-site in Minneapolis. Through this arrangement, Target is helping its workers reduce time spent on the commute to work.
In June 2020, Slack announced that its employees could work from home permanently. However, it has plans to reopen offices in the future. It opened up new roles for remote candidates and embraced asynchronous work that allows staff members to work any time they want.
But even though the instant messaging platform is a remote-first enterprise, it acknowledges the importance of face-to-face interactions. For example, employees can still meet in the physical office for team-building activities and project launches.
The leading music streaming service has also gone hybrid. Spotify employees can work anywhere they want — at home, in the office, or at a coworking space.
Spotify’s goal was to provide flexibility, job security, and fulfillment, and feedback from Spotify employees played a big role in the decision. Spotify’s hybrid work arrangement also proves that team members can deliver meaningful work, regardless of location.
Google adopted hybrid work in 2020, with team members working in-office at least thrice a week. But even before the pandemic, the search giant had redesigned its office to promote flexible working arrangements. The change shows that employees can work from anywhere, and offices translate to more than just desks and meeting rooms.
Google’s redesigned workplace features elements such as team pods that employees are free to customize to their needs and “campfire” areas with circular seats and digital displays for hybrid meetings.
One of the world’s biggest automakers is another enterprise transitioning to a hybrid work model. Ford has stated it’ll be resigning its workplace to support hybrid work while letting employees work from home indefinitely. Also, white-collar employees can choose when they want to work, depending on their job responsibilities.
Like Spotify, feedback from a company-wide survey encouraged Ford to adopt hybrid work. Almost 95% of its workers shared that they wanted more autonomy over how they work. The brand hopes this development can help improve job satisfaction, employee happiness, and work-life balance.
Some Philippine companies have embraced alternative work arrangements, including BPO enterprise Sitel.
The global BPO provider has established MAXhub, a hybrid coworking center where employees can collaborate, learn, and socialize. It aims to attract potential applicants from different locations and let employees work closer to home.
Company staff can accommodate applicants, onboard new employees, and equip remote workers with the right tools and hardware at Sitel’s MAXhubs.
Ensure a Smooth Transition to Hybrid Work
Business leaders have spoken: hybrid is the future. Adopting a hybrid model can help your large enterprise improve productivity, employee satisfaction, and learning and engagement. But this arrangement comes with risks, and addressing them is key to success in the new paradigm of work.
Take a step closer to a hybrid future. Streamline current HR processes and strengthen employee relations with Sprout’s holistic ecosystem of HR solutions.