With Summer now in full swing and vaccination rates continuing to rise, companies are reevaluating the need for working at home. Employers must find a happy medium between opening their office while still accommodating to the needs of employees who have been working from the comfort of their homes for over a year. Many employers are testing a hybrid model to bring about the new normal while still allowing flexibility for employees.
The time away from the office has shifted a new focus on utilizing technology, communication skills, and independence in the workplace. With employees spending so much time acquiring these skillsets, returning to the office full-time might come as a culture shock. On the other hand, many are struggling with the feeling of isolation or a hectic home life that makes working from home more of a curse than a blessing.
The hybrid model allows for the best of both words while cutting down on administrative costs as companies no longer must support an office at max capacity. Giving the freedom of choice allows employees to select the work environment that suits them while ensuring the greatest level of productivity. Consider the following when implementing a hybrid model at your company.
1. Present a Limited Number of Options to Accommodate Employees
Find out which variation of the hybrid model will work best for you by listening to the needs of your employees. Long commutes, childcare, and other obligations have made working from the office full-time impossible for many. In order to design a flexible work around for top talent, companies can’t assume that all employees require the same work-life balance. Gain feedback from your employees via anonymous surveys to narrow down options that work for everyone. Some may want to return to the office, others will want to stay remote, and many will want an option that falls somewhere in the middle.
Avoid setting false expectations for your employees. If you know before hand that you will need employees to be in the office for at least a set number of days a week, be transparent with them; however, try to leave some room for flexibility. Giving an option of two or three alternatives to returning to the office full-time presents flexibility while still being realistic. This could involve letting employees pick the days that they return or offering sign-ups to reserve desk space. Both are realistic options that still limit the amount of people in the office at any given time.
2. Take This Time to Rearrange Your Office Space
Despite vaccines rolling out at a faster rate, maintaining social distance is important. A hybrid model allows the space and resources to ensure that everyone can still return to the office while maintaining a safe distance of six feet. A sign-up system with people only retaining on certain days reduces the number of desks required. Large rooms that used to cram hundreds of people together can still be used as a collaborative workspace, just with less people.
With social distancing guidelines still in place, now is as good of time as any to take additional precautions. Plastic guards between workstations, one-way systems in and out of the building, and mask requirements are all things employers should consider for additional safety.
3. Don’t Lose Sight of Your Companies Culture
As companies begin to transition into a new way of working, after a year of new implantations to accommodate remote work, company culture is as important as ever. Ensure that regardless of if personnel are working remotely or at the office, everyone should be getting the full employee experience. Informal online meetings, virtual happy hours, and flexible work hours can still be a part of the company even as you transition to a hybrid model.
If you offer company provided lunches to those who returned to the office, consider meal vouchers for those that feel safer at home. Don’t lose sight of the well-being of your employees during this transition and ensure that the core values of your company are always at the forefront of your actions. Values can be easy to lose during a difficult transition.
Consider expanding your workplace culture by making your future job postings remote. Allowing talent to apply from all over the work can expand your workforce and bring new perspectives. Investing in a remote workforce shows your devotion to building a lasting hybrid company that is willing to think outside the box.
For more tips and ideas to strengthen your workforce, contact us! We can help your company explore a variety of benefits platforms that drive employee satisfaction without compromising your bottom line. Whether you need additional information on ICHRA options or just need better tools to offer staff who may rely on the Marketplace for health insurance, W3ll can help.