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Challenges for implementing hybrid work efficiently
At the start of the pandemic in 2020, many companies moved from the traditional office model of work to remote and hybrid models for the safety of their employees. Today, with the help of COVID-19 vaccinations and preventative measures against the virus, many companies are returning employees to the office. However, a contingent of workplaces are adopting new approaches with hybrid work as a permanent fixture of employment.
Hybrid work combines the ability for an employee to work in the office and from home, depending on the agreements and policies of each company. The objective is to maintain flexibility while empowering employees to do their best work, whether in an office place or not.
Since each job has different demands, there are several ways to carry out a hybrid work model. Each work case is unique and, therefore, will require a different approach.
To understand why companies are implementing this model, first, we must review how they decided that combining remote and face-to-face work was the best option for their business.
Remote vs. face-to-face
Microsoft is one of the most high-profile companies to have adopted hybrid work. Before implementing the model, the company conducted a study on the perception of remote work involving 30,000 participants in 31 countries. The study showed that 82% of employees maintained their productivity or increased it, but that 54% experienced excessive work fatigue. The results signaled that a hybrid model still requires policies that take care of employees’ health .
Opinions on remote work in the study were divided. While 73% of workers wanted to keep flexible work conditions, 65% expressed that they would like to collaborate face-to-face with their colleagues.
Though working at home brought flexible work dynamics and advantages, such as hiring staff in different locations or removing the time employees would have used on transportation, it made communication between employees difficult.
Remote work’s success varies depending on the size of the company, and each employee’s situation. For example, 60% of Gen Z workers (ages 18-25) reported difficulties adjusting to remote work, partly due to isolation and the potential expenses in adapting a room to be an office.
Benefits of hybrid work
Hybrid work seeks to preserve the benefits of remote and face-to-face strategies for both employees and employers. This means:
- Cost reduction: If employees work from home, company expenses on furniture, lighting, maintenance and other aspects may decrease.
- Disease prevention: By maintaining staggered employee presence in offices, the probability of spreading COVID-19 or other diseases may decrease.
- Better communication between colleagues: Working a few days in the office helps to reduce remote work isolation and allows networking between teams.
- Environment friendly: Reducing the frequency in which workers need to commute can lessen traffic and air pollution.
- Achieving work-life balance: Defining a particular space and time dedicated to work allows employees to establish limits between their work and personal lives
- Greater productivity: Employees with a stronger work-life balance, and who grasp the hyrbid work model, will maintain motivation and productivity.
Challenges and best practices on a hybrid work model
As with adopting remote work, changing to a hybrid model may involve a learning curve for companies and workers. It’s important to assess which positions are more prone to be adapted into a hybrid model.
Unlike the beginning of the pandemic when changes occurred overnight, this time you have the opportunity to analyze key aspects like infrastructure, administration, and human resources to implement this model gradually and effectively.
It’s essential to establish a strong line of communication in the workplace for sharing ideas and managing daily workflows.
While it’s easiest to communicate face-to-face in the workplace, it’s important to keep remote teams in mind, especially team members in different regions. Hybrid work models can become challenging if simple communication is not established. Crucial information may be missed by select team members without a clear line of communication.
It’s generally easier to manage cybersecurity in the workplace than with remote setups. Security experts can implement safeguards against new threats to protect business and avoid an attack that could have a significant cost.
However, prevention gets complicated when teams are working remotely, especially with employees working in different places or connecting to public networks.
That's why it is imperative to offer training, campaigns, and outreach so everyone on your team is aware of potential online risks and the steps they need to take to avoid cyberattacks.
One of the most drastic differences between face-to-face work and working from home is the space. Usually, most people do not have an adequate place in their homes for an office and use their living rooms or dining rooms.
It’s important to make sure that not only do your employees have the tools they need to work at home, but that they are also able to establish an effective home office setup. It’s also important to motivate employees while advocating for a healthy work-life balance.
Sometimes details are everything, such as an ergonomic chair or the best accessories for working from home.
Balancing work and personal life
Part of establishing a hybrid work model is also helping employees define an efficient schedule. Will staff have flexible schedule in the office or will it be a more structured schedule?
Remote workers, however, must balance their personal life and work schedule, paying special attention to staying on task without burning out.
Workers tend to appreciate flexibility, but it’s important to define expectations, and agree on schedules and methods to hold team members accountable for their work. This can also impact how asynchronous work models are carried out for a team.
HP® solutions for hybrid work
Implementing a hybrid work model requires helpful tools and devices to keep employees connected and running. The HP store carries a wide range of laptops, PCs, monitors and printers to optimize your home office.
The HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop is an extremely versatile tool that allows you to work from anywhere safely and comfortably. This laptop also doubles as a tablet for productivity on the go. It also includes Microsoft 365 Personal for 1 year.
For a powerful all-in-one desktop that’s compact for small spaces, there’s the HP 22-df0429 FHD All-in-One PC with an Intel® Pentium® Gold processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and 1TB of storage.
The HP EliteBook 840 G7 Pro Security Edition 14" provides the security work-from-home professionals require. Outfitted with HP Wolf Pro Security, you can rest assured that your data is protected even outside of the office. You’ll also be operating on a powerful 10th generation Intel Core™ processor.
You may also want to outfit your setup with an HP Thunderbolt Dock 120W G2 and HP Stereo USB Headset with noise canceling mic to stay connected to any task at hand. If you work on the go, add an HP Premium 15.6 Backpack with the RFID-blocking pocket to protect all your devices and gear.
Vist the HP® Store for more options to take your team's productivity to the next level.
Hybrid work can provide employees the benefits of face-to-face work experiences and remote flexibility.
There are several ways to implement this model, however, it’s important to provide hybrid work in a structured way. This will help ensure policies and tools are implemented and utilized effectively.
A clear line of communication, productive tools and organized workflow, and security will help teams run smoothly whether in the office or at home.
-  Microsoft; The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready?
About the author: Andrea Rodríguez writes for HP Tech Takes. She is a content creator who writes about diverse subjects such as tech, culture and environment.