What is 'hybrid work'?

We rarely have the opportunity to slow down and reflect on what it means to work in a hybrid world, how our general attitudes towards the workplace are changing and how the nature of work in general is changing. So what is this new collaborative process, what are the benefits of the hybrid working model and how can I make it work for me and my team?
What is 'hybrid work' | Amwork

What is 'hybrid'?

It is very difficult to define how hybrid working works. In some companies employees are allowed to return to the office, but in most cases no one returns and everyone continues to work from home. In addition, all employees work on a set schedule but must come to the office at least two days a week.

In most cases, the hybrid transition depends on whether the employer takes what the employee leaves behind, so to speak. Employees make it clear that if they cannot work from home, they will not work at all, while management, on the contrary, is eager to get back to work as soon as possible. Such compromises manifest themselves as variations of 'hybrid work' in every organization, and hybridization has almost become a barometer of corporate culture.

This works at both the macro and micro level, with one company demanding one thing and the boss demanding another, making things even more confusing: According to the Workgeist Report, 52% of employees believe that the metrics used to track their performance vary depending on the department measuring them, according to the Report.

While growth, productivity and sales can be measured, it is difficult to tie them to specific aspects of the work environment, such as desk location.

The ideal definition of hybrid work would be one that combines all the good aspects of work — collaboration, socialization and consistency — and eliminates all the undesirable aspects — fixed hours, fixed uniforms and time spent sitting at a desk in front of a computer like a robot.

What counts as 'work'?

Far worse than trying to parse the definition of 'hybrid' is trying to define exactly what 'work' is. Is it 'work' answering an email you forgot about at 11pm, or is it 'work' trying to find a customer's email address buried deep in a Slack message? Is texting coworkers and gossiping about unproductive meetings 'work'? And if all this counts as work, when is there really time to 'work'?

In the wake of the COVID —19 pandemic, the definition of 'really working' seems to be changing exponentially. According to Workgeist, 43% of workers report spending too much time switching between online tools that are supposed to make their lives easier. They're looking at messages, project management apps and CRM tools, searching for data that colleagues in the other cubicle have at their fingertips.

Hours are spent every day trying to find the information you need to do your job from the multitude of apps and folders that are supposed to make your life easier. Seven out of ten respondents to the Workgeist report agree that this is a 'time-consuming' undertaking and a challenge to the way we work.

Disadvantages of hybrid working

During the transition to remote working, the synergy between employees is also undermined. You may never have thought of stopping by someone's cubicle and asking a few questions as 'work', but it may be the part of your job you miss the most. It can take days to respond to an email that used to take just a few seconds. And if you're not using an integrated tool, you may have to ask several people about the same part of the project.

Many people say that because of the communication disconnect and silo mentality, they don't even know what their colleagues are working on (other than trying to find the data to do their job). It may seem like a lot of puzzle pieces needed to meet deadlines are scattered around and some parts may be complete, but they have no idea which ones.

Decide on a strategy that works for you.

Now that you understand what hybrid is and what it means to work, it's time to put the two together and figure out where to go from there. If your workplace has recently created the option to switch between office and home, you probably have some choices to make. Take this opportunity to test the levels of productivity and efficiency in each environment and find the balance that works best for you.

Hybrid work environment: test a day in the office

First, you need to determine how a day at the office will go for you and whether it will really solve all your business problems. Will you get what you need to get your work done without spending hours of your day searching for information in the depths of the productivity apps you use at work? Will they walk around on the same laptop, using the same non-integrated apps, as they do at home? Or will they be able to ask a coworker for help?

Find the three to five people you work with the most, whether they are members of your team or not. People who fall into this category are the people you message with the most, have the best working relationship with, and provide the most technical support to. Bring them together in a group chat and plan to schedule them all on the same day. See how this affects your workflow, your ability to complete projects and your attitude towards communication.

Consider the work from home dilemma

Imagine that the majority of your company has chosen to return to the office and you are the only remote worker. You will need to attend meetings and other events (especially if you are a woman) to reduce isolation and participate in important business decisions. If you work from home, make the most of your alone time, create and experiment with different routines and be flexible.

Do you feel better after a day at the office, or do you feel like you're doing the same things you do at home? In the office, you may feel more focused, more adept at problem solving and brainstorming, and more able to connect with people from different departments.

Benefits of the hybrid work model

In both cases, the goal is to find balance in the new hybrid order. Use this experience for your personal program. If your boss tells you that you don't have to come to work, don't be satisfied with that answer. Because if the flexible working model means different things to different teams, companies and departments, it should mean different things to you.

However, it is also important to share your experiences and productivity tips with other colleagues. Someone in your team or organization might be feeling pressure to be in the office because they don't know how to ask their boss to work remotely. Or they might just be tired of working from home. By listening to your experiences, you can encourage them to take action and manage their own hybrid work policies and programs.

Use the right collaboration tools

The best way to support employees in a hybrid work model is to provide them with the right remote collaboration tools that fit their schedule. By understanding that each individual works differently, hybrid managers have a better chance of avoiding toxic productivity environments and improving employee mental health when working from home. For example, managers can organize surveys asking employees about their preferred working hours.

Another challenge is the decision-making process. If teleworkers are not taken into account, projects may not work. Having a transparent method of communication between departments can increase the accountability of the team. Ultimately, the main goal is to keep employees motivated and focused on their work.

Using Hive for hybrid telecommuting

Hive is flexible and customizable project management software. The tool can be customized to fit the needs of a blended team, and features like Hive Notes allow meetings to be documented so everyone (whether in the office or at home) is on the same page.

With Hive Mail, you can access your inbox, send new messages and organize email follow-ups without leaving Hive. The platform is built on a visual display with animated cards and a choice of six different project layouts. For example, the calendar view allows users to see who is working from home and who is in the office each week.

How can Hive help hybrid teams? Hive has powerful project management and collaboration features, including

  • Resource utilization and timelines
  • Correction and approval
  • Hive Forms makes it easy to conduct repository surveys and collect feedback.
  • Local chat with both direct and group messaging
  • Note taking in Zoom meetings
  • Local email
  • Features created by users through the Hive forums
Olivia Martinez

Olivia Martinez

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