It’s 2022 and working from home is here to stay. Thanks to the pandemic, remote work has become a necessity to keep our economy going. As restrictions are lifted and workplaces slowly return to operating at full capacity, many employers may be wondering which workplace environment is best for their company’s success.
Let’s be honest, telecommuting comes with a lot of benefits but also has its downfalls. While employees have more flexibility over their work schedules and can spend more time at home with their families, working remotely also means less in-person collaboration with colleagues and oftentimes reduced productivity. Studies show that 54% of employees say that if they had a choice, they would want to work from home all or most of the time when the coronavirus outbreak is over. That’s where a hybrid virtual workplace comes into play.
What is a hybrid workplace?
A hybrid workplace combines remote work with traditional in-office work. In the hybrid office model – employees are empowered to do their best work, wherever they work best. Whether that be working a few days at home and going into the office when needed, employees have the flexibility to work from anywhere without affecting their productivity.
How to create a hybrid work model?
When creating a desirable hybrid office experience, it is important to listen to your employees and what they need to succeed. Whether that be a form to submit requests or quarterly check-ins with employees, a successful office offers multiple ways for communicating feedback. With effective communication and proper planning, companies can help promote employee satisfaction, reduce turnover rates, and be a great place to work.
Here are 3 different types of workplace models to offer to your employees:
- Home-based: Employees work from home 100% of the time.
- Office-flexible: Employees work in the office 1-3 days a week and work the remaining days at remote locations (e.g. from home, at a coffee shop, co-working space, etc.)
- Office-based: Employees work in the office 100% of the time.
How to be successful in a hybrid work environment?
According to Harvard Business Review, physical and psychological issues in the workplace leading to burnout cost an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare spending in the United States. By creating a work environment that prioritizes work-life balance and developing good work habits, both employers and employees can benefit from these in office and work from home tips.
- Communicate, communicate, and then communicate some more!
Whether you choose to work from home or go into the office, overcommunication is key. Since you may not be in the same office as your boss and colleagues, you need to utilize all the communication tools you have at your disposal. From emails, online chat software, video conferencing to phone calls – it is important to be clear about how each of your team members and yourself prefer to communicate. Sometimes it’s best to use multiple forms of communication to ensure that priorities are being met and important projects don’t fall through the cracks.
Aside from effectively communicating with your coworkers, it is also necessary to set clear boundaries when working from home with roommates, family members, and significant others. Setting rules and expectations for meeting times, quiet hours, and common areas can help improve your workflow without compromising your productivity.
- Choose a dedicated workspace and create a proper work from home setup.
When working remotely, it’s easy to get distracted without coworkers and bosses looking over your shoulders. That’s why it is important to choose an area that will be your dedicated workspace. If space permits, choose a location that is not your bedroom. This way, you don’t bring stress or negative energy into your personal space that is meant for rest and relaxation.
Be sure to have a proper desk and office chair to make it feel like a real office. If you work well with multiple computer monitors or need other technological gadgets, don’t be afraid to ask HR if they can provide you with the necessary equipment you need to succeed. Make your office space a comfortable place to work so that you can get as much done without any distractions.
- Use a calendar to block off “focus times” and decline meetings you don’t need to attend.
It’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of meetings and then find yourself stressing out to find time to finish all the tasks on your plate. Believe it or not, calendars can help keep you organized! Many online calendars, such as Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook Calendar, have built in functionalities known as “focus time”. Blocking out time in your day to dedicate time to finish a task – as you would if you were to attend a meeting – can drastically reduce stress and increase productivity. You can also turn off any notifications such as email or chat to avoid any distractions and multi-tasking.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for extra training or assistance when using company software.
Technology can help improve workflow but can oftentimes be confusing and frustrating when you’re not familiar with all the functionalities a software has to offer. Don’t fret! There is a variety of information available to help set you up for success. Whether that be a pre-recorded webinar or a video call training, you should never hesitate to ask for help. This can greatly help clear up any misunderstandings and get you in the right flow of how to work from home effectively.
- Take multiple breaks throughout the day.
That’s right. You read that correctly. Take a break! According to a Work Break Research Study, work breaks have positive effects on employees’ physical and cognitive performance, well-being, and health. Whenever you get a big project or task done, reward yourself with a 15 minute break. Go outside and take a walk, stretch and move your body, blast your favorite song and sing along, dance to the beat, or do whatever activity that makes you feel good. Breaks are also a great way to combat Zoom fatigue. If you ever feel unmotivated after a long meeting with a client, don’t force yourself to jump on the next task right away. Maintaining a good balance between work and personal well-being is key to a happier and healthier work environment.
- Host virtual or in-person team building events.
One of the benefits of working in office is the social interaction and relationships that you get to build with your colleagues. While remote work has changed this dynamic, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Hosting team building events – either in person or virtually – can greatly benefit your company’s work culture. As the saying goes, happy workers are productive workers! The best way to go about building strong relationships is to listen to what people are interested in. Whether that be a virtual scavenger hunt, holiday costume contents, escape rooms, digital card games, wine tasting, book exchanges, or recipe swaps – there’s limitless options to choose from.
At Foundry, we are strong believers of creating a positive work environment where employees feel valued, heard, and recognized. This contributes to better outcomes for our clients as we take pride in showcasing the best aspects of their business and telling a unique story that makes an impact.