What is a Hybrid Workplace?
A hybrid workplace is a working environment that provides remote and office settings as options for employees to select as their workspace. This model offers support for both on-site and remote employees and flexibility for workers to move between the two work styles.
Why do companies choose a hybrid workplace model?
A hybrid workplace essentially provides two working options for an organization’s staff. Staff can choose between reporting to one or more physical offices or working from home or other remote locations. Employees may also choose a combination of the two, coming into the office for some days and working elsewhere the other days of the week.
How does a hybrid workplace work?
The beauty of the hybrid workplace is that companies can define their own parameters for how such an environment will operate. One company might require a select group of employees to work entirely on-site or ask several teams to stagger their schedules and alternate reporting to work on-site and at home. Another could set up a largely remote workforce who are required to come in only periodically for in-person meetings.
Whatever the configuration, the hybrid workplace appears to have staying power and is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a hybrid workplace model?
As more enterprises move to a hybrid workplace model, it’s clear that the main concern is how to maintain collaboration and innovation from several locations at once. However, the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid workplace models depend on which side of the management aisle you’re on.
- Advantages: For employers, moving to a hybrid workplace allows them to reconfigure existing office layouts because fewer workers are in the office at the same time. Simply moving walls around can be enough to stimulate innovation, according to some. Companies also see this shift as an opportunity to attract talent from much farther distances, which could help them truly find the perfect “fit” for a given role. Additionally, employers see this new ability to reach farther afield for new talent as a prime avenue to increase the diversity of their workforce. And finally, companies are recognizing that employees who work remotely appear more satisfied and productive and see a hybrid workplace model as a way to capture that spirit for the long haul.
- Disadvantages: In the management corner, it’s difficult to keep track of employees. Losing sight of key employees also means management is losing the opportunity to keep them engaged. Moreover, office culture can suffer when most employees are absent, especially those that emphasize team collaboration. And finally, hybrid work environments place greater demands on networks, storage, and other technology systems that enterprises rely on. Upgrading technology to ensure access 24/7 from any location is a significant investment.
- Advantages: Employees value being in charge of their own schedules and free from constant monitoring. According to a recent survey, 64 percent of the workforce want to spend at least some of their working hours at an office, store, factory, or other type of workplace. And in another survey, a majority of knowledge workers believe that remote and hybrid work can improve their health.
- Disadvantages: At the same time, the inverse is also true. For example, 73 percent of workers would rather work together in groups instead of independently away from the office. And many employees fear isolation and worry that their contributions will go unnoticed when it comes to promotion decisions. And further, significant reservations include the problem of everyday distractions interrupting workflow, which can tempt employees from giving work full attention during office hours. Also, low income and younger workers often have personal circumstances that make working from home difficult, i.e., childcare/eldercare needs.
Hybrid workplace models
There are many hybrid workplace models and choosing one to champion should be determined by factors such as company size, culture, services/products, etc. Here are a few models that some companies have adopted:
The 50/50 Mix
Some organizations have implemented a hybrid model with three days in the office and a 50% split between remote/hybrid/in-office for the remainder. But for some companies, like banks or data centers, this may not work. Some job functions have a strong in-person component that makes remote work impossible.
Half-Time Remote + Manager Approval for More
Some companies allow their employees to work from home 50% of the time with the option of increasing that percentage by getting manager approval. This model provides a measure of flexibility to cater to top talent when requested.
Downsizing & Regionalizing
During recent prolonged remote work operations, many companies realized they no longer needed such large, impressive downtown real estate. Instead, they’re moving out, keeping some workers permanently remote and locating others in smaller offices around the region.
Customized by Team + Individual Flex
This model provides ultimate customization, with individual leadership teams within an organization deciding what works best.
How do you implement a hybrid workplace model?
Hybrid workplaces may have become more common due to increased demand for dispersed workforces, but the truth of the matter is that cloud-based software has made it possible to collaborate over any distance for quite some time. What’s different now is that after so much time working fully remote, employees feel more empowered to have a say in what works best for them—and in making it happen. As a result, to make a hybrid workplace successful, companies are advised to spend time collecting data to learn their employees’ attitudes and matching those preferences with the company’s needs.
While prioritizing employee needs is critical, organizations are challenged with how to deliver the quality experience their employees expect while maintaining company growth, customer response times, productivity, and overall business performance. The first step is to put together a plan to quickly address the challenges. Your key to success is to ensure connectivity. Fortunately, there are best practices for efficiently supporting remote and hybrid environments:
- Ensure secure access to data and the right collaboration and productivity tools with the reliability and performance that employees need to do their jobs well. Evaluate your technology portfolio to determine if it’s robust enough to support variable user types, traffic, and storage.
- Focus on rightsizing on-site facilities for maximum efficiency. Shared and flex office space should be considered, along with maintaining space for collaboration when staff is at the office.
- Embrace an atmosphere of change. Management needs to use a transparent process to ensure all staff are aware of what’s changing, how the changes will impact them, and what they’re expected to do.
Transitioning to a hybrid workplace can be the starting point for cultural transformation. The ultimate outcome is a shift to a new normal that drives innovation, breakthroughs, and new business models.
HPE and hybrid workplace solutions
HPE brings it all together by providing the expertise, resources, and technology you need to assess your unique requirements and develop a custom plan for your journey to a flexible, secure hybrid workplace.
- Remote Management: A remote workplace doesn’t just apply to end users. HPE offers tools and services like HPE Integrated Lights-Out (iLO) and HPE InfoSight that enable organizations to monitor, optimize, and leverage advanced AI to manage your technology from anywhere.
- Consistent Security: A mobile workforce comes with new risks. Security is built into the silicon of the entire HPE ProLiant portfolio, from edge to core, to keep your environment protected.
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: Make sure your virtual workplace is centered around your users. Provide them with a friction-less experience with a hybrid approach to VDI built on powerful HPE ProLiant servers.
- Streamlined Operations: Make the most of compute and storage resources with AI-driven predictive analytics, and trust HPE SimpliVity to make deployment of virtual desktops fast and easy.
- Flexible Cloud Services: You should be able to easily configure the cloud experience that’s right for your business. Optimize your solution for the size of your company, and only pay for what you use with HPE GreenLake or HPFS Subscription services.
- Industry-Leading Expertise: You don’t need a team of specialized technicians to provide innovative technology for your business. HPE offers expert support and guidance to help you through your digital transformation.
Count on HPE Small Business Solutions to guide your business through new and ever evolving developments, from the workspace to the workforce to the technology that brings it all together. With expert support and innovative solutions, HPE is the partner that can help you through a digital transformation.