There are always solutions to issues that have become urgent due to the unexpectedness of the pandemic, and little time companies have got to prepare themselves. An ideal work environment must help in increasing productivity, but what we know as a work environment has completely changed. Hence, ensuring productivity will need revisions according to the hybrid work schedule model that most businesses have been forced to resort to during COVID-19.
WHAT IS A HYBRID WORK SCHEDULE?
Pre-covid workspaces exert themselves as the focus of our lifestyles. Employees were made to build their life and sociability around their hours of office work, as it included commuting to the workplace. However, with COVID-19 restrictions in place, companies transitioned into work-from-home models that evolved into a hybrid work schedule.
Let’s start with what is a hybrid work schedule? It includes individuals working from home as well as entering the workplace as per what the area’s guidelines allow. It seems to be a difficult work model to navigate as it is a first for many companies during already difficult times.
This is a business model which combines remote work alongside work in-office. It is a system that allows employees to have more work autonomy to decide where to work and when. It will enable structuring their life and fitting work into it, rather than structuring one’s life around commuting to a workplace, getting on time, and finishing work.
TYPES OF HYBRID WORK ENVIRONMENTS
A hybrid work environment can look different for different organizations. It includes two kinds of staff- those present on-site and others who are free to come and go as they please. It could also look like individuals being divided into groups and allotted similar time slots to show up in the workplace. However, it can also be the most flexible type of hybrid work schedule where employees are requested to be on-site only to attend in-person meetings that cannot be done over a zoom conference call.
POSSIBLE PROBLEMS THAT MAY OCCUR
With the hybrid work schedule, there can be multiple issues rising due to the division of employees who may or may not always be in the same place when required to be. There are also more chances of breaking down communication to take place in a hybrid work environment.
Discrimination against remote workers might occur as well, as they are not face-to-face with the core employees who are most likely to work on-site. Promotions, opportunities, and work may not be given with equality in mind.
Not everyone has ideal home situations to be able to create a quiet workspace for themselves. Technological issues like Wi-Fi connection, technology availability, etc., may become an issue for remote workers.
MAXIMIZE PRODUCTIVITY IN A HYBRID WORK ENVIRONMENT MODEL
To ensure productivity is maintained or even boosted, the following pieces of advice must be considered in this new work model.
- Prioritize energy and focus of employees
The two most important things that ensure employee productivity are their abundance of energy and focus. With a hybrid work schedule, the employee has enough autonomy to manage their energy in ways that fit them best. Their energy levels must be understood and accounted for. Their focus levels can also have a particular ‘hours of preference’ that they would prefer working during.
To allow employees to accommodate their energy and focus levels and preferences, employers must understand these patterns and create a workflow schedule that enables the employee to incorporate their work during the most productive hours of their day. This is not possible in the old on-site working environment and should be taken full advantage of.
- Re-allocate Finances
As finances for physical infrastructure and materials decrease, finances should be re-allocated to other priorities. These include providing funds to employees who do not have stable Wi-Fi connections or have technological barriers in their homes. Such reallocation can only help in ensuring that productivity levels are maintained during the shift of work models.
- Approve work schedules rationally.
Dividing employees and their responsibilities pragmatically is essential. Employees with similar job descriptions and work can be further and further subdivided. According to their job’s needs and their preferred flexibility, groups can further be divided and made to fit the large picture of the company’s work schedule. This way, employees’ hybrid work schedules can be rationally coordinated based on the need to come to the office and maximized results achieved during such on-site workdays. Without ensuring that every employee’s work schedules are rational and fit the puzzle of the rest of the picture- it can work against the efficiency of the company’s workflow than aid it.
- Establish multiple, proper communication lines
The final, most important topic is that the communication lines amongst employees of the same level of work and between lower and higher levels of management must be appropriately established. This will further aid the sub-division of employees in their hybrid work schedules, as nothing is possible without communication.
Despite the raging times of COVID-19, we find ourselves in a whirlwind of opportunities we see as hindrances. Optimizing work schedules to innovate new models can help improve efficiency and productivity in a way that has not been tried before. With more autonomy given to the employee, there is a much higher chance of a hybrid work environment to outdo on-site work.