When an organization says it supports hybrid work, what does that really mean? Not having a clear answer to this question can put the productivity of your workplace at risk. Even worse, confusion on this part can make your people less interested in coming into the office.
You’ll need reliable technological solutions and services to support the ability to work from anywhere, foster collaboration and productivity, and reshape office spaces to adopt new ways of working. And the only way an organization can select that technology is with a firm understanding of how to classify the most common hybrid work models.
As a jumping off point for your team’s discussions, here’s how JLL Technologies defines the most common hybrid work models.
1. Office-centric workplaces
An office-centric workplace establishes the physical office as the primary location of most full-time work functions.
While some flexibility may be possible in terms of part-time remote work, very few employees work remotely on a full-time basis. They’re able to do so only with approval and on a selective basis based on job responsibilities.
2. Hybrid workplaces
True hybrid workplaces offer employees flexibility to support their preferred work styles, collaboration needs, and job responsibilities—without sacrificing the needs of the organization or established corporate culture.
Because there is no one-size-fits-all solution, every hybrid workplace is different. In some offices, there may be a framework in place to help employees determine how to split their time between conventional in-office work and remote work. In other environments, employees may get to choose when they come to the office and when they work off-site.
3. Remote/virtual workplaces
Fully remote or virtual workplaces may not have many (or any) physical office spaces. If they do, then employees are free to use these spaces how and when they wish: to complete certain tasks, gather large groups together, meet with a client, etc.
In these environments, leaders don’t determine employee work location. Remote or virtual workplaces adhere to a work-from-home approach that gives employees the ability to complete their work from anywhere—their living room, a coffee shop, a coworking space downtown, etc.
Many times, remote/virtual workplaces also offer flexible schedules. Instead of requiring employees to work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, for example, some may choose to start their workdays earlier or later.
Considerations to pick the right hybrid workplace
What’s the right type of hybrid workplace for you? There is no right or wrong answer—or one type of workplace that works better than another. The right fit depends on the needs of your organization and employees. Factors like number of workers, industry, existing office space availability, and employee demographics also play a role.
To determine whether an office-centric, hybrid, or remote/virtual option is best for your organization, ask yourself these questions:
Q: What type of work is being done?
If your business requires lots of face-to-face customer interaction, for example, then establishing a hybrid workplace may take more coordination and planning to ensure that the right people are in the office to answer customer questions.
If lots of group work and brainstorming happens, then employees may need to get together in person more often than those doing individual work.
If you have several employees who travel frequently, then dedicated office space may not be necessary for them.
The type of work being done can help determine what’s feasible when it comes to hybrid spaces.
Q: Can workspaces be reconfigured to accommodate how people want to work?
If employees are coming into the office mostly for collaboration, for brainstorming, or to work on projects together, then your building may not need as many individual workstations. Can you support the new types of spaces that will be needed instead? For example, can you accommodate more touchdown or hoteling spaces?
Q: Do you have technology to support hybrid communications?
No matter which path you choose—office-centric, hybrid, or remote/virtual—all three depend on technology. Even if most of your employees work in the office, you still need a strategy to support communication with the small percentage who work remotely.
To bridge the in-person/on-screen divide, remote workers should feel just as included and connected as those on-site. They should also be able to attend all-hands meetings and be easily accessible when coworkers need to reach them.
Start your hybrid journey
No matter where you’re at along the journey to creating a hybrid workplace, JLL Technologies has resources that can help. Start with “The corporate real estate guide to a better hybrid workplace.” It offers the guidance you need to move in the right direction—no matter which path you choose.