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What Is the Future of Hybrid Work?

What is a hybrid model work? Hybrid work refers to allowing employees to work from home in a variety of different ways. Hybrid work models include: 

  • Employees who work a few days remotely and the rest of the week from the office
  • Some employees who are 100% remote and others who are 100% in-person
  • A mixture of schedules

These types of flexible workspaces include synchronous (employees working at the same time), asynchronous (working at different times) work, co-located (working in the same space), and distributed (working in different locations). This gives us four types of workspaces: 

  • Working together in the same location (synchronous co-located) 
  • Working together in different locations (synchronous distributed) 
  • Working separately in the same location (asynchronous co-located)
  • Working separately in different locations (asynchronous distributed) 

One of the big questions about this model—is hybrid work the best choice? Traditionally, synchronous co-located workspaces have been viewed as ideal. However, hybrid work has turned that standard upside down. Hybrid employees report that flexible work models have increased their job satisfaction and productivity, with some hybrid models having an overall positive impact on their mental health. A survey conducted by PwC at the end of 2020 found that 34% of employees say that they are more productive than before the pandemic. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many workplaces to adopt remote or hybrid work models, many people wonder if this type of working environment will continue post-pandemic. Let’s get into it. 

What Is the Future of Hybrid Work?

For those asking, “Is the hybrid work model here to stay?” The answer is a resounding yes! A study published by Stanford University found that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 5% of working days were spent at home. During the pandemic, remote work rose to 40%, and that number is anticipated to drop to around 20% post-pandemic. While 20% is lower, it also exceeds the pre-pandemic percentage by a significant amount, indicating that remote and hybrid work models will be sticking around. Why? Because employees need time to work together and time to focus on their own projects. 

What Executives Are Saying About the Future of Hybrid Work

According to a Gartner survey of 130 HR leaders, 90% of respondents plan to allow employees to work remotely, even post-pandemic, at least part of the time. All in all, hybrid work schedules have proven to beat in-person models while having all of the benefits of remote work without the downsides. “Those with flexible schedules score nearly twice as high on productivity compared with those working 9-to-5 and significantly better when it comes to sense of belonging,” says Slack vice president Brian Elliott. Still more evidence that a combination of synchronous and asynchronous work is ideal!

What Employees Are Saying About the Future of Remote Work

A Return to the Workplace Report by Envoy found that nearly half of employees say they prefer to return to a hybrid work model combining both remote and in-person work. Office workers point to an average of 3.3 days as the ideal number to work at the office. 

“The data shows us that employees do want to return to the workplace, but in a way that prioritizes their need for flexibility and recognizes the pandemic’s impact on the way we work now. Many employees want the power to design a workweek that works best for them, which companies can support by embracing a hybrid work model,” said Envoy founder and CEO Larry Gadea

Hybrid Work Model: Best Practices for Future-proofing

While there are benefits to asynchronous work, it also comes with challenges. Remote employees report feeling lonely or isolated, not being able to build relationships with colleagues, and missing out on what others are working on. To mitigate these issues with a flexible workspace, put these best practices into place: 

Provide Structure

Hybrid work doesn’t mean a free-for-all. On the contrary, in order to have a successful hybrid model that empowers and enables your employees, you need to provide structure. This could look like establishing options to choose and allowing employees to pick what works best for them. For example, you could provide options like 100% remote, working three to five days a week in the office, or working mainly at home with only one or two days in-person. These schedules may not work for your office, so choose structures that align with your company culture and employees and that strike the right balance between working together and allowing alone time. 

Prioritize Communication

Communication is key. In fact, McKinsey found that the companies with higher productivity in remote and hybrid environments were the ones that supported small connections between employees. For example, opportunities to share ideas, talk about projects, network, mentor, and coach. Facilitating communication from the top down is one of the most vital best practices for hybrid work.

Invest in the Right Collaboration Tools

How do you achieve structure and communication? With tools that facilitate collaboration. PwC found that 72% of executives plan to spend more on virtual collaboration tools and invest in areas that support hybrid work models. 

While increasing the spend is one thing, it won’t do you any good to buy a proliferation of tech tools that no one uses. Choose the right tools that your employees will actually benefit from. For example, according to Gartner, 30% of meetings by 2024 will feature a virtual visual canvas as the centerpiece for engagement. A digital whiteboard that easily integrates all your communication tools and provides an online collaborative meeting space gives your employees the flexibility and freedom they need. 

Alleo: Experience the Future of Hybrid Work Today

With Alleo, our customizable visual canvas and collaboration platform is the perfect compliment for this new way of working. “Working synchronously or asynchronously and maximizing productivity is more important than ever with a flexible work environment,” said Founder and Chief Executive Officer Brandon Fischer. “This can all be accomplished with Alleo.” With no software to install, no hardware to purchase, and the ability to access from any device, Alleo is the ultimate flexible workspace. With this innovative digital environment, you can stream multiple live feeds, screen share easily, embed content—even integrate with your existing tech stack like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. With Alleo, you can quickly put best practices into place and experience the future of hybrid work today. Explore our use cases to see how Alleo can enable and empower your hybrid workers.

Author

Megan Van Zutphen

Megan Van Zutphen

COO of Alleo