The hybrid workplace isn’t a new concept. However, it has picked up steam over the last year and into 2022. At first, the hybrid workplace helped to facilitate COVID safety best practices. But as COVID restrictions lift across the country, many employers are electing not to return to previous office life. Rather, they’re embracing the hybrid workplace culture. Here are a few things you should know about a hybrid workplace, especially if you’re considering making the change.
When we say, “hybrid workplace,” we’re referring to a blend of on-site and remote employees and managers working together within their established office culture. Approximately 66% of global business leaders are considering converting to or maintaining a hybrid workplace for the foreseeable future. The hybrid model is attractive to employers because of its financial flexibility, enabling them to reduce overhead and office space expenses. Employees are fans as well, with over 54% confirming they would prefer to work remotely going forward.
Hybrid workplace flexibility gives employees with both visible and non-visible disabilities a new understanding of what it’s like to “come into” the office. Commuting to an office environment can be challenging for those with disabilities. Working remotely means reduced pain or stress. It also means reduced anxiety, mental exhaustion, and over-stimulation for those with non-visible disabilities, such as social anxiety or autism. The digital-centric aspect of a hybrid work environment organically creates a hub where those on- and off-site can share ideas, collaborate on projects, and operate in a common space available to everyone.
Despite its pros, managers should be aware that there are challenges to consider when establishing a hybrid workplace. This can sometimes involve redefining and strengthening core office values. Technical and data privacy best practices need to be at their peak because the digital heart of the office must accommodate employees working both inside and outside the office. It’s also important to refine the office culture to make sure everyone’s work—whether they’re out of the office or on-site—is valued, validated, and considered.
A World of Opportunity
Managers face unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to switching to a hybrid workplace. Patience and adjustments are needed. Balancing employees’ needs with the work you want them to produce requires forethought and foresight. There can be a lot of pressure to make the switch because so many employees across the country have found benefits in working from home. Focusing on developing your hybrid workforce helps retain these employees—and can even attract future employees—but you must be fully involved and proactive in nurturing your office’s corporate culture. Across the board, companies are realizing that the longer they stick with a hybrid workplace, the more likely they are to uncover new opportunities that benefit their organizations.
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