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Adopting the Hybrid Workplace Model: The 2021 Way of Working (Part 1)

A 4 Part series aimed at supporting you with practical tips to help you step fully into the Hybrid workplace with more confidence going into 2021.

As if 2020 hadn’t brought up enough challenges for us all to face, both professionally and personally, 2021 has much more in store. Don’t fret though, for everything that we’ve quote on quote, lost, over the past year, we’ve gained back in more ways than many of us have yet fully comprehended.

No matter in what industry you’re working, whatever your position is, or whether you have a job at this very moment, the shifts we'll experience moving into 2021 will affect us all. In this series, we’ll be diving into the challenges presented by the hybrid workplace model, and focus on what is needed from us to adapt with ease to this new mixed way of working.

Let's talk Remote Work Mindset in the Hybrid Workplace

The most important acknowledgment to make right now is that to succeed in the hybrid workplace we must understand that replicating the practices that worked in the office and adapting them to the remote work environment, won't serve as a sustainable solution. Those who understand this and make the crucial mindset shift towards this belief will be the ones who succeed.

To transform our way of working to adapt to our drastically changing work environment, we need to transform our minds first. Rather than replicating what worked in our past and hoping for it to function well for us in today's environment, we need to build new habits and more aligned processes to serve our present needs. With our mindset in check, we can begin to come up with solutions for the challenges presented in the hybrid office workplace. For those who need a refresh, let's take a look briefly at what exactly is the hybrid workplace model.

Hybrid Workplace Model

We're all familiar with the term hybrid, but you may be wondering what it means within the context of the workplace environment. Essentially, the hybrid workplace model combines traditional office work with remote work. Another distinction in this model, is that employees are given more freedom to chose when to work and where. This is definitely not a new concept or way of working, although even those companies who have been working this way for some time, face challenges.

In theory, the concept of a mixed working environment sounds like the perfect balance, but if this was the case, then why are so many companies still struggling to get it right? Are we doing it all wrong, or is the model flawed?

Is the Hybrid Model of Work Failing Us?

To answer this question, we need to trace back a bit. When COVID-19 hit us early last year, many companies began working from home, a good portion of them, for the very first time. Quick solutions were implemented and problems were seamlessly solved...on the surface at least that was.

Everyone did the best they could with what they had, and the quick shifts employees and business owners needed to make weren't easy ones to adapt to. Looking back though, what most people did, was put a bandaid on an ax wound, which may have served them until now, but many are realizing that moving forward, this way of managing their way of working simply isn't sustainable.

So, with that said, rather than seeing the model as failing us, what's more likely, is that we just didn't have the time to properly transition into it. Most people were required to adapt to remote work before they were even fully prepared, and now, as companies can slowly return to the office, we find ourselves in another adaptation phase. This time, it would seem as if returning to the office would be a piece of cake when in reality, it's far from. Let's explore the reasons why. 👇

The Future of Work - Challenges of a Hybrid Workplace

As many employees return back to a physical work location and others stay home, there are countless challenges being presented in the hybrid model way of working. In the next three weeks, we'll do a deep dive and dissect some of the main challenges, identifying the difficulties they present, and sharing some practical tips and hacks so you can better manage in the hybrid workplace. For the time being, we'll give you a sneak peek into the main challenges we'll be exploring over the next few weeks.

Employee Experience & Company Culture

Creating a positive and sustainable remote team culture in our constantly changing work environment can be challenging, but it's something we must become better at managing as it's an aspect of work that affects much more than culture. How you manage company culture in a remote environment is a key factor in improving employee experience.

How are you transforming your work culture in this Hybrid work environment? For some tips and insights into considerations when transforming your remote team culture, take a read through the second article of our series, Remote Work Culture: The 2021 Hybrid Work Environment (Part 2).

Managing Productivity & Motivation

Finding ways to build connectivity, improve communication, and foster a transparent work environment within distributed teams is enough of a challenge. But, what about when your team is geographically distributed by time zone and across continents? Not only does the hybrid work environment present the challenge of managing employees who work from various locations and have different hours, but in the case of a team where the majority of its staff are in opposite ends of the world, there's more to consider than a difference of time. Take, for example, at 👀Where, we are a team geographically divided, meaning, that on top of the time change, we also have a difference of seasons at play. While a part of the team is feeling the summer vibes, the other may be experiencing a dip in energy. In our article on Productivity Hacks, Energy Leaks, and Mental Mindf*cks, we'll share one of the biggest productivity hacks not many people are talking about.

Asynchronous Communication

The days of everyone starting work at 9 am and finishing at 6:30 pm aren't long gone, but it is turning into something that isn't so common anymore. The future of work will be based on greater flexibility, more asynchronous communication, and new behaviours to facilitate productivity and connectivity. Although asynchronous communication is key for remote teams, the problem faced with the hybrid work model is trying to make sure that there is a communication bridge between those working in various environments. There are many ways to facilitate better asynchronous communication, and we'll dive deep into what those are in the 4th part of our series Opting for Asynchronous Collaboration in the Hybrid Workplace.