Everything you’ve ever needed to know about hybrid working models
We’re in the midst of an office revolution…
Following the pandemic, the traditional concept of a 9-5 office has gone out the window for many businesses. When workers do head back to a physical workspace, it’s unlikely to be on a full-time basis.
‘Hybrid working’ will be the new status quo.
For most companies, hybrid working will be a new concept, and they’ll be operating it on a trial basis. Others only plan to use hybrid working for a short period of time to give their teams time to adjust to office life again. Ultimately, your goal as a business is to keep productivity high, keep morale high and keep your team happy. We’ve put together this eBook so you can be fully clued-up about this new type of working model and determine if it’s right for your team.
Download our ebook on Hybrid Working Best Practices
What is Hybrid Working?
Hybrid working is the new buzz term about town. Essentially, hybrid working means that some team members work remotely, some work in the office, and some as a mixture of both.
The thought of returning to the office is a little unnerving for both businesses and workers. On the one hand, it’ll be great to get the team together again, on the other hand… the morning commute.
Businesses are beginning to think about how to structure their new working models. A physical office provides the space for teams to collaborate and the breathing room for company culture to thrive. Yet there are new social distancing regulations to adhere to, and a team to keep happy and safe. Managing an office, post-pandemic just got a whole lot harder.
Many workers have enjoyed working from home. The lack of travel and extra time with loved ones has been great for work-life balance. However, some people have struggled with the lack of social interaction or adequate workspace.
The type of hybrid working model you decide to run will depend on your team. Speak to them, determine what they want, and what they need. Perhaps it’s flexible working hours? Or flexible working days? Do they want to be fully remote, on-site full-time, a mixture of both? Ask them what they’ve enjoyed about working from home, and what they miss about the office. Use their feedback to structure a working model that fits around your team.
The different types of hybrid office space
Depending on how you structure your hybrid office model, you will have different options available to you for your hybrid working space.
A part-time office is a great way to reduce your costs and keep your team happy. Your business uses the workspace on specific weekdays, and another business will use it on others. You have the advantage of a managed workspace but at a reduced operational cost.
If you have team members who will work remotely on a permanent basis, there is no need for them to have a dedicated desk. You can downsize your current office to accommodate full-time and hybrid team members. Depending on the number of remote workers in your team, this could make significant cost savings for your business.
Within your new hybrid working model, you may discover that there are those who want to work in an office, but not necessarily travel to your main HQ every day. In this instance, you can get them a dedicated desk in an office closer to their home. If you have a number of team members in one area, you could also look at private office membership models for them.
Even if your business is operating a hybrid working model, you might prefer to keep a larger office with breakout spaces, private meeting rooms and more capacity for your team to spread out post-pandemic.
Post-pandemic, your main requirement is a flexible workspace. One that will adapt to your team as you iron out the kinks in your model. At Runway East, we can provide everything from hot-desks to 100 person offices depending on what you need and when you need it.
The Benefits of Hybrid Working
As with any new working model, there are positives and negatives. The pandemic has provided a lot of businesses with an opportunity to rethink how they work. Many organisations plan on running a full-time office again. Yet even these companies acknowledge that they have to ease their team in slowly. Hybrid working has a unique set of benefits for workers and businesses alike.
Benefits of hybrid working for businesses
- Office space is a major operational overhead for most businesses. An office in a desirable location, close to amenities and good transport links was always the goal, and it didn’t come cheap. As organisations are going hybrid, they are downsizing, sharing office space, and making substantial savings in the process.
- Running a large office can be time-consuming and complicated. Hybrid teams typically move to managed spaces where they have the flexibility of varied membership models.
86% of workers want to work remotely at least once a week
- Bringing your team back to the office after almost a year of remote working will be a jolt to the system. Many businesses are looking to ease the transition by operating hybridly for 3-6 months whilst their teams settle back into a routine.
- A hybrid working model means that you can accommodate your team’s requirements down to an individual level. If workers want the social interaction of the office, and others enjoy the work-life balance of working from home, then it’s possible to keep everyone happy.
- Team culture suffered when we all suddenly went remote last year. Getting your team on site a few days a week allows for social interaction, strengthening of working relationships, and sharing of ideas.
- A busy office can be great for team collaborations and group projects, but when it comes to more focussed work, the fewer distractions the better. A hybrid working model means your team gets the best of both worlds. Schedule meetings for on-site days and save the focussed thinking for remote days.
- Home (for the most part) is a more relaxing atmosphere than the office. The improvement to work-life balance has been welcomed over the pandemic and has led to an improvement in mental health.
- A hybrid working model also means that your team isn’t braving a long and crowded commute every morning – a traditionally notorious place to pick up bugs.
- Promoting a hybrid working culture means that team members are more likely to stay home and work remotely if they have a sniffle, as opposed to bringing their germs to work.
Hybrid working vs Remote working
The difference between remote working and hybrid working boils down office space.
A remote team will work from home, from a hot-desk or even a coffee shop if it suits them. There is no fixed team base. A hybrid team, by contrast, will have an office where some of the team will work, whilst the rest are off-site.
If you still need clarification, then consult our handy table below.
- A physical office and/or smaller ‘satellite offices
- A partially remote team
- Team comes together for in-person meetings, collaboration and culture/social activities
- Increased productivity of collaborative work
- Distractions in the office
- Maintains culture, social interaction and team cohesion
- More structure for your team
- No physical office
- A fully remote team
- Fully reliant on remote working tools
- Increased productivity of focussed work
- Distractions at home
- Socially isolating
- More flexibility for your team
Your Cheat Sheet for Building a Successful Part-Time Working Model
If you’re thinking an office time-share might be right for your team, but don’t know how to plan for it – then you’re in luck. We’ve made you a cheat sheet. Everything you need to consider when moving to a part-time office.
We’ve helped several RWE members move to a part-time working model and in doing so, we’ve learnt a lot about how to do it successfully.
We’ve broken it down for you and you can also check out our 8 easy steps to building a successful part-time office share for more in-depth information.
1. Survey your team
- What did they like or dislike about remote working?
- Do they actually want to come back to the office?
- If it’s only for a few days a week, which days?
- Would a hybrid working model change their answer?
- Do they have any concerns about returning to the office?
2. Evaluate the results
- Would a part-time model suit everyone?
- What can you do about the team members it doesn’t work for?
3. Decide if a part-time office will work for your business
- Would a hybrid model or satellite offices work better?
4. Evaluate the bottom line
- Do the cost savings outweigh the need for a full-time space?
5. Structure your working week
- What days of the week do you want the space?
- How can you structure your working patterns to maximise the opportunity of being together?
Bretton Putter from CultureGene talks about how remote businesses are creating a structured work week:
6. Adapt your processes so they are remote-first
- Are your operational processes robust enough to survive in-person meetings AND remote-meetings?
- What can you do to make sure systems and documentation aren’t lost
7. Communicate with your team
- Does everyone know what to expect from the new working model?
- Is everyone on board?
8. Launch and iterate
- How’s the model working 1 month in, 3 months in, 6 months in?
- Are there any issues and how can you change the model to resolve them
A Hybrid Office Success Story
We get it. Hybrid working is a pretty new concept, and you don’t want to be the guinea pigs. At Runway East, we’ve seen an increasing number of enquiries come in about Hybrid Working, and how teams can adapt to it. Quite a few of our members are choosing to operate hybrid models when they’re back in the office.
RWE Soho members VenueScanner are running a hybrid working model for their team.
After going fully remote at the first national lockdown, VenueScanner wanted to get back to the office but wasn’t quite sure what that looked like for them. In an effort to understand what the team liked about remote working and what they missed about office-life, they surveyed the team.
Whilst the team enjoyed the productivity of working from home, they missed the collaborative nature and social culture of the office. As a business, they felt it was important to meet as a team on a regular basis. So they made the decision to move to a hybrid working structure. Their team has become much more outcomes orientated as a result, which has been very positive from a management point of view.
“It’s better to be in person when multiple people are needed to solve a problem together or really think creatively. Whiteboarding in workshops or brainstorms just isn’t the same when it’s not in real life.”
As with any hybrid working model, some people prefer to work from home more than others, and the company is quite flexible in its approach. They have 1 day a week where they require the full team to be on-site, but otherwise, the office is open for those who wish to use it. This structure provides a touchpoint for the team and an opportunity to check-in with each other. They can conduct most of their internal meetings in person, and use the time to maintain team culture.
When there are fewer people in the office together, your working environment becomes even more important. At Runway East we pride ourselves on our community and making it easy for different businesses to socialise and learn from each other.
Our flexible term means that you can change your hybrid working structure depending on what works for your business. Whether you want to upsize, or downsize, move to a part-time office share, change locations, or just in need of a few hot-desks, we can adapt with you.
Managing Hybrid Teams: Key Considerations
Managing a hybrid team can actually be more difficult than managing a fully remote team.
Team members in the office will have the in-person advantage of nurturing working relationships, and the influence of informal meetings. This can leave remote workers feeling as though they are overlooked. The FOMO is real!
A Remote-first culture
If you’re moving your team to a hybrid working model, you should adopt ‘remote-first’ processes. This will ensure that your team’s culture serves the remote worker first.
The processes that you put in place when your team was remote, need to be robust enough that they become the default way of working, regardless of location. You need to make sure that there are no advantages or disadvantages to working remotely.
The shift in hybrid working dynamics
As your team settles into its new hybrid working structure, you will need to assess how it’s working. If you’ve taken a part-time office space, you might find that not everyone needs the same amount of on-site time. It could be that customer-facing roles want to be in the office more, whereas developers might prefer to work remotely. Perhaps you could need more desks on a regular basis, or perhaps less.
Feeling connected and having oversight in your business can be harder when the team is partially remote. When you’re in person, it can be easy to see if there are performance issues, what the team’s energy is like, and head grievances off at the pass. This is why a remote-first culture is critical.
What does hybrid working mean?
Hybrid working is where team members mix working remotely with working in the office.
What is a hybrid work schedule?
A successful hybrid work schedule will plan collaborative teamwork for office days, and individually focussed work for remote working days.
What is hybrid work culture?
A hybrid work culture favours a remote-first model. Remote workers can become overlooked just because they are not in the office. Promoting a remote-first culture will help to prevent a fragmented team.
What is a hybrid office?
A hybrid office is where a business has a team that is partly remote-based and partly in the office.
What is a hybrid team?
A hybrid team consists of remote workers, office workers and some team members who work from home some days and in the office some days.
How do you manage hybrid teams?
Managing a hybrid team can be challenging. You should adopt a ‘remote-first’ working model so that those working from home aren’t overlooked.
What is the difference between remote and hybrid?
A remote working team has no physical office base, in a hybrid working model, some team members will work from the office, and some will work from home.
Will WFH be permanent?
There will be many businesses that choose to go fully remote following the pandemic. However, most will be looking to return to the office either full-time or a couple of days a week.