Things are changing fast, and your company may well discover that embracing a hybrid work schedule delivers in more ways than you thought possible. It’s merely a matter of approach as there are various ways to structure hybrid work, and schedules can vary from team to team.
Hybrid work environments are rapidly becoming the go-to model for businesses of every stripe, whether large or small. The traditional 9-5 office is fast evaporating and companies are increasingly embracing a mix of employees who work in the office, work remotely, and split their time between the two. Employees, for their part, have signaled that they look for hybrid models when evaluating work options. Indeed, a recent survey from Prudential found that a whopping 87% of workers who have been working remotely would prefer to keep doing so at least once a week. Overall, 67% said they preferred a hybrid workplace—and with employees emboldened to change jobs as never before—the writing is on the wall.
There are benefits to hybrid workplaces that go beyond worker retention and job satisfaction, however. When implemented properly, a hybrid work model can increase productivity and lower costs, all while easing the burden on individual workers and allowing them to enjoy better work/life balance without sacrificing efficiency.
Tapping into all of that takes careful planning and the appropriate digital tools. Hybrid scheduling can be surprisingly challenging, though, especially when it comes to differing working hours and the need to communicate and collaborate. It’s a daunting challenge, but with the right technology—and a smart plan that fits your specific organization—you can well be on your way to the workplace of the future.
Hybrid Work Model Best Practices
One of the biggest challenges for employers when work-from-home orders originally hit was the lack of technology critical to support the remote workforce. For companies that already had a system in place, no problem. For those caught napping, it was a mad scramble to implement new tools to connect their scattered employees—digital tools to communicate, collaborate, and share resources. Embracing cloud-based operations became mission-critical.
Hybrid work models entail more than just setting dates in a calendar. They often constitute a fundamental shift in how daily business is conducted as well as quarterly or yearly project goals. Any effective hybrid model needs to be implemented and acted on every day. The more you can adhere to the principles and guidelines of hybrid work on a daily basis, the easier and more effective it becomes.
What kind of practices should you include in your hybrid work model?
- Listen to your employees. This is especially important right now with the incredibly high turnover rates and employee retention headaches. Worker retention often comes down to employees feeling appreciated and their concerns heard. That’s why Smarten Spaces includes survey and feedback feature to regularly check on your team members and create detailed reports helping you address their unique and very real concerns
- Make your workplace safe for employees coming back to work. Our powerful platform has built-in employee health check features, contact tracing, occupancy control to prevent overcrowding, and cleaning and sanitizing service requests with escalating ticket matrixes so employees can track the status of their tickets.
- Develop space utilization strategies based on current health and safety standards for your area. The number of employees and their in-office work location will likely fluctuate, and new standards are necessary to guarantee health and safety. Smarten Spaces is set up to address such concerns, with features including automated desk assignment to ensure social distancing, a Desk Booking app to let team members claim desired space, and real-time occupancy and distancing monitoring.
- Leverage the power of data. Your workplace evolves just as your business does. By analyzing what works and what doesn’t, you can adjust your plan to fit new needs. Here too, Smarten Spaces has you covered, with analytics designed to examine preferred schedules, seating assignments, and countless other variables to find out what works best for your business. With the ability to track everyone’s schedules, you’ll be able to identify important work trends and reassess your scheduling and space needs.
- Monitor utilization with sensors: This enables you to make the most of your space by determining workplace capacity and reducing costs on wasted space. Empowered with utilization data and trends, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about your space utilization and worker schedules.
Implementing Hybrid Work Schedule Policies
Once you have a policy in place for a hybrid work schedule, the next step is adopting a rollout policy. Most plans will boil down to one of two options:
- Letting employees set their own hybrid work schedule, as dictated by their specific duties on the job as well as their needs away from it.
- Assigning departmental managers and HR to set the company’s hybrid schedules.
Both options have benefits and drawbacks, and what works for one company may be a bad fit for the next. Regardless of which approach best suits your organizational needs, the key to making it work is communication. With schedules, that means knowing which people are in the office when, and how to communicate with them when they’re operating from a different location. No matter who sets the hybrid work schedule, being clear about the reasons—and providing updates in real-time in a way that every team member can access—is key.
There are 7 general types of hybrid work schedules, each built around a different configuration of employees.
- Cohort Schedules: Employees work from the office or from home on predetermined days a week on a regular basis. Since they work from set schedules, this model is easier to manage.
- Staggered Schedules: With this approach, you keep in-office numbers down by varying the hours that team members work. Yes, they still have set remote and in-office days, but they don’t arrive all at once at the same time.
- Flexible Schedules (Manager-Led): Here, managers are the ones that largely determine who works from home and who works in the office. Smarten Spaces allows users to compare schedules with colleagues, teams, and departments to cultivate a collaborative hybrid environment.
- Flexible Schedules (Employee-Led): This approach still requires plenty of oversight and effective communication from managers to ensure everyone knows what’s expected of them. These schedules aren’t spontaneous, though. Saying: ‘I think I’m gonna work from home tomorrow at 4:30 pm’ just won’t fly… It needs to be scheduled ahead of time. Creating schedules with Smarten Spaces helps managers and employees to plan the most productive and engaging hybrid schedules to optimize collaboration.
- Alternating Hybrid Schedules: This approach combines the best aspects of the above, allowing employees to work out of a single cohort office 1-4 days a week while working from home the other days. Smarten Spaces’ Hybrid Scheduler is synced with our desk management feature that triggers automatic desk allocation once a schedule has been created. It releases desks when an employee is not scheduled to come to the workplace and book desks according to when they’re scheduled to come into work.
- Permanent WFH Schedules: With the hybrid workforce model gaining rapid traction, some workplaces are making the jump to a forever WFH culture.
- Combo Schedules: Mix and match your work style to find the perfect fit. Pair a manager-led hybrid work schedule with another type, like a cohort or staggered model, for example.
Smarten Spaces solutions leverage AI technology and are designed to be responsive to your company’s unique hybrid work model, whatever it happens to be. By tracking space occupancy and utilization, you can adjust capacity in real-time to handle updates, including meeting room space. Our dynamic analytics features provide the means to evaluate the utilization of hybrid workplaces and reconfigure office spaces to match supply and demand. This way you enable the ideal hybrid work environment.
Finding the Right Hybrid Workplace Platform
When implemented properly and with an eye on results, hybrid workplaces can be transformative: lowering costs, saving time, and improving employee health and happiness, all without cutting into the ability to deliver projects on time and on budget.
Hybrid Working requires planning and the blending of employee engagement, space management, and technology, and all these knit smartly together in the dynamic new version of Smarten Spaces Jumpree 3.0 platform. Its intuitive technology is designed to help you set up and run the hybrid work environment that fits your needs and your team the best.
Jumpree 3.0 is packed with more than 80 out-of-the-box integrations with business applications and sensors, including:
- New mobile and desktop technology for employees and managers to plan their work-from-home and work-from-office hybrid schedules.
- Synchronized scheduling with colleagues, teams, and flexible spaces
.- AI-driven Hybrid Scheduling recommendations to assist managers and employees in planning the most productive and engaging hybrid schedules.
- Desk booking, meeting room booking, parking spot booking, and locker booking. Manage space requests efficiently by determining workplace capacity and reducing costs on wasted space. Get complete visibility into where everyone is sitting and who’s working together.
- Digital contactless building access and visitor management to get back to work safely including health assessment, vaccination status upload, approvals, and wayfinding. Touch-free and secure process to verify and record entries. Keep detailed logs of all visits and entries. Controlled service includes a smart pass for visitor validation that can be integrated into building access control systems and geo-fenced for certain areas.
- Revolutionize your employees’ mealtime experience with our Smart Cafeteria features. Order and pay for food through the app, view wait times and skip the lines.
- Create Digital Community, Promote Events and Activities. Conduct regular surveys to monitor employee health and experience. Create detailed reports from employee insights. Use the Community Feed feature to share company updates and news on a secure social platform.
- Full visibility into how employees adapt to the new hybrid environment through advanced reporting and analytics. (View work-from-home and work-from-office occupancy percentages.)
- Detailed space utilization data to improve space planning and decision-making. Conveniently review utilization data and trends.
All these features help managers determine what works and what doesn’t in their plan. And you can tailor it to suit changing needs as well, ensuring that it grows along with your business!
Powerful Technology Innovation for the New Hybrid Workplace
A smarter workplace will pay huge dividends, but only if your company has the technology to do so. As workers seek new opportunities in the growing economy, hybrid workplaces provide the connections, collaboration, and flexibility necessary for the future.
Businesses that can provide employees with reciprocal relationships and support will better retain them, as well as help them perform at their best. Smarten Spaces provides exactly the kind of digital workplace technology your business needs to create and maintain an efficient hybrid workplace.
Smarten Spaces offers a fully-featured workplace safety and flexible technology platform to help businesses navigate the new hybrid workplace. This SaaS technology expands hot desking with workforce scheduling to create a seamless digital workplace experience. It simplifies space management, bringing together unique workforce and workplace considerations for a future-ready solution.
Schedule a Demo today and discover how our comprehensive solutions will give you the time, expertise, and ability to expertly manage your unique hybrid workspaces.