Digital workplace tools

As the pandemic fears are slowly receding worldwide, most employers are looking to implement a hybrid work model. The demand for a hybrid model is fueled by the changing employee expectations of the workplace. A recent Google survey on hybrid work revealed that 75% of respondents believe hybrid work will become a standard work model across organizations in the next three years.

While some companies give their workforce the flexibility to come to the office or work remotely full time, others expect their employees to work from the office a certain number of days per week. Though hybrid work means different things to different organizations, it is clear that a flexible hybrid work model is here to stay, and employers are also responding to this transformation by flexing their work policies to suit the needs of their employees.

Why flexibility matters

Employees are not willing to relinquish the comforts they have experienced during the last two years of remote work, and now companies have begun to accept this fact by offering more hybrid jobs. On average, teams experience 12% lower turnover when they offer a hybrid workspace.

Benefits of the flexible hybrid work model for employees

a. More freedom and happiness

One of the best hybrid work model best practices is to allow employees to choose the schedule and location that best works for them. Hybrid work makes the employees more engaged and satisfied. Happier employees are more inspired employees ready to contribute more to the organization.

b. Better work-life balance

One of the best flexible working model benefits is enhanced work-life balance for employees. Research on hybrid work models shows that physical and psychological problems arising from burnouts cost organizations in the US between $125 and $190 billion a year in healthcare spending. The costs become even higher if you consider employee turnover, loss of talent, lower productivity, etc. Hybrid work gives employees more time to spend with their families & friends and indulge in hobbies & passions.

The flexible hybrid work model takes the “human-First” approach as it helps employees take care of their mental and physical well-being. Due to fewer commutes, less-frequent interruptions from colleagues, and no workplace politics, employees who get to work remotely, even for a few days a week, report improved mental health and wellness. Even though many companies were already following remote work, the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown put a spotlight on it.

c. Attract the best talent and increase collaboration

A flexible hybrid work model allows companies to attract cross-cultural talent from anywhere. According to a recent survey, 83% of companies implementing the hybrid work model reported that collaboration on new projects was equally as good and even better than their in-office days.

d. Cost savings for the company

With flexible hybrid work model, companies can make optimum use of their physical spaces through hot-desking, hoteling, and other ways of sharing office space. According to a survey, it has been estimated that, on average, companies save $11,000 per hybrid worker every year due to lower employee turnover, reduced seat costs, and less absenteeism.

e. More productivity

Even before the pandemic, many studies suggested that flexible hybrid work results in higher productivity. One study shows that 77% of employees are more productive even if they worked remotely a few days a month. Employees also experienced 56% greater creativity and innovative thinking when working remotely.

A recent Boston Consulting Group report shows that more than half of managers believe their teams are more productive when they work remotely. Even before the pandemic, Iceland executed large-scale trials of a 4-days’ work week (35-36 hours/week), resulting in drastic improvement in work-life balance, employee well-being, and team efforts. The study directly impacted the country’s corporate mindset, and as a result, 86% of the country adopted shorter working days.

What it takes to provide hybrid work flexibility

Implementing a flexible hybrid work model is not easy, and it is like a double-edged sword. If employers don’t offer enough flexibility, they risk losing employees and if they offer too much flexibility, they risk losing performance and productivity. So, before organizations embark on the hybrid bandwagon, they need to ensure they have the right environment to make it work.

a. Mutual trust

For the flexible hybrid work model to succeed, employers should trust their employees, and managers should believe in the abilities of their teammates to complete tasks on time and meet the deadlines without micromanagement. Employers must feel sure about getting the output on time with minimal intervention and without a traditional Monday-Friday workweek and 9 to 5 timings.

b. Use of an asynchronous communication tool

Teams must learn to leverage asynchronous communication tools and other supporting technology to enable flexible hybrid work model. A study points out that, on average, each Slack user sends more than 200 messages per week and there are power users who send 1,000 messages per day. A common complaint against these tools is that employees can get stuck in long and never-ending group chats that demand their attention 24/7.

It puts pressure on everyone to be online & available all the time. Also, since team members mostly use channels and not specific topics in chat conversations, context gets lost, and information gets buried. With a deluge of messages and notifications, users get overburdened and lose important information that can severely affect their work. So, it is important that the team use a tool that supports asynchronous communication like Clariti.

c. Well-defined communication policies

Whether working from home or in any other remote location, team members should be easily accessible to their colleagues within an organization. To avoid being online all the time and suffering from burnout, team members should be aware of when their colleagues will be available for collaboration.

When everybody in the team knows who is doing what, the team can avoid letting things fall through the cracks and make the hybrid work more successful. Companies must set communication rules and protocols for colleagues and managers, and they must also make sure that these policies and procedures are reviewed periodically to ensure that they are still practical and relevant for flexible hybrid work.

d. Dependable Technology infrastructure

Companies must have robust technology and tech stack to support a flexible hybrid work model. Organizations require SaaS solutions built for and housed in the cloud rather than on-premises ecosystems so that their remote teams can access the tools they would typically use in the office via web browsers.

How does Clariti support hybrid model

Clariti is a powerful tool that supports flexible hybrid work model by seamlessly linking email and chat messages in a single platform, making it easier for users to manage their communication channels. With Clariti, users can organize their conversations based on the subject matter, rather than the medium used for communication, which improves productivity and reduces information overload.

Clariti offers a unique feature called conversations, which allows users to create chat-based conversations centered around specific subjects. These conversations can include messages from multiple sources, including email, chat, and other communication channels. This feature is particularly useful for flexible hybrid work where team members may be working remotely or in the office, using different communication tools.

By bringing together all the relevant messages in a single conversation thread, conversations streamline communication, reduce duplication, and minimize the time spent searching for information. The platform also provides advanced search capabilities that allow users to quickly find specific messages or conversations, regardless of the communication channel used.

In addition, Clariti offers features such as voice calling, screen sharing, file sharing, to-dos etc that help teams collaborate more effectively and stay on top of their work. With Clariti, flexible digital workplace becomes more manageable, and teams can focus on achieving their goals without being bogged down by the complexities of managing multiple communication channels.

Conclusion

Nobody can deny that collaboration is a lot more effective in the traditional in-office environment where face-to-face interactions happen. It provides more opportunities for employees to mingle with their colleagues, develop in-person contacts, and form deeper bonds, trust, engagement, and loyalty.

Brainstorming frequently and discussing useful ideas during breaks and other informal conversations leads to better innovations and business decisions. Though many collaboration tools fill in this gap by providing a near face-to-face experience, many employees started suffering from meeting burnout hurting the teams’ communication and collaboration ability.

The flexible hybrid work model brings the best of both worlds. Employees can experience the benefits of a collaborative, in-person environment and have a better work-life balance. Offering a genuinely flexible digital workplace is a significant differentiator for companies to retain and draw the best talent in today’s competitive labor market. Trust, culture, infrastructure and proper tools make flexible hybrid work successful. Implementing a flexible hybrid work model requires careful analysis and patience. But once you implement it, it will pay off through better talent attraction, employee productivity, improved employee wellness, higher growth, and better cost savings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Flexible hybrid working is a term that is used to describe a work arrangement that allows employees to have some degree of control over when, where and how they work.

In a hybrid work model, considerations include flexible schedules, remote collaboration tools, and maintaining a balance between in-person and virtual interactions.

Managing a hybrid work model involves setting clear expectations, leveraging collaboration tools like Clariti for seamless communication, and fostering a culture of trust and accountability among team members.

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