Best Hybrid Work Strategies: Success in the Post-Pandemic Corporate World

How to maximize productivity, employee satisfaction and the bottom line inside and outside of the office.

Niki Jorgensen //September 13, 2023//

Best Hybrid Work Strategies: Success in the Post-Pandemic Corporate World

How to maximize productivity, employee satisfaction and the bottom line inside and outside of the office.

Niki Jorgensen //September 13, 2023//

Three years after millions of Americans worked remotely for the first time, remote and hybrid work is a staple of the corporate world. Many businesses, including major corporations, offer hybrid schedules for their employees. According to 2023 data from McKinsey, 80 million Americans would rather participate in flexible work schedules if given the opportunity.

Nonetheless, some employers remain skeptical of the benefits of hybrid work, believing it harms productivity. Businesses that once embraced 100 % remote work are now reversing their policies and requiring employees to come into the office up to three days a week. Not only can abrupt policy changes lead some workers to quit, but they can also cause controversy if they roll back benefits employees have come to rely upon.

Businesses questioning remote work may first wish to reevaluate their policies. With a thoughtful and well-developed remote work policy, based on communication, remote and hybrid work models can flourish. Leaders who want to refine their policies should gather data, test pilot programs and communicate openly.

READ: Navigating the Post-Pandemic Workplace — Struggles, Solutions and the Return to Office Culture

Evaluate the impact on the bottom line

Business leaders first and foremost must understand the impact of remote work on the bottom line. Three years since the coronavirus pandemic led to unprecedented levels of remote work, many employees are accustomed to a hybrid or remote schedule. Rolling back remote work options can lead to backlash and implementation challenges. For that reason, if leaders want to make changes to their approach, they need to justify the costs, both financially and culturally. One way to do so is by using KPIs to develop their strategy. 

Every business should develop its own useful KPIs to measure the impact of remote work on their financial bottom line, but when assessing remote work, it is equally important to use KPIs to track the impact on organizational culture. Quarterly anonymous employee surveys can assess job satisfaction and sense of belonging, both of which support an engaging work culture and may be impacted by remote work. In addition, businesses can examine methods of tracking worker engagement to understand if remote work is hurting or helping. In a best-case scenario, businesses will have access to historical data from similar surveys so leaders can make a direct comparison with the pre-remote work era.

After gathering these KPIs, leaders should analyze trends in the data to understand how remote work affects their business. From there, they decide if their current strategy benefits the business and can develop a new strategy or explore additional data if needed. For example, should employees report dissatisfaction at work or poor work-life balance, then a more detailed, anonymous survey with long-form answers can help unpack why and how remote or hybrid work may play a role.

READ: Navigating the New Era of Employee Engagement — Everything You Need to Know

Test programs

After gathering data, leaders can synthesize these trends to shift remote work strategies and can implement pilot programs to test policy changes. A pilot program approach is not right for every organization but can offer practical insights hard data cannot. Nor do these pilot programs need to impact the entire organization. While in some cases, the entire business could take part in these pilot programs, departments or teams are also helpful testing grounds.

Through a pilot program, leaders can better understand the impact on the organization. For instance, moving from a mandatory rotating three days in the office, to a preset two days in the office. These changes may seem simple in theory, but in practice, every hybrid or remote model offers pros and cons, which may not become clear until the new model is already in place. This testing phase, based on hard data, is critical to understanding the impact on employees and on the business.

READ: Battling the “Data Wheel of Death” in Business Development

Communicate openly

Fundamentally, whatever work-from-home policy businesses choose to implement, they need to be transparent with employees. Workers may feel surprised or upset if they feel a policy change reduces their flexibility, so it is important to engage them in a conversation about why these changes are necessary.

That begins with making it clear to workers that their feelings about remote work matter and reflecting the sentiment by asking them regularly about their happiness with current policies. Then, should businesses decide to pilot a new program or change policies, workers should be informed well ahead of time, so they are not caught off guard.

Leaders also need to communicate the reasons why policies are being changed. Workers will feel most invested in changes to remote work when they feel the business has carefully considered the impact on them as individuals.

The bottom line

While remote and hybrid work strategies may not be right for every business, they can offer benefits such as increased work-life balance and employee retention. Leaders who feel the need to change current work-from-home policies should collect data, consider implementing a pilot program and communicate with employees frequently along the way, so they can identify the most effective policy for their business.

 

Niki JorgensenNiki Jorgensen is a managing director of client implementation with Insperity, a leading provider of human resources offering the most comprehensive suite of scalable HR solutions available in the marketplace. For more information about Insperity, call 800-465-3800 or visit www.insperity.com.