A 4-Part Framework for Hybrid Work
What’s better — working from home or working in an office? There’s no easy answer to this question. So much depends on the company, the role, and the individual employee’s preferences. This is why Udemy instructor and virtual team expert Hassan Osman believes the future of work is hybrid.
The hybrid work model combines the best aspects of 100% onsite and 100% remote work settings. We get the collaboration and spontaneous conversations when employees share the same physical space while also enjoying the productivity, flexibility, and cost savings of a remote setup.
In his course, Hybrid Work Management: How to Manage a Hybrid Team, Hassan offers a four-part framework for hybrid work. Keep reading for a sneak peek and some points to keep in mind at your organization.
What are the requirements for your team and your business? Understanding this is your first order of business. Keep in mind that there are two perspectives to consider, the job and the employee. These perspectives are separate but interrelated. Here’s how Hassan explains the distinction.
The job perspective includes:
- Customer & business requirements
The employee perspective includes both personal and career aspects such as:
- Work/life balance
- Career needs
“Many people tend to focus on the job perspective rather than the employee’s, but it’s important to factor in both,” says Hassan.
Once you’ve done your initial analysis, it’s time to think through what you’re going to do and how you will communicate it to your team in the planning stage.
In this stage, Hassan recommends thinking about both the operations and projects aspects of your team’s work. Here’s an overview of each.
Operations will be the central portion of your hybrid work plan. This includes:
- Typical, ongoing activities of running the business
- Tasks that produce the same product or service like financial reports or providing technical support
While projects won’t be as much of a focus, it’s still important to consider how they’ll impact your hybrid work plan. According to Hassan, projects:
- Are temporary
- Have a start and end date
- Create a new product, service, or result
- Are more flexible at the project team and workstream level — project leaders can decide on the best arrangement with their teams
- Tend to front-load onsite work early and rely on remote work more in later stages
“Ultimately, the goal is to maximize the benefits of both when the team is in the office and when they’re working from home,” says Hassan. He recommends thinking in terms of weekly, quarterly, annual, and special arrangements. For example, you might decide that it makes sense to have employees onsite twice a week or for one full week at the beginning of each quarter.
After implementing your hybrid model, you will spend most of your time managing and leading your hybrid team. Hassan offers several points to keep in mind to create the best possible experience for your hybrid team.
Ensure that all employees are treated fairly. One risk of the hybrid team is that it can create a two-tier system or inequitable employee experience. Employees who work onsite more often may get more facetime with their manager and might be more likely to be promoted, while remote employees may feel isolated and forgotten. “It’s really important to emphasize inclusion because potential leadership bias and favoritism can happen,” says Hassan. Remember that promotions and career advancement opportunities tend to be a top employee concern in hybrid teams.
One way to create an equitable and fair environment is to focus on a remote culture. Hassan recommends centralizing communication with repositories or communication tools. If you’re still using paper documents, this is an excellent opportunity to digitize.
Finally, be sure to focus on overcommunicating. Remote employees tend to be very siloed, which can lead to feelings of isolation. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to check in frequently with all your team members, especially remote ones.
After implementing and managing your hybrid model, it’s essential to figure out what’s working and not for your team. And you’ll still need to evaluate the performance of your team members even when you’re not working in the same office.
In a hybrid setting, it can be a little more challenging to discuss performance and job satisfaction. But, Hassan says, “There’s nothing special about hybrid teams other than where you do the work. The measures of productivity and satisfaction stay the same.” The main thing is to make sure you regularly check in with your team and have two-way feedback conversations.
Curious about what types of key performance indicators (KPIs) it makes sense to use with your hybrid team? Hassan shares several concrete examples in this webinar, which is available on demand.
Make hybrid work work for your team
You now have a basic framework for hybrid work at your organization. You’ll want to spend time understanding the needs of your company and team members, plan systems and schedules based on what you learn, try them out, and adjust as necessary. As with any significant change, you might not get it right on the first try, and that’s okay. What matters most is creating an open dialogue so you and your team can figure out what works best.
If you’d like to dive into any of these topics in more detail, be sure to check out the on-demand webinar where Hassan explains the framework and offers tips to make it work for your organization.