This blog explores the benefits and challenges of a hybrid workforce, as well as the best practices to be followed to run a hybrid workforce effectively.
One of the most important shifts in the professional world is that more businesses are adopting a hybrid work model. Over the next few years, more jobs will go fully remote, hence further increasing the percentage of companies that adopt this model.
Here are some statistics reported on the state of hybrid workforces in the USA in 2023:
- Around 12.7% of full-time employees work remotely, 28.2% work in a hybrid model, and 59.1% operate out of an office
- By 2025, it is estimated that 32.6 million Americans will work remotely
- The hybrid model has an impact on earnings. On average, remote workers, in-office workers, and hybrid workers drew a salary of $74,000, $55,000, and $80,000, respectively.
- 32% of hybrid workers would consider a pay cut to work fully remotely, prioritizing flexibility and autonomy.
In such a scenario, companies must build a strong strategy to run a hybrid workforce more efficiently and make it a rewarding proposition for employees.
In this blog, we explore the challenges and best practices associated with hybrid workforces.
Table of Contents:
- What is a Hybrid Workforce?
- Benefits of a Hybrid Workforce
- Key Challenges of a Distributed Workforce
- Top 4 Effective Hybrid Workforce Strategies
- Final Thoughts
What is a Hybrid Workforce?
A hybrid workforce is one where employees have the flexibility of working onsite, as well as remotely, based on their preferences and personal schedules. Companies have specific guidelines about an employee’s work schedule. For instance, they may need to report several days of the week or month to the office while working from home the rest of the week or month.
Alternatively, some employees may choose to be fully remote or fully operating from the office. The schedules may vary, though they must serve the needs of both employees and employers to be effective.
Also known as a distributed workforce, the rules of hybrid teams continue to evolve based on factors such as market demands and real-time employee needs.
Benefits of a Hybrid Workforce
Here’s a snapshot of the key advantages of this model:
1. For Businesses
- An opportunity to cut real estate and operating costs
- Hire talented employees who seek workplace flexibility
- Pay less for cloud-based technology solutions than on-premise technology
2. For Employees
- Achieve a balanced work-life alignment
- Pursue professional interest and a progressive career track with a good company
- Saving on commute and food costs
Key Challenges of a Distributed Workforce
Despite the benefits, companies may be unable to optimize operations and capitalize on the advantages. Here is a list of key challenges:
1. Poor Team Collaboration
The diverse schedules and work arrangements of team members bring with them collaboration challenges. A national and international geographical footprint adds another layer of complexity. Miscommunication, delays in timelines, errors, and lowered remote team productivity in projects are outcomes with negative consequences on business goals.
2. No Standardized Processes
Another common fallout is the lack of standardized processes for hiring, onboarding new employees, tracking employee success, training programs, and appraisals. HR teams also continue to use manual interventions to bridge gaps, which consume bandwidth and lack efficiency.
3. Lack of Hybrid Culture Mindset
Most full-time employees understand the expectations associated with a full-time role – from office timings and key deliverables to reporting structures and communication guidelines. However, the lines start blurring in a hybrid context due to a lack of preparedness for its unique challenges and solutions.
4. Irrelevant Tech Stack
Companies end up using multiple apps to support customer service management, communication, project management, and training platforms. However, these various tools may not be speaking to each other seamlessly. Errors, duplication, and data leakage are some consequences that disrupt projects.
5. Outdated Skills = Low Productivity
Training the workforce is one of the most important activities for any business to stay relevant. However, companies struggle with designing effective training programs to address the diversity of hybrid teams. Companies must seamlessly shift from an onsite instructor-led model to a strategically designed, data-driven, ongoing tech-enabled training framework.
6. Security Issues
As more employees start taking work home, there is a greater potential for data breaches and cyber-attacks. Companies may not have adequate guidelines and security measures in place, which makes them vulnerable. Alternatively, employees may not be aware of important protocols they must follow to optimize security.
Top 4 Effective Hybrid Workforce Strategies
Distributed team management becomes streamlined with these best practices:
1. Setting Clear Expectations
Hybrid leadership teams must outline clear guidelines to help every employee navigate the hybrid framework more effectively. Employees need clarity on job roles, reporting structures, remote team collaboration, technology, and security protocols, as well as communication guidelines.
New hires must get access to all guidelines as part of the onboarding process. Setting clear guidelines builds a supportive, productive hybrid work environment.
2. Leveraging the Right Tools
Businesses must proactively build a coherent technology stack that enables all processes to run smoothly. For instance, managing virtual teams becomes simple when all business activities can be run from a single, unified platform, such as using a cloud-based, Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered enterprise solution. Core activities include training, onboarding of new hires, and team communication.
3. Designing Standardized Processes
Businesses must standardize all processes to be equally effective in remote and onsite contexts. For instance, when a new employee joins the business, a well-designed, automated onboarding process must be agnostic of geography, time zones, and human intervention. Standardized processes enable employees to enjoy a uniform experience.
4. Building a Hybrid Team Training Framework
Ongoing, sustainable training is an important aspect of employee engagement, skill development, and growth. In turn, businesses benefit from a highly productive workforce with relevant, market-ready skills.
Designing a growth path for every employee is equally important to bring down attrition rates and nurture a leadership pipeline for the future.
Leading a hybrid team’s training becomes simplified with a cloud-based, AI-powered Learning Management System (LMS), which makes training cost-effective and impactful.
Hybrid workforces need access to the right tech-enabled solutions, which allow teams to automate and standardize processes and communicate and collaborate more effectively.
As teams have such unique needs, businesses can partner with a technology specialist to identify the best tech-enabled hybrid work solutions for their unique needs.
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