Implementing Hybrid Working A Guide for Best Practice

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Implementing Hybrid Working A Guide for Best Practice

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that remote work is feasible and often preferable. Research indicates that employees often concentrate better at home and gain more personal time by eliminating long commutes. However, the value of in-person collaboration has also become evident. Remote work offers focus and flexibility, while the office provides essential social interaction and teamwork. With hybrid work, you don't have to choose between the two; you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

As you shift from a fully in-office setup to a hybrid working model, your company and its staff will embark on a transformative journey towards a more adaptable and productive work environment. Embracing hybrid working is not just a response to the changing needs of your workforce but a strategic move to enhance your company's competitive edge. This guide explains the best practices for implementing a hybrid working model, ensuring a seamless and successful transition for all stakeholders.


The Hybrid Work Model One of Three Models:

  • Fully Remote working is a model that allows employees to work entirely from locations outside the traditional office, leveraging digital tools for communication and collaboration.
  • An in-office working model requires employees to work from a designated location with all other employees.
  • A hybrid working model is a flexible work model that combines both in-office and remote work. It allows employees to split their time between working from a designated office space and working from a remote location, such as their home or another suitable environment.


Common Types Of Hybrid Work Schedules:

1. Cohort schedules:

Cohort schedules are the most structured hybrid work approach. In this format, everyone follows one common rule set by their manager or the company. For example, everyone at the company works in the office on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the option to work from home Wednesday through Friday.

Here are a few popular types of cohort schedules:

  • 3:2 model: Employees spend three days in the office and two days at home. This hybrid work policy is easy to coordinate and allows everyone to be in the office on the same days of the week. There's at least one drawback, though—the 3:2 model doesn't allow companies to downsize their office space, so it can be expensive.
  • Bottom-up model: The company lets individual teams decide which days to be in the office. They set a goal (e.g. two days in-office per week) and let each team decide what works best for them. The bottom-up model allows teams to work together to determine what office schedule is optimal for everyone—and since different teams are in the office on different days, you can downsize your office space. A potential downside to this method is that it's harder to get cross-functional teams in the office on the same day.
  • Staggered schedules: This hybrid model doesn't just specify the days employees should come in—it also determines what time they should come in, down to the exact hour of arrival and departure. Staggered schedules are the most rigid cohort schedules and are best for shift-driven work. For example, a doctor's office might use staggered schedules to ensure there's enough staff available throughout the day. This would allow doctors to see patients virtually on work-from-home days while ensuring sufficient in-office coverage.

2. Flexible schedules:

Flexible schedules enable employees to work from home and come into the office when needed.

  • Flexi-place: This hybrid model allows individual team members to decide where to work on a given day. It's similar to the bottom-up method, but the decision-making power lies with individuals instead of whole teams. If you want to downsize your office, flexi-pace schedules can still work if you have a desk-booking system.
  • Flexi-time: This model allows team members to choose their hours. For example, on work-from-home days, team members could work from 8am to noon, run errands, and then log back on from 3pm to 7pm. You can also combine flexi-time with flexi-place schedules or cohort schedules to provide even more flexibility for your employees.

(Source: Asana)


The Benefits Of Hybrid Working

The more common benefits of hybrid working models are:

1. Enhanced Productivity: 

A study by the University of Birmingham indicates that 59.5% of managers agree that productivity increases when employees work from home. This is attributed to employees having more focused time at work and the well-being of feeling more in control of their personal lives.

2. Cost Savings: 

Companies save on office expenses, including cleaning, security and real estate costs. Employees save on commuting, wardrobe and food expenses. These savings contribute to higher job satisfaction and retention rates.

3. Talent Attraction and Retention:

A flexible work model is highly attractive to top talent, mainly working women. According to a study, The RecruitMyMom Working Women Report, most women prefer hybrid working over remote and in-office only working, highlighting its importance in fostering a gender-diverse and inclusive workplace.

4. Increased Flexibility and Work-Life Integration:

Employees can better manage their personal and professional lives, reducing stress and increasing job satisfaction. This does not mean less productivity at work; it enables a blending of work and non-work.

Here Are Several Less Obvious Advantages Of Hybrid Working: 

5. Enhanced Talent Pool Diversity:

Hybrid working allows companies to tap into a broader, more diverse talent pool. By not being confined to a specific geographical location, organisations can attract and hire individuals with varied backgrounds, perspectives, and skills, fostering innovation and creativity.

6. Reduced Carbon Footprint:

With fewer employees commuting daily, hybrid working reduces greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller carbon footprint. This environmental benefit aligns with corporate social responsibility goals and appeals to environmentally conscious employees and customers.

7. Improved Health and Well-being:

The hybrid model can lead to better mental and physical health for employees. Reduced commuting time decreases stress and fatigue, while the flexibility to work from home allows for a more personalised and comfortable work environment, promoting overall well-being.

8. Enhanced Innovation and Creativity:

The hybrid model encourages a blend of in-person and remote interactions, which can stimulate different types of collaboration and brainstorming sessions. This variety in talent and interaction methods can lead to more innovative ideas and solutions.

9. Better Crisis Management:

Having a hybrid model in place equips organisations with the flexibility to adapt swiftly to unforeseen events or crises, such as natural disasters or pandemics, ensuring continuity of operations with minimal disruption.

10. Enhanced Employer Branding:

Offering a hybrid working model can enhance a company's reputation as a progressive and flexible employer. This can be a significant advantage in attracting top talent and retaining current employees who value flexibility.

11. Greater Focus on Productivity and Impact Over Hours:

The hybrid model often shifts the focus from hours worked to outcomes achieved. This performance-based approach will lead to higher efficiency and more meaningful work, as employees are measured on their productivity and results rather than the time spent at their desks.


The Negatives Of Hybrid Working

1. Potential Communication Gaps: 

Remote work can lead to team miscommunication and feelings of isolation without proper tools and planning. These can be overcome with intent and buy-in from all employees. Changes in processes and communication tools may require hiring a change manager to smooth the process for employees and managers.

2. Management Challenges: 

Supervising a hybrid team requires different skills and approaches to ensure all team members are engaged and productive. Clearly communicating and creating a cohesive, collaborative team is vital. These soft skills are often associated with women managers, making them invaluable to a team.

3. Connectivity and Technology Dependency: 
Reliable internet and power connectivity, technology, and robust IT support are critical to preventing work disruptions.


5 Best Practices For Implementing Hybrid Working

1. Assess Office and Desk Requirements:

  • Flexible Workspace Design: Convert your office space to support a hot-desking system, where desks are not assigned to specific employees but used on a first-come, first-served basis. This maximises space utilisation and reduces costs.
  • Booking Systems: Implement a desk booking system to help employees reserve their workspaces in advance, ensuring everyone has a place to work on in-office days.
  • Collaboration Areas: Designate areas for team collaboration and meetings equipped with the necessary technology to support hybrid meetings (e.g., video conferencing tools).

2. Clear Communication and Policy Development:

  • Hybrid Work Policy: Draft a comprehensive hybrid work policy that outlines expectations for all employees, including the number of remote workdays, availability hours, and performance metrics.
  • Transparent Communication: Announce the transition through a company-wide meeting, followed by detailed emails and FAQs to address any immediate concerns. Ensure senior management fully buys into the transition and upholds the new work policies.
  • Regular Updates: Provide regular updates and create an open channel for feedback to continuously improve the hybrid work model.

3. Technology and Tools:

  • Equip Employees: Ensure all employees have the necessary equipment for remote work, including laptops, headsets, power backup and reliable internet connections.
  • Collaboration Tools: Invest in robust collaboration tools such as Slack Google Business, and project management software like Trello or Asana to facilitate seamless communication and project tracking.
  • IT Support: Offer comprehensive IT support to address technical issues promptly.

4. Foster a Collaborative Culture:

  • Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular one-on-one and team meetings to maintain connection and address any challenges.
  • Virtual Team-Building: Organise virtual team-building activities to strengthen relationships and morale among remote employees.
  • Inclusion and Fairness: Involve HR early to ensure that all employees, regardless of their work location, have equal access to management, development opportunities, resources, and information.

5. Monitor and Adjust:

  • Feedback Mechanisms: Regularly survey employees to gather feedback on the hybrid working model and make necessary adjustments.
  • Performance Tracking: Use performance metrics to assess productivity and address any declines promptly.


Implementing The Hybrid Model:

Four-Step Hybrid Working Implementation Plan:

1. Planning Phase:

  • Fully interrogate the business advantage of moving to a hybrid working model. The advantages will keep you focused on moving forward.
  • Conduct a survey to understand employee preferences and concerns.
  • Evaluate the technological needs and office redesign requirements.
  • Develop the hybrid work policy and guidelines.

2. Communication Phase:

  • Announce the transition plan and timeline.
  • Hold informational sessions to explain the new model and address questions.
  • Distribute a hybrid work policy document to all employees.

3. Execution Phase:

  • Redesign office space and implement hot-desking and booking systems.
  • Equip employees with necessary tools and provide training on new collaboration software.
  • Start with a pilot program to test the model and gather initial feedback.

4. Evaluation Phase:

  • Continuously monitor the effectiveness of the hybrid model through regular check-ins and feedback surveys.
  • Adjust policies and practices based on feedback and performance data.


Transitioning to a hybrid working model is a strategic move that aligns with the preferences of today's workforce, particularly most working women who value this flexibility. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages for the company and its employees. While there are challenges in transitioning to hybrid working, with careful planning and execution, you can create a hybrid work environment that significantly benefits all stakeholders.

At RecruitMyMom, we recruit skilled career moms seeking permanent and contract freelance work, as well as remote, hybrid, and in-office jobs. To understand more about Working women in South Africa, download the full Working Women report.