Many of us love the comfort and lack of a commute working from home affords, not to mention the much comfier work attire. However, being separated from our peers can make it easy to feel isolated and alone at your job. It can be difficult to maintain good relationships with colleagues and have effective communication when everything turns into a chat online. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a middle ground between working remotely and working in the office?
Enter the hybrid office.
This innovative model for the workplace combines working in a physical office with working from home through digital tools. The hybrid office takes advantage of the benefits of both methods to maximize productivity and continue to support company culture and team mentality.
In this blog, we’ll dive into the concept of the hybrid office, exploring its rapid rise and popularity, and the benefits and potential drawbacks of this model. We also offer some tips on how to ensure that you thrive—not just survive—in the world of the hybrid office.
Here at Fully Accountable, we’re dedicated to serving ecommerce and tech companies throughout the United States and Canada. Our digital accountants go beyond basic bookkeeping to uncover insights and increase your growth. We offer outsourced ecommerce accounting and fractional CFO services to help you make the right business decisions.
WHAT IS A HYBRID OFFICE?
In the last year or so, most of us have heard the phrase “hybrid office,” but do we know exactly what that means? A hybrid office refers to a workplace that combines employees working in the physical office while other employees work at home or abroad and the ability of a team member to take advantage of both..
The strength of the hybrid workspace model lies in the flexibility it provides. Each hybrid office is unique, and uses different rotations to balance working from home and the office.
WHAT HAS CAUSED THE RISE OF THE HYBRID OFFICE?
It’s easy to simply point to the recent COVID-19 pandemic as the sole cause for the sudden increase in hybrid offices. But hybrid offices and the remote model have been around for much longer than most people think.
Over recent years, companies have leaned more and more on digital tools and technologies, allowing them to rethink the conventional office space. Digital communication tools (think Slack or Zoom) have enabled us to host meetings from anywhere in the world. Collaborative tools (think Google docs) allow us to work on projects with coworkers without being crammed into a meeting room. While these tools and technologies have been around for some time now, their value has been recently highlighted by the global pandemic.
In addition to the pandemic and digital technologies, global trade has also called for a reimagining of how and where we work. More and more companies are tapping into global markets, which requires digital communication tools, and a more global workforce.
Previously, companies had limited their talent pool by only looking for team members in the surrounding market that the company headquarters was located. When the expansion to global markets grew, the need for talent in those markets also rose. By having a remote model, a company can hire the best talent for the position regardless of where the company’s corporate headquarters are located. This has expanded the workforce and allowed people to work for companies all over the world from anywhere. Additionally, this has allowed companies to hire the best person for the job, not just the best person locally.,
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE HYBRID OFFICE MODEL?
While some companies have struggled to transition to the hybrid office or work-from-home model, others are capitalizing on the shift. Everyone loves avoiding rush hour traffic, but there are many other benefits to considering the hybrid office model.
Here are some of the benefits:
1. Work-Life balance.
Work life balance ranks as one of the top things people look for in a job. Hybrid working enables your workforce to keep create a work life balance through maximizing time and owning their schedule for work and family life. There is time for focused work, decision-making, intense meetings, or workshop sessions, but also for spending time with family, helping the kids with homework, walking the dog, or taking that yoga class. You give employees the responsibility to make the best use of their own talents and particularities. And in that sense, you invest not only in trust and loyal employees, but also indirectly in efficiency and results. Additionally, people lose time every day when they’re in the car or train commuting to work. When enabling partial working from home in a hybrid work model, you instantly make up for that lost time. Employees then can work whenever and wherever suits them best. By offering the option for hybrid working, you show your concern about the well-being of your workforce and invest in a stronger company culture.
2. Overhead costs.
For years, the overhead cost of financing a place to work has been an inevitable overhead cost for business owners. There simply wasn’t much of a way around renting an office space for your employees. However, with the advent of digital communication technologies, this inevitability is quickly fading.
Flexibility and adaptability are key to success for any industry. A hybrid office allows you to adapt to an evolving business environment and respond more effectively when disruptive events (like COVID-19) inevitably strike. It also encourages businesses to take advantage of outsourced services, such as a fractional CFO, that can make your processes even more efficient.
WHAT ARE THE DRAWBACKS OF THE HYBRID OFFICE MODEL?
Here are some potential drawbacks of the hybrid office:
There’s no way around it. Hybrid offices don’t feel as transparent as an office does. You miss the personalities of upper management, observing the temperature of the office, and you lose simple quick conversations to “catch up” that create a type of transparency for team members. While digital tools have come a long way in bridging the communication gap, you still can’t replicate the convenience of talking to someone just a few feet or cubicles away. In fact, studies show that, even in the age of digital communication, there are clear benefits of face-to-face communication. Not having this transparency and what feels like more limited communication can leave team members guessing on what is going on and they will fill in the blanks on corporate items that typically never would have because they aren’t getting the same transparency as they did in the office when working remotely.
An office place where the team meets and lives each day creates a community for the team. With the removal of an office, the community aspect of a team begins to diminish. It’s easier for team members to feel isolated when working from home or in a hybrid office. Even though we may enjoy the peace and quiet, over time, most of us do miss the in-person interactions and ability to quickly collaborate and share with others.
Like a well-oiled machine, the most effective and productive offices are those that work with cohesion and collaboration. Working cohesively is more than just divvying up a project between team members, but rather, highlighting the strengths of each individual and putting them to effective use. This feeling of cohesion can quickly dissipate if team members are spread across the physical office and digital spaces.
HOW TO THRIVE—NOT JUST SURVIVE—IN A HYBRID OFFICE ENVIRONMENT
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, countless companies were forced to shift to a hybrid office (or 100 percent work-from-home model) practically overnight. Any business owner or manager will tell you that sudden overhauls like these aren’t easy. Many companies struggled—and still struggle—to adapt to the hybrid office model. But there are ways that you can thrive—not just survive—in this new workplace environment.
In addition to working with outsourced accounting services, here are a few tips for continuing to grow in the age of the hybrid office:
- Invest in the top digital tools and technology.
- Set time aside for new training.
- Make video mandatory on any Virtual meeting
- Try to combine both virtual meetings and chat into your workflow
- Be clear about expectations and develop clear objective measurables so team members can evaluate their performance
- Listen to your employees, their needs and concerns, when designing your hybrid office and continually seek feedback from the team
- Encourage employees to stick to a routine
- Be transparent about decisions when it comes to determining who works at home and who works in the office.
THRIVING IN THE AGE OF HYBRID OFFICES
COVID proved the business world is in a state of constant flux and businesses have to be prepared for anything. Companies must continue to change and adapt to meet the needs of evolving work space models. While globalism and digital tools and technologies gradually shaped how offices functioned over the last few decades, the COVID-19 pandemic flipped entire industries on their heads within a matter of weeks. If digital technologies signaled a change in the air, COVID-19 was a hurricane.
But that doesn’t mean you need to get blown away by this hurricane. By recognizing the benefits of the hybrid office model, you can potentially grow your business and save on overhead costs. The hybrid office promotes the benefits of fractional employees, like a fractional CFO, who can make your business more efficient and profitable.
At Fully Accountable, we’re here to help your business grow—no matter the size of your workforce or the model of your workplace. We simply want to help your business have its best fiscal year to date.
Together, we can change your business for the better!