Hybrid working culture is becoming the norm, and for good reasons. Well, for starters, if you gave people an opportunity to meet their favorite colleagues half the time they work while staying away from their office adversaries for the rest of the week, it sounds like a pretty great deal. Meeting (or not meeting) colleagues in person isn’t the only reason people prefer a hybrid working culture. Some might feel that working from anywhere can give some room and independence, which all of us could use while working.
Although the scenarios above are hypothetical, it seems that the preference for a hybrid working culture wasn’t just a hypothesis. A study by Accenture found that 83% of 9,326 surveyed employees prefer a hybrid working culture, with at least 25% of the work being done remotely. The good news is that according to Forbes, 87% of business leaders are willing to offer more flexibility, with 72% aiming to implement a hybrid working model. But hybrid working culture may lead to several issues. Here are some, along with ways to tackle them.
Challenges related to operational cost may feel a little bit troublesome for companies who have been implementing WFH for quite some time. Virtually, most research suggest that working from home saves the company a substantial amount of money. With hybrid working culture, operational cost of running an office will be a thing again. However, challenges pertaining to operational cost can be overcome through budget planning. Business leaders can try to cut off spending on the use of space, facilities, or inefficient systems.
Hybrid working culture will definitely bring disruptions to the office culture. Whether company has been forced by the pandemic to implement WFH or insisted on implementing WFO, the mobility of employees will affect how its culture. When this happens, smart business leaders should preserve the good aspects of existing working culture while being open, transparent, empathetic, and communicative about the changes that may occur in the ways their business will be conducted.
Another obvious issue would be the challenges caused by the assignment of tasks and the availability of team members. There can also be problems of proximity bias, where favoritism tends to apply to on-site workers. To overcome these challenges, team leaders should strive to give each member equal opportunities to engage and have a sense of ownership in the work that the team does. Make sure that workers on both remote and office shifts alike are able to contribute well, and give credits regardless of the location they work from.
With changes in culture and teamwork dynamics, it is difficult to not imagine that performance will be affected by the implementation of hybrid working culture. Cultural shock, unequal task delegation, and low level of reward can be unintended effects of hybrid working culture implementation, and this could lead employees to a state of being demotivated. In such case, it is important for business leaders to have a business plan that supports and empowers everyone who will be unavoidably affected by the new working model.
Last but not least, hybrid working culture will bring technological disruptions. Many companies have invested a lot on building and sustaining working infrastructure in either the WFH or WFO model. A hybrid working model will require business managers to think of ways to distribute the investment and combat possible technological challenges that may occur. A solution to this problem would be to collaborate with reliable technological providers so that tech-related hiccups that may arise in a hybrid working culture can be minimized.
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