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How Companies Are Responding to the Hybrid Work Environment


Key Takeaways

Jonathan Selby - Founder Shield
Jonathan Selby

General Manager

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way many of us think about work. Employees and employers were forced to undergo a massive transformation in the blink of an eye — but what about now? Let’s examine the forces that have fused careers and remote work into a common theme in 2020 (and beyond). Regarding hybrid work schedules, how have companies changed their approach to retaining top-tier talent? 

Saying Goodbye to Nine-to-Five

When the world celebrated New Year’s at the start of 2020, no one imagined what the next several months would bring. Companies launched new corporate roadmaps, individuals planned vacations, and kids enrolled in extracurricular activities. And then, it all changed in a flash.

Before we could say “coronavirus,” many of us were driving home, with our workstations in the backseat of our cars. For months, nearly half of the US labor force was working from home. According to the stats, this country is now known as a work-from-home economy. Twice as many employees are working remotely than in-office. 

While we were busy kissing the nine-to-five lifestyle goodbye and learning how to juggle multiple roles, many employees realized they didn’t want to return to the office. Losing top talent wasn’t something companies wanted to endure, so some first-movers made ground-breaking decisions to adopt hybrid work schedules. 

Understanding How We Work Now 

Although remote work has become more prevalent in recent years, 2020 undoubtedly sped up society’s mindset reset about the idea. Almost seven in ten employees — full- or part-time — still work remotely. Many of America’s workforce would rather not return to in-office work. So, is this how we can expect to work from now on? The short answer is yes, for some.

Fortunately for those employees who favor remote work, hybrid and flexible schedules are here to stay. And these new work schedules come in many shapes and sizes. Some companies permit their teams to work remotely for part of the week and in-office for the rest. Other businesses only meet in-office at the beginning of a project and carry out the remainder of the process at home. 

How Companies Respond to Hybrid Work 

Gone are the days where it was the boss’s way or the highway. When employees expressed their interest in remote work, many companies responded positively. As mentioned earlier, these first-movers are leading the remote work revolution. 

For example, Twitter and Square’s dual CEO, Jack Dorsey, told all of his employees that they could work from home “forever.” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, followed suit. Keep in mind that some companies initiated a pay cut for those employees who moved from areas with higher living costs (i.e., San Francisco) to a lower-cost location.

Most companies are well aware of the technological advances that spur the remote work movement. Google, Zoom, and other platforms make connecting effortless. Plus, office space is expensive, so it’s desirable not to foot that bill. Sure, there’s a learning curve for most teams — but it’s working.

Why Hybrid Work Actually Works

Many company leaders tend to think that remote work will carve away their operation’s productivity and profitability. And in some cases, that scenario might be true. However, that mindset is quickly changing. Here are a few reasons why hybrid work is working.

Retaining Top Talent

According to a recent Bloomberg survey, nearly 40% of employees would consider quitting their jobs if they were forced to give up their work-from-home status. So, companies must face the music and decide if they’re willing to potentially lose top talent over a work schedule. Most management teams would rather create hybrid schedules to retain top talent instead of losing those valued individuals to a more hybrid-friendly employer. 

Enjoying Multiple Benefits 

Aside from keeping your best people around, many companies are enjoying not having to provide office space. Even when employees come into the office a few days a week, employees can share workspaces. Plus, most employees are grateful for their new hybrid schedules because it eliminates their commute. Lastly, many remote workers experience less disruption than in-office employees. While that might sound far-fetched based on the challenges of working from home during 2020, it’s truer when life is pandemic-free.

Encouraging Momentum

Taking care of personal business used to mean pausing all work productivity. Employees who must remain on-site during a traditional nine-to-five workday typically request personal or sick days to attend to personal matters. Naturally, this is a significant interruption to an employee’s work/life balance. However, flexible schedules allow workers to juggle home and work more savvily. 

Tackling the Downsides of Hybrid Work 

As with most things in life, pros and cons usually come hand in hand. Hybrid work isn’t any different. Some teams with hybrid or flexible work schedules experience a decrease in team dynamics. It only makes sense since employees might be separated by miles or even countries instead of merely cubicle walls. Finding comradery can be tricky through a computer screen. 

On that same note, some team members feel lonely or left out while working from home. We’re social creatures, and working alone can get tough. However, many companies are discovering solutions to these downsides. 

Keys to Making Hybrid Schedules Successful

It takes more than Slack or Zoom to make remote work teams successful. Regular processes will need updating, and adjustments will need to be made. For example, onboarding will look different when hiring new employees to work hybrid schedules. The onboarding process should take longer; otherwise employees won’t feel connected. They might even look for another job. 

IT Teams

Additionally, if you’re going to depend more on technology to connect your workforce, it’s necessary to cut the tech people a break. Their jobs are about to become more challenging and time-consuming, so keep that in mind when technical issues arise. 

Regular Check-ins

Be sure to make your expectations clear. Employees must know what their responsibilities are no matter where they work, in-office or remote. Use those popular platforms like Zoom or Slack to do regular check-ins with your team to make sure everyone is on the same page. 

EPL Insurance

Lastly, know your limitations, and remember that no company is invincible. Invest in employment practices liability (EPL) insurance to protect against lawsuits related to employment practices. Even though your employees aren’t in the office all the time now, allegations such as discrimination, breach of contract, or wrongful termination could still surface. 

Understanding the details of what coverage your company needs can be a confusing process. Founder Shield specializes in knowing the risks your industry faces to make sure you have adequate protection. Feel free to reach out to us, and we’ll walk you through the process of finding the right policy for you. 

Want to know more about EPL insurance? Talk to us! You can contact us at ​info@foundershield.com​ or create an account ​here​ to get started on a quote.

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