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First, let’s define exactly what “hybrid” means and what flexibility is possible for your employees. To answer this question, it is useful to systematically assess jobs across the five dimensions (4W1H) of flexible work, namely location and infrastructure (where), hours and scheduling (when), scaling and technology (how), job content and sharing (what), and automation and alternative workforce (who).
Typically, an organisation embraces more than one hybrid working mode, be it two, three or four work-from-home days per week or rigid versus flexible work hours within a day. And it is important to align the characteristics of different workforce segments to different hybrid modes.
Once the specifics of the hybrid modes and “workforce personas” are mapped out and clearly defined, you can start to make adjustments in the employee policies based on the specific traits of each profile. To drive sustainable execution though, it takes more than just well-thought-through policies. It is just as critical to set up the necessary infrastructure such as a remote workplace, virtual collaboration technology and means to maintain social connectedness despite physical separation.
You should also consider how the new policies influence your other people programs and HR practices. For example, do you still manage performance the same way? Anxious line managers may want more productivity measures to track progress if they cannot see their staff. How do you calculate over-time pay if you allow flexible working hours within a day? Will some workforce segments perceive the assignment of hybrid modes as unfair (e.g. why can she work from home while I cannot)? There are plenty of practicalities to work through.
Despite these challenges, our experience tells us that a hybrid work model can be successfully implemented if you have strong leadership sponsorship, sufficient employee communication and training, and careful change management. Good luck with the implementation of your hybrid work model!