Hybrid Work – What Now?

woman at home holding a dog looking at a computer screen

How should we think about hybrid work going forward? Is sticking with how things are now the best choice? Is this "new normal" truly the best for us? Regardless of where you are in the thought process, there are several things to consider when deliberating where employees should actually work in the future – let's explore together!

The debate surrounding hybrid work has likely persisted since the pandemic began to recede. Some workplaces have moved away from remote work and prefer their employees to work from the office more days per week than before. At the same time, many, both employees and job seekers, value the opportunity for remote work highly.

For example, in a survey by A Great Place to Work conducted in 2023 (in Swedish), 8 out of 10 participants stated that they perceive employers offering remote work as more attractive. And, many seem to enjoy remote work – a whopping 9 out of 10 of those surveyed who worked remotely (either entirely or partially) wanted to continue doing so. In another survey conducted by Akavia in September 2022 (in Swedish), they looked at how job seekers view the opportunity to work remotely. Here, three out of four responded that it is likely that they would not apply for a position where they do not have the opportunity to work remotely, either fully or partially.

At the same time, there's also talk about the disadvantages of remote work: In the survey by A Great Place to Work, for example, 33% of remote workers felt that their camaraderie with colleagues had deteriorated, and The Economist reported on a recently conducted study showing that the productivity of employees working from home was 18% lower than that of those working in the office.

Whether one becomes more productive in the office or not naturally varies from person to person – even opinions about deteriorating camaraderie vary. As a manager, you may find it harder to lead your colleagues remotely and would rather see them in the office more days. Some prefer to work from home more, while others feel that the sense of connection diminishes when the colleagues are spread out. And some employees feel they get more done remotely, while others find they are most effective in the workplace. So, how do you effectively address everyone's preferences when everyone's opinions are so different?

Arriving at the Right Hybrid Solution

Some who have researched remote work are Kristina Palm and Gisela Bäcklander from Karolinska Institutet and Calle Rosengren from Lund University. On Suntarbetsliv, they share their insights and provide tips (in Swedish) on how organizations can discuss remote work constructively by answering a series of questions. They argue that it's essential to look at remote work from different perspectives – the organization’s, the employees’, and the managers’.

Here are some points that can be used to start a conversation about which solutions fit your organization:

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of working remotely – don't forget to consider the different perspectives (organization, employees, managers). Also, ask yourself how your collaboration is affected by remote work.

Then, do the same thing again, this time focusing on working in the office.

Repeat the discussion but with a focus on a hybrid solution.

By discussing the pros and cons of the different solutions and considering different perspectives, you can better understand what works best in the long run for your organization. It’s a win-win – you gain greater insight into what is most beneficial for employee well-being and if it aligns with the organization's needs.

Here are more questions and a guide to download (in Swedish), tailored for group discussions and discussions between managers and leadership.

Making Hybrid Work Flow – 4 Tips

  1. Establish clear guidelines for hybrid work

    Regardless of the solution you arrive at, it can be wise to establish a policy for hybrid work to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings. A hybrid work policy should primarily include information about when and how much it is allowed to work from home. It can also clarify if there are times when employees should be in the office and specify how remote communication should occur.

    2. Monitor the working environment

    According to the Work Environment Act, the employer is responsible for the working environment during remote work. Still, both the employer and the employees should collaborate for a good working environment. In other words, if your employees experience problems with the home working environment, they should notify you as the employer so that you can address the issue.

    3. Self-leadership – a key to successful hybrid teams

    Self-leadership involves taking greater responsibility for directing one's own work and development. For the organization, self-leadership can be a crucial foundation for well-functioning remote work as employees learn to lead themselves to a greater extent. Moreover, it can increase motivation, engagement, and performance among employees. Not bad, right?

    Read more about how to get started with self-leadership in the workplace.

    4. Ensure a seamless onboarding process

    Did you know that a well-planned introduction of new employees increases the likelihood that they will stay for at least three years by 69 percent? Or that it can increase the new hire's productivity by as much as 50 percent? When colleagues are spread out, onboarding becomes even more critical to warmly welcome new employees. Start early with the introduction, keep the dialogue going from when the employment contract is signed, and ensure that there are days when everyone is in the office so that the new colleague can get to know both colleagues and the company culture.

    Read our tips on how to achieve a successful onboarding.

Are you longing for digital tools that facilitate hybrid work?

Do you want complete control over times and schedules wherever you are? Delegate tasks with a single click while keeping track of all deadlines? Flex HRM gathers all critical information for managers and employees in one place. With digital staff appraisals, you, as a manager, can also conduct regular follow-ups and get an overview of how the work is progressing and how the employees are doing.

Curious to hear more about Flex HRM? You’re welcome to contact us!

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