Changes in any workplace are usually prompted by the results of an internal audit on business practices, processes, and procedures, implementing the use of new technology, a shift in customer values, or an overall rebrand or restructuring of the entire business. 

2020 also highlighted how workplaces change in response to a crisis. One of the workplace transformations we’ve seen more of in response to the COVID-19 crisis is the use of fully remote or hybrid work models. Managing a workplace change like this means redirecting the use of resources, ensuring employees are adequately supported out of the office, adjusting the company budget as needed, and ensuring your business procedures are all ready for the transition. 

Let’s dive into the details of a fully remote work model and a hybrid work model, the pros and cons of each, and how you can make the best decision for your company. 

Fully Remote Work Model 

What is it?

A fully remote work model allows all employees to work together remotely. There’s no office and no need to gather staff in person. In-person attendance may be required at occasional team meetings or company events, but the majority if not all employees perform their job duties in a remote location all of the time. 

What are the benefits?

In the wake of this pandemic, many people realized how valuable family time is and want more of that. Maybe they’ve noticed their productivity is much higher at home, so they’re looking for positions that accommodate this and are willing to leave those that don’t. Maybe you need a wider pool of talent. Implementing a fully remote work model can accommodate all of these new values and revelations. 

A fully remote work model offers:

  • Cost-effectiveness as you don’t have to pay for an actual building to house your employees and pay expenses associated with keeping the building running.

  • An ability to choose from a wider pool of talent and attract workers from all over the world that can help you achieve company goals.

  • Highly productive employees because their comfort and wellness are prioritized.

  • A sincere work-life balance that encourages employees to live a full family life while pursuing career passions.

  • Scheduling flexibility that doesn’t limit employees to working certain hours, they’re able to work the hours they’re most productive.

What are the challenges?

A fully remote work model isn’t just a matter of implementing certain software and/or technology and quality workers, high levels of production and collaboration just happen. You will first have to take a thorough look at your company’s workflows and restructure them to accommodate a fully remote work model. Transparency is imperative; all team workflows, projects, and individual responsibilities will need to visible. This ensures your company infrastructure remains intact and your customers cared for. 

You have to be diligent and intentional about:

  • How you’re going to track productivity.

  • How you’re going to inspire a collaborative company culture.

  • How you’re going to ensure your company is growing.

  • How you’re going to get every person to buy into a fully remote work model.

  • Designating team leaders, establishing clear goals, and forming daily objectives.

  • Prioritizing connection and ensuring everyone feels just as supported as they would if they were in office.

  • Navigating different timezones.

  • Coordinating days off and vacation times.

  • Ensuring employees have the “right” work from home environment and technology to thrive in their different positions.

  • Offering training or one on one time with management.

You also have to be careful because people may not know when to unplug, causing burnout and exhaustion that can ruin productivity. Ensuring staff is adequately supported emotionally can be difficult as well. Fully remote workers often report fighting loneliness, an increase in anxiety, depression, and other wellness concerns. 

Final thoughts

A fully remote team is most likely going to be part of a fully remote company, meaning most companies with this model started this way from the ground up. So, if you’re looking to transition to a fully remote work model make sure you’re aware of all the challenges associated with doing so and factor in the status of your company now before making the jump. 

Hybrid Work Model 

What is it?

A hybrid work model just means you work in the office some days and at home on others. You can have a centralized office and occasionally work from home. You can have a centralized office and work from anywhere in the world. 

Hybrid teams do have to report to an office location at some point during the week or month as expressed and laid out by the company. For example, employees work from home 2 days a week and report to the office for the other 3 days. 

Another branch of a hybrid work model is the split model. Split work models make it so some teams are in your company’s location while other teams reside as far as different countries. For example, your development team could be in India while your marketing team is based in your state. 

What are the benefits?

Many people are not taking jobs without the ability to work from home on occasion. People’s values have changed and companies need to accommodate them if they want to continue attracting top talent. 

A hybrid work model allows you to still interact with your staff face to face while giving them the flexibility that promotes a healthy work-life balance. It gives employees more control over their schedules and what works best for them to produce at a high level. Hybrid schedules are a good way to test whether remote work will work for your company without having to dive into a fully remote work model. 

A hybrid work model also offers:

  • Less emphasis on a challenging commute 

  • A benefit to share when recruiting new talent

  • A solution to employee burnout 

  • A break in weekly routines 

What are the challenges?

A hybrid work model can be a bit difficult to navigate when considering the effort it will take to ensure that in-office and remote workers are handled with the same care and feel just as valued as the other. Some employees cannot return to the office because of health issues, living with familiar members more susceptible to the virus, or simply because they do not feel safe returning just yet. It’ll be up to you to make sure these employees do not begin devaluing their roles and fearing a job loss because they can’t physically get there. 

In addition to ensuring the needs of both in-office and remote workers are met, you will be required to ensure your office adheres to the COVID-19 safety protocols laid out in your state. 

Co-working spaces can be dangerous because employees pass through them frequently, making it possible for the virus to linger. Frequent cleaning, social-distancing, and other safety protocols will need to be in place in the office to hinder the spread of COVID-19.

Final thoughts 

A hybrid work model is what most companies are experimenting with right now. It doesn’t require all of the things a fully remote work model needs and allows you to spend a little extra time deciding if remote work is right for your company. You can test, experiment, and implement changes on a more flexible basis.

So, Which One is Best for Your Company?

Whether you’ve returned to the office or not yet, remote work models are now more of a requirement than a luxury for any company. Instead of losing valuable employees because you weren’t able to accommodate their needs or having to lay employees off because you weren’t prepared to function remotely, explore implementing one of the above remote work models. 

The right work model is dependent on your business goals, your employee needs, and whether or not it will get you closer to the overall vision you have for your company.  

Before making any transition, ask yourself:

How much of my company’s work can be done remotely without compromising the quality care of customers, productivity, and wellness of my employees?