Why Hybrid Work is Here to Stay For Software Companies
Updated: Jul 8, 2022
As workplaces start to reopen in a post-pandemic world, organizations are struggling to get their workforce to office. Those who have started working remotely due to COVID-19, overwhelmingly support it and want to continue doing so. Software Companies cannot just operate remotely, but also can’t ask their employees to come back to the office, completely. And, the solution that has emerged out of this is the “Hybrid Model.”
Hybrid work basically means a mix of remote work and work-at-office format. The hybrid model works differently for different organizations. Some companies might allow every employee the flexibility to work on-site and remotely during the week. Other companies might have employees working either full-time remote or full-time on-site and others might allow a combo of the two.
Well, the daily reality of juggling two workspaces could prove frustrating for Software Workers. Of course, some people may believe that these are inconveniences worth putting up with. But others – particularly younger workers with poor home-working set-ups – may well feel that the office is a better place for them to be productive. And, some workers may feel like they genuinely collaborate more, get more done and come up with better ideas when they’re able to communicate physically with their colleagues, especially when they’re just a chair away. So, even if an employer offers remote-work days, some people may come in on more days than those mandated by the company.
Popular Hybrid Work Structures
Office-First, Remote Allowed
The easiest solution isn’t always the best. The hybrid model may seem like an easy solution, but it’s not without hurdles. Here are some of the challenges of this work model:
Discrimination between office goers & remote workers:
One of the pitfalls of the hybrid model is that it’s more likely to make remote workers feel like they are second-class citizens. The IT Software Company’s should plan meetings and events with remote workers in mind. Rather than gathering most people in a meeting room and having remote workers join from a screen to the side, everyone should have the same experience by joining the meeting remotely from their own laptop. This way, remote workers won’t feel uncomfortable speaking up or contributing.
Additionally, organizations should genuinely strive to give remote and in-office employees the same experience by creating guidelines that prioritize communicating online, over in person. Prioritizing online-first communication is a simple step that offers a huge number of benefits to a hybrid workspace. It's better to follow. By shifting most communication to online rather than in person, organizations are also less likely to have issues arise from remote workers not being aware of certain conversations or decisions that have been made in person.
Leaders’ location of work changes dynamics:
A big part of successfully running a hybrid model is determined by where the leadership team spends their time. If the Software Company’s leadership works primarily from the office, other people will also likely want to work from the office. This arrangement could unintentionally shift things to an office-first culture.
An unbalanced culture in which leadership is primarily in the office could lead to inequalities around recognition. Employees who choose to work alongside leaders in the office space will be more visible and may attract more attention to their work. This setup ultimately disincentivizes remote work and can lead to remote workers feeling like an afterthought.
Focus on outcomes to assess performance, not employee location:
Organizations can mitigate this problem by having leadership and managers work primarily remotely so that they aren’t unintentionally privileging in-office workers. They can also train managers to identify biases against remote workers while they’re doing performance reviews. Doing so will ensure that remote workers have a chance to grow with the company, leading to better long-term retention.
Are we ready yet?
The hybrid work model is still an evolving phenomenon as most organizations are trying out different approaches to see what works for them. Although the hybrid model has some challenges, there are ways to manage it and maintain productivity among the employees by revamping existing policies (and by taking remote work into account).
In conclusion, getting the best out of a hybrid work model requires administrators to learn the skills required to manage Software Employees in different work environments including proper scheduling, good project management tools, and effective communication. Otherwise, some workers may find the new normal more frustrating than flexible.
(Author: Abirami Vellayappan is a curious cat and a social media writer at TechDoQuest, which is a Canada-based IT Recruitment Company.)