Hybrid work is the latest organizational topic to pop up as a result of the pandemic. Transitioning to remote work was tough for many folks—but was also a blessing for many! Increasingly, employees want the opportunity to be flexible with how they work.
That’s why the hybrid work model has gained popularity as the workforce starts to think about returning to the office—or not. 😉
What is the hybrid work model?
Rather than having employees all in-office, or all remote, the hybrid work model is just that—a hybrid of in-office and remote work. There are many ways for this to manifest day-to-day, ranging from a company policy that designates Tuesdays and Thursdays as WFH days, to having a mix of both in-office and all-remote employees on the same team.
As Vicki Yang, Bonusly’s VP of People Operations, said in our latest webinar Strategizing for the Future of Hybrid Work, there are a lot of benefits to hybrid work—and plenty of challenges, too!
Couldn't make it to Strategizing for the Future of Hybrid Work? Watch it here!
Another important thing to remember is that while you may have one company culture, each department in that company is likely to have their own unique team culture. That's a lot of opinions to take into consideration!
So, hoping to come to a consensus is likely to create more headaches for you. What we recommend is first having your department heads and team leads survey their direct reports, and then come together to assess overlaps and overall trends. Then you can strategize for a workplace model that fits your employees’ lifestyles.
Curious about how Bonusly is doing it? Keep reading to find out how we're building our workplace strategy based on employee feedback and working agreements.
Survey your employees about hybrid work
Though the way we work has changed, the need for surveying has only been reinforced with dispersed teams. We know employee engagement is a strong predictor of productivity and performance, and surveying your team is the ideal place to start gauging employee sentiment on hybrid work preferences.
Here are a few of the questions that Bonusly's leadership team asked our employees to gather information about our expectations and wishes:
- Pre-COVID, how many days a week did you work from the office?
- What are your biggest concerns about returning to the office?
- What have you enjoyed most while working from home?
- What has been your biggest challenge while working from home?
- Do you think your productivity has increased, decreased, or stayed the same while working at home?
- What are you looking forward to most about going back to the office?
- Which activities will you expect to do when returning to the office?
- Do you think your ability to collaborate with your team has increased, decreased, or stayed the same while working at home?
- If given the opportunity, would you prefer to keep working from home permanently?
- How many days would you like to be in the office in the future?
- What types of events have you found to be successful to maintain engagement and culture with dispersed and in-office employees?
- How are you thinking about hybrid team building experiences?
Bonusly's leadership team sent these survey questions via Bonusly Signals, our employee feedback and surveying tool.
Because Signals is part of the Bonusly platform, our leadership team could easily encourage survey participation by setting up automated recognition for survey takers. Not for nothing, the promise of Bonusly points at the end of a survey is a sign of goodwill from employer to employee that keeps feedback rolling in. 🤩
How long you keep your survey open will depend on multiple factors, including the size of your organization and the strength of your internal communications. For what it's worth, our leadership team ran this particular survey for one week and asked us to answer the questions to the best of our abilities with the information we had at the time.
After you close your survey and you've analyzed your survey results, you can start building your organization’s working agreements.
Start establishing working agreements
We’re a big fan of working agreements because they help nurture the atmosphere required for empathetic, psychologically-safe work.
Here’s an example of Bonusly’s working strategy goals:
Like we mentioned, individual teams within a company will often have their own cultures. For example, your Sales team may prefer to be fully remote because they’re typically on calls for most of the day, but would like to come in on Mondays for weekly planning; meanwhile, your Marketing team all live close by the office and enjoy socializing with their colleagues most days of the week; meanwhile, your engineers are scattered around the United States and will travel into the office once a quarter for roadmap planning.
Here are the questions we found the most impactful for building our hybrid team working agreements:
- Why does this team exist? What are our goals for this team?
- What’s in it for you to be part of this team?
- What work do we achieve together?
- What meetings and tools do we use to collaborate?
- What are our goals for working together in the office?
- What are our encouraged behaviors?
- What are our discouraged behaviors?
- To reach our goals, which meetings or what type of work would you like to do in person, and how often?
Once you've discussed, come to a consensus, and finalized your working agreement, it's time to...
Put your plan in action
It feels good to check "hybrid work strategy" off your to-do list, and it should! ✅
However, changing circumstances will beget changing employee needs. We're big fans of treating working agreements as living documents and using surveys to adapt them over time. Don't be afraid of change, just be sure it's documented and communicated with the team.
Check in often, and remember that agreements can always be renegotiated, especially when new members join or situations change. Every new team has a distinct dynamic, with individuals that prefer a certain mixture of behaviors and practices. Respect your uniqueness!
If you're ready to get started, Bonusly's surveying tool, Signals, is available for all Bonusly Pro users. There's even a survey template, called "Return to Office with Bonusly and Robin," that's available in our template library for you to use! We collaborated on it with Robin, the workplace management platform that's designed for hybrid teams.
If you're interested in learning more about Bonusly's platform, schedule time to speak to one of our employee engagement experts!