Hybrid work. You’ve heard the term a lot over the past few months, but what does it really mean, and how is your company preparing for it?
While the final manifestation will differ from company to company, generally speaking it means a return to the workplace using a blended model where employees rotate in and out of offices re-designed for shared spaces. Some employees might work two or three days a week, sharing desk space with another colleague who comes into the office on the other days. Or whole teams might rotate in to allow for in-person collaboration, while other teams stay home.
In addition to Covid safety measures, this hybrid work model will be built on the flexibility that most employees seem to be craving after working from home this past year during the pandemic. A recent PWC study shows the great ‘work from home’ experiment has worked for the most part, with 83% of employers saying the shift to remote work has been successful for their company. And employees enjoy the work/life balance it offered. Over half of employees surveyed, (55%) would prefer to work remotely at least three days a week once the pandemic concerns are under control.
Silicon Valley tech companies were among the first to close down their campuses and send non-essential workers home at the beginning of the pandemic. Now, with 50% of American adults vaccinated, some of those top tech companies are heading back to campus – to a whole new way of work. Companies have undergone a massive re-evaluation of everything from employee happiness to safety to re-imagining workspaces to allow for more interaction and shared spaces. Some companies are offering employees a choice of returning to the office or continuing to work remotely, while others are offering a mixture of both.
Here’s a look at how some of the big tech companies are preparing for the Hybrid Workplace.
Citing the results of a recent survey, Zoom found:
“Hybrid work represents the biggest shift to how we work in our generation. And it will require a new operating model, spanning people, places, and processes,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
“As some employees return to our global work sites and others prefer or need to work remotely, we are finding additional ways of putting our hybrid workplace into practice. At each of our global work sites, the hybrid workplace model strikes a balance, providing limited additional services on campus for those who choose to return, while supporting those who need to work remotely or feel more comfortable doing so. Our goal is to give employees further flexibility, allowing people to work where they feel most productive and comfortable, while also encouraging employees to work from home as the virus and related variants remain concerning.”
“Additionally, we’ve pulled together a group of Microsoft researchers, engineers and real estate and facilities experts to prototype hybrid meeting spaces at our Redmond, Washington, and U.K. campuses. The group is investigating different meeting configurations and technologies like multiple screens, cameras and mixed reality scenarios to understand the most effective, inclusive set-up for hybrid work. It’s still early days, but we’ve explored solutions that range from simply reconfiguring existing technologies to designing exciting new Microsoft Teams innovations for hybrid work.”
“An immersive workspace is no longer limited to a desk in our Towers; the 9-to-5 workday is dead; and the employee experience is about more than ping-pong tables and snacks.”
“We learned that nearly half of our employees want to come in only a few times per month, but also that 80% of employees want to maintain a connection to a physical space. So, we are giving employees flexibility in how, when and where they work with three ways of working:
Brent Hyder, President & Chief People Officer, Salesforce
“Our campuses have been at the heart of our Google community and the majority of our employees still want to be on campus some of the time. Yet many of us would also enjoy the flexibility of working from home a couple days of week, spending time in another city for part of the year, or even moving there permanently. Google’s future workplace will have room for all of these possibilities.
We’ll move to a hybrid work week where most Googlers spend approximately three days in the office and two days wherever they work best. Since in-office time will be focused on collaboration, your product areas and functions will help decide which days teams will come together in the office. There will also be roles that may need to be on site more than three days a week due to the nature of the work.”
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet