How to Create a High-Autonomy Hybrid Workforce

What is a Hybrid Workforce?

As explained by Bamboo HR, a “hybrid workforce model” is a flexible, or hybrid, work arrangement that incorporates employees who work in a single, central location (e.g., an office, store, or warehouse), employees who work remotely, and employees who alternate between in-office and remote work. To clarify, this is not just a buzzword to explain the chaos that COVID-19 created. A hybrid workforce model is deliberate, proactive plan driven by a combination of factors, including employee well-being and business performance. It is strategic decision that will, if done right, positively affect every dynamic and relationship across your business.

Benefits of a Hybrid Workforce

  1. The additional flexibility this model provides increases employee satisfaction and can help you retain top talent.
  2. Hybrid workforces help to increase employee well-being, productivity and creativity.
  3. This model has also been linked to increased revenue, lower in-office costs, lower hiring costs, higher employee real incomes and reduced emissions.

Hybrid Workforce Statistics

  1. A survey by LiveCareer found that 29% of respondents said they’ll quit their jobs if they can’t continue working remotely at least some of the time after the pandemic.
  2. Harvard Business Review data shows that 64% of Gen Z and 63% of Millennials consider their office to be their laptop, headset, and wherever they can get a strong internet connection.
  3. The new Jabra Hybrid Ways of Working 2022 Global Report shows that employees with full autonomy to choose where and when they work unanimously report a better work experience than those with limited or low autonomy. 

Creating a High-Autonomy Hybrid Workforce

That last statistic is one of the most important. The Great Resignation has created an even more intense battle for talent in the workforce and heightened the importance of creating a positive employee experience. A recent Harvard Business Review article states that empowering employees to choose where and when they work can be one of the biggest drivers of a better employee experience at work. In addition, the Jabra Hybrid Ways of Working 2022 Global Report found that as autonomy increased, so too did the likelihood that an employee would feel their work arrangement had a positive impact on their overall work experience. Workers with full control over their work arrangement unanimously reported a better work experience than those with limited or no say in where and when they worked. These differences are most apparent when it comes to feeling a sense of belonging, productivity, trust in leaders, work-life balance, and mental well-being. With that being said, here are three steps to help you create a high-autonomy hybrid workforce:

  1. Create spaces that actually meet the demands of a virtual-first working world. Recent data shows that employees do value having the option to come into work and they cite two main reasons for using the office space. The first is for increased productivity and ability to focus without distractions as well as to feel a sense of belonging and being able to collaborate. These two reasons are diametrically opposed to one another, so it might be a good idea to consider creating individual working spaces at the office as well as team collaboration spaces. Both spaces should maximize the utility of virtual tools as well as provide acoustic privacy.
  2. Supplement the diminished sense of belonging in the office space with an increased sense of belonging in the virtual space. With our presence in the organization being primarily perceived virtually, that very same sense of belonging that employees once felt in the office space must be replaced with a sense of belonging in the virtual space. Since the personal desk was removed, it needs to be replaced with some that provides a sense of ownership and belonging in the new virtual world of work. If employees are to feel a sense of belonging in these professional virtual environments, they need the professional tools and technologies built exactly with those environments in mind. Research shows that one way to do this is to provide personal headsets. In fact, users of professional headsets were 11% less likely to feel left out of the conversation in virtual meetings and 14% less likely to report not being able to hear what’s being said.
  3. Let employees find the balance that matches their life’s new rhythm. When leaders give employees the freedom to choose where and when they work, it signals that they trust them to do the job they were hired to do. The data shows that that trust is then paid back to leaders and teams at a very high rate, building a tight-knit culture of inclusivity and belonging. With the right spaces and technology in place, employers enable employees to create structure in the way they work, thereby improving the employee experience.

To learn more about creating a High-Autonomy Hybrid Workforce check out this Harvard Business Review article or the Jabra Hybrid Ways of Working 2022 Global Report. If you are considering whether a hybrid workforce is the right decision for your organization, give our previous article a read!

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