It might not be your first choice. It might not even be your third choice. But with so many companies adopting a hybrid work schedule, hybrid is becoming a reality for millions of workers.
And if you’re expecting hybrid work to be the same as fully in-office or fully remote, think again. If there’s one truth in transitioning to hybrid work, it’s that things will have to change.
What needs to change, exactly? Almost everything…
What to Know About Hybrid Work Models
Hybrid models are notorious for being difficult. While many love the flexibility of in-person collaboration and at-home deep work, others find it too inconsistent to maintain. To be honest, we see it as being an uncommitted version of remote work. But we also recognize that the hybrid model is the model of the future for many companies. And there are things you can do to make it work better.
There’s a lot to know about hybrid work, but here are the highlights:
- Hybrid work is generally viewed much more favorably by managers than it is employees
- Many who have been working 100% remote will have a hard time coming back to the office, even for just a few days a week/month
- Employee retention may suffer in workplaces that transition to hybrid
- Without a thoughtful schedule of who works in the office when, there can be major challenges
- Implemented the right way, hybrid work does have the potential to increase employee engagement
- There are some operational cost savings to be found in hybrid work
Like any management practice, there are pros and cons to hybrid work. To maximize the pros and limit the cons, managers should spend time considering which hybrid work model is best for their specific environment and employees.
What Are the Different Hybrid Work Models (and How Do They Compare to Remote Work)?
There are tons of different hybrid work models. Most of them fall under one of two buckets: flexible or structured. Generally, flexible (or choice-based) hybrid work schedules give employees some degree of freedom to choose their own work schedule, while structured (or requirement-based) hybrid work schedules set specific expectations for where and when employees work.
Let’s explore a few of these models. Here’s a look at 7 of the most popular:
Choice-Based Hybrid Work Schedule
- Days-In-Office Choice
- Meetings-Only Choice
Requirement-Based Hybrid Work Schedules
- Days Allotted Per Month
- 1-Day Requirement
- 3-Day Requirement
- 1-Day Remote Requirement
Choice-Based Hybrid Work Schedules
Choice-based hybrid work models give employees some degree of freedom to decide when they want to work remotely vs in-person. Typically this is the most flexible (and therefore, palatable) model for employees, which is helpful for workplaces that have been fully remote the past few years but are looking to start coming back into the office on occasion.
The main difference between choice-based hybrid work schedules is the degree of choice. Let’s explore a few:
This hybrid model is as close to a fully remote option as you can get, and is most likely to be well received by employees.
With this method, employees choose how often—if at all—they come into the office.
The benefits of a full-choice hybrid work schedule are:
- You can hire from anywhere, since employees still have the option of being remote-only with zero in-office time
- You can hire many different types of people: introverts, extroverts, city-dwellers, rural livers, and anyone in between, which contributes to a diversified company culture
- Employees are happier when they feel they have full control over their work situation
Just keep in mind that providing a choice means you also need to provide a physical office space that may only get used on occasion. Whether or not this is a worthwhile expense will be up to you to decide.
While this hybrid work schedule technically has some sort of requirement, it’s still a choice. In this system, your team is given a requirement for the number of days they need to be in the office, but which days they come in are completely at their own discretion.
For example, with a 3-day-a-week requirement, some may choose Mondays and Fridays at home, and go into the office for the other three. Some may change it up every week depending on their personal life, allowing them to attend appointments or other obligations with flexibility in their schedules.
The perk of this hybrid work model is that there is still plenty of in-office time, but your team feels more in control of their schedules.
Collaboration is crucial to any business. While there are many project management softwares out there that make this easy even in fully-remote teams, meetings are still one area some employers refuse to budge.
With a meetings-only hybrid schedule, employees are only required to come into the office for meetings. This ensures collaboration happens in-person, but each employee is still free to do their deep, focused work without distraction at home.
It’s not as cut-and-dry as other models, but it does allow those who like to collaborate in-person the opportunity to do so.
Requirement-Based Hybrid Work Models
Many employers don’t like the unpredictability of choice-first hybrid models. With requirement-based hybrid work models, employers and employees have more rigidity, so they know exactly when everyone will be in the office.
Days Allotted Per Month
This hybrid schedule is somewhere between a choice and a requirement, because it allows employees to work a certain number of days per month in the office and a certain number at-home, but they cannot choose where they work on a day-by-day basis. Instead, their days at home are scheduled, so that employers know well in advance who is expected to be in the office when.
The hybrid model allows employers to plan for important meetings, work events, major launches, and more.
This model is simple: you require your team to come into the office at least one day per week. You can either choose which day (Mondays would be common with this model) or leave it up to them, but they must spend one day in the office.
This hybrid schedule gives you a recurring weekly opportunity for in-person collaboration, but still allows for lots of at-home focused work.
You’ll find this to be a common requirement for hybrid work schedules. It seems like three days is a number many employers feel comfortable with. But with this version, the employer dictates which three days employees are expected in office.
1-Day Remote Requirement
The 1-day-a-week remote hybrid schedule seems to be the last resort for many companies that would prefer to be fully in-office, but know they need at least some sort of remote work arrangement to stay competitive. Typically, allowing only one day for an employee to work remotely will give them flexibility for sick children, midday appointments, and other at-home tasks that would be easier if they could just work from home.
Your hybrid work model doesn’t have to be complicated. Mostly, understanding your team and why having both in-person and remote work as an option is important for your company will help you shape a schedule that makes the most sense for everyone.
Of course, working remotely or in a hybrid work environment makes communication tricky. If your team needs a better way to collaborate both in-office and at home, consider the all-new Basecamp. It has everything you need (and nothing you don’t) to do your best work and keep everyone up to speed. Best of all, you can get started for free in just 30 seconds: