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29 July 2021

Is hybrid work the way forward?

When COVID-19 started to spread in Singapore in 2020, the government had implemented Circuit Breaker to break the chain of virus transmission. During Circuit Breaker, work from home became the default work arrangement for all employees. Although Circuit Breaker had long been lifted and work from home is no longer compulsory, most employees agree that they prefer some degree of flexibility in their work now. This sentiment is in line with the survey by Straits Times, where it finds that 8 in 10 employees prefer flexible working arrangements, while 1 in 10 prefers to return to the office full-time. Employees' demand for flexibility had even urged some local baking industry players to introduce a new work policy. 

 

What is hybrid work?

 

Before we delve deeper into discussing the advantages of hybrid work arrangements, let's get the meaning of hybrid work straight. Unlike working from home or office, hybrid work arrangements allow employees to choose where they want to work and how they are most productive. 

 

For example, working parents that need to take care of their children while the schools are under closure can work together to decide who get to stay at home to take care of the children while the other goes back to the office. On the other hand, unmarried and single employees, who may not have as much family obligation, enjoy greater control over their own work schedules. As a result, it is easier for them to free up time to attend to things that crop up in their personal lives, such as running an errand or being home for a delivery.

 

Advantages of hybrid work arrangements

 

Besides the apparent benefits reaped by married parents and single employees, there are many other advantages that employers should not skip over while contemplating the viability of hybrid work arrangements. 

 

Since employees no longer have to work and confine themselves within the four walls of the office all at the same time, this reduces face-to-face interactions and the risk of contracting the virus. 

 

Employees who work remotely full time are more likely to report feeling disconnected from their colleagues, lonely, or stir-crazy. Hybrid work can mitigate these drawbacks by allowing employees to interact with each other from time to time and lead to better job satisfaction. 

 

When it comes to productivity, the traditional notion that employees work less under reduced supervision proves wrong in a white paper released by Microsoft. According to the report, 82% of leaders indicated that their companies were at least equally productive before remote and flexible working was implemented. 

 

How to implement hybrid work arrangements successfully

 

1. Decide the most suitable hybrid work model

When deciding the most suitable hybrid work arrangements, there are three types of hybrid work models for consideration, namely remote-first model, office-first model, and occasional office model. 

 

The remote-first model prioritizes and allows employees to work remotely, with a few exceptions for those whose job requires physical presence in the office.  

 

Before the pandemic, companies that allowed their employees to work remotely were adopting the office-first model. Employees were required to work in the office by default unless they obtained the necessary approval to work from home. And usually, it was granted for emergencies and dependent on the employee's nature of work.  

 

There is usually a planned schedule or roster in place for the occasional-office model. The schedule dictates who gets to come back to the office and the allowable duration. Under this model, office space is mainly used for meeting and collaboration purposes only.   

 

2. Review existing policies and procedures to ease employees into hybrid work 

After choosing a hybrid work model, employers need to review the existing policies and procedures to determine their applicability. Policies and procedures that no longer serve any purpose shall be revised to address employees' performance, grievances, and disciplinary issues.  

 

3. Communicate with employees about new policies and procedures

Employers bear the responsibility to make sure every employee understand the new policies and practices and how they will affect their work. Employees who need help to adapt to the changes must speak up. Based on the employees' feedback, employers can further improve the policies and procedures or conduct necessary training to help the employees. 

 

4. Ensure employees have the right tools and equipment 

IT Department can work with employees to provide them with tools and equipment to work remotely or in a repurposed office space. Consider providing training to the employees too if they are not familiar with the new technology. 

 

5. Empower your employees to make hybrid work successful 

Wherever your employees are based, empower them to work more effectively and improve their job satisfaction with the award-winning HR software. WhyzeHR provides a comprehensive suite of HR applications from easy attendance tracking, intuitive employee self-service mobile app, accurate payroll calculations, claim and leave management. 

 

Hybrid work is the way forward

COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and work. Hybrid work is the way forward as we navigate our way to coexist with the virus and live a new normal.

 

Contact us (6838 0161) or send your enquiry to enquiry@whyze.com.sg to find out more about WhyzeHR.