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The Hybrid Work Model: Its Future and Best Practices


The jury is still out regarding the future of the hybrid work model: working part-time in the office and part-time, remotely, at home. The COVID-19 pandemic force many to work remotely, and a significant portion of those individuals now work a hybrid of office work and telecommuting. In the service industries/medical fields, there’s not much choice here. Employees have to be at their place of business to conduct their work. You cannot work remotely if you are an Emergency Room nurse, a chef, or a surgeon. For jobs in education, there has been a massive switch to a hybrid work model, but this has not been well received by a lot of students who need in-person learning (a lot of students struggle with learning remotely, and in many instances, students do not have computers, webcams or reliable Internet service at home). Consequently, a large percentage of educators are returning to full-time in-person work. Likewise, many employees struggle with hybrid work models because they lack interaction with colleagues, a major source of motivation and innovation. So, where does the hybrid model stand?


The future of the hybrid model. Things are not as well set as most people would like. With barely 60% of the adults are fully vaccinated (at the time this blog article was published), the occurrence of COVID variants may lead to spikes in people affected, which in turn could lead to schools and businesses being closed down once again. If this happens, we would likely see employees working 100% remotely. Barring COVID’s resurgence, some employees have arranged to maintain a hybrid work model. Yet, some businesses found employees’ production limited when not in the office, so remote work is ending. Of course, specific industries such as computer programming, software designs, and writers have managed to change to a hybrid model and seemed poised to stick with that model. For those who enjoy and even prefer a hybrid model, discuss the option with your supervisor. Make sure to present your case identifying how the hybrid work model allows you to be more productive than if you’re 100% in the office. To reiterate, many businesses have ended or are in the process of ending hybrid work options. COVID and time will let us know if this will change.


Best practices. So, how do you make a hybrid model succeed? A lot of a employees’ success will depend on traditional best practices, mainly being on time when going into the office (use that time to interact with colleagues and utilize office resources such as administrative staff, office technology, and other resources you do not have at home. Likewise, some micro-managers may be looking for staff to be late; do not give them any excuse to get written up for not working efficiently, or your ability to work remotely will likely end, and you will be forced to work on-site. Additionally, make sure you upgrade to the best Internet option available AND a newer computer so that you can connect with staff and supervisors via e-mail, Zoom or other video platforms, or whatever other digital platform a business employs to allow for staff to work remotely. As for purchasing upgrades in technology and Internet service, speak with a tax expert to see if such expenses would be eligible for a tax reduction if your employer will not cover the costs.


Maintain a digital footprint. Many who work remotely are still expected to maintain their regular business hours, say 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. So, what happens if your micro-managing supervisor asks for proof of your hours? Platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams allow for establishing online meeting rooms, and in some instances, employees can create a virtual office where anyone can stop in as long as they have the web address of the room. What’s more, these digital platforms often maintain records of when a person is online and in the room. Should your supervisor seek proof, you would have a digital record of your time online, not to mention, your supervisor can stop in and see you when they need your assistance. Make sure you check for details of what your digital platform provides.


Be present! To be effective in a hybrid model, professionals have to show up to their office hours, staff meetings, and other functions/responsibilities. If you do not adhere to established remote working requirements, you will struggle to be productive. If you are not maintaining your productivity, you may find yourself in trouble with your employer. If you use a hybrid work model, do your job – be present and get your work done. Employers will likely realize if you are using days working from home to extend your vacation time.


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