Steps to make a hybrid model work for your business

Last week we showed you how to retain employees, with methods beyond just a good compensation. This week’s topic ties into this, using what we’ve learned over the pandemic about remote vs. in-person work and what’s best for the business and employees.

In this blog, we will discuss questions to ask to make sure you choose the best model for your company.

Avoid Expensive Employee Turnover

Question 1: Can your employees be optimally productive?

While most employers found that their employees were just as productive at home, this varies by industry and employee. It’s important to note that each workplace has a different level of collaboration, and highly collaborative cultures are harder remote, though far from impossible. 

Employees have different home environments and may be more productive going into the office or at least occaisionally going to a coworking space. Know each person in order to meet their needs, so they can be their best for the company.

If you do choose remote only, you will want to check in with your employees both as a team and individually, weekly. Calls and e-mails in between will help with keeping the motivation and urgency up, and collaboration and communication flowing smoothly.

Lastly, give your employees tools to collaborate (applications like Zoom, Miro, Google docs/Microsoft Word docs in OneDrive, etc.). This will enhance teamwork, potentially even more than the in-person atmosphere did.

Question 2: What’s the cost-effective choice?

For small businesses and startups, the overhead of paying rent for office space is simply not economical. If your competitor(s) is(are) a remote organization, they already have a huge advantage over you. You could use that money toward more compensation, benefits, events, and/or coworking space memberships and still have money saved. 
Remote work is certainly here to stay. A Standford study conducted in June of 2020 found that 42 percent of employed Americans were working from home full time (Bloom, 2020). This year, the American Opportunity Survey found that 58 % of workers have the opportunity to work from home at least one day a week and 35% of workers have the option to work from home five days a week (McKinsey, 2022). This is the new norm and employees, and clients may expect at least this type of hybrid of the two – remote AND in-person.

Question 3: Does everyone want a hybrid model?

Make sure you poll your employees about their wishes if your company is implementing a big change. During the pandemic, many workers did not like the forced nature of working from home. If they have a say, they are more likely to buy into the idea, even if they don’t get their ideal work situation. When it comes to a hybrid model, there are many different work schedules to consider: week by week (one week in the office, one week remote), synchronized schedule (people share office spaces and only a few people are in the office on a given day) and choice (employees can choose between the office or remote).

Question 4: Are there times when everyone can meet?

An advantage to fully remote work is that you can bring in talent from multiple states or countries. The disadvantage is that communication can be more challenging with different time zones. There are two things to consider here: 1) making sure that employees have the tools they need to work independently on their own time and 2) embracing asynchronous communication, which is that you cannot expect your employees to respond immediately. Do make it clear what the communication expectations are, though (e.g. emails are answered within 24 hours, calls within 4 hours, etc.).

Question 5: Do you have the IT, cybersecurity, and online community tools needed to be partially or fully remote?

Give your employees tools to collaborate (applications like Zoom, Miro, Google docs/Microsoft Word docs in OneDrive, etc.). This will enhance teamwork, potentially even more than the in-person atmosphere did.

Question 6: What do you need to be compliant?

You must pay taxes to the state in which the work is performed, so this gets tricky if you have employees in many different states. For certain corporations and LLCs, you may need to apply for foreign qualification to do business in the states your employees are in.A permit could be required for each employees’ home occupation, although this mostly applies to governmental agencies. “Tax nexus” may come up if you have a tax presence os are “doing business” in another state.

This could include sales, income or other tax types. Classify your workers as independent contractors (if they and their job duties qualify) to reduce payroll taxes and other labor costs. A couple other imperatives are workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. Cybersecurity is also a good idea in order to prove you have kept data private and secure. Since everyone has their own phones and laptops, it is important that servers are online and secure (such as Google confidential emails, Microsoft 360 and DropBox). A password keeper such as LastPass is also important to share within the company yet keep passwords complex enough to be hacker-proof.

How Can Startup Tandem HR Help?

If you ask yourself these questions, you will discover which is best for you: remote-only, in-person only, or a hybrid of the two. 
When it comes to keeping the culture fun and exciting, Startup Tandem provides human resources consulting services to help you, no matter if you choose remote-only in-person only, or a hybrid of the two. Head over to our blog to read about How to retain employees? or Avoid Expensive Employee Turnover – Startup Tandem.

References

Bloom, N. (2020). How working from home works out. Stanford University. Retrieved August 22, 2022, from https://siepr.stanford.edu/publications/policy-brief/how-working-home-works-out

McKinsey & Company. (2022). American Opportunity Survey, 3rd edition. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved August 22, 2022, from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/sustainable-inclusive-growth/future-of-america/american-opportunity-survey

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