Hybrid Work: The Future of Work is Choice

Hybrid Work: The Future of Work is Choice

Across the globe, companies are learning to embrace a paradigm shift in the workplace: hybrid work.

Increasingly, businesses are incorporating flexible work schedules into their employees’ lives, with hybrid work offering the most benefits and flexibility for both employers and employees. The advantages of hybrid work can range from reduced costs to improved morale and also increased sustainability for companies. Yet, how are employers and employees actually handling this transition to a more flexible workstyle arrangement?

 

The COVID-19 pandemic rushed companies to adjust and accommodate remote work, and what was once an occasional perk for employees became a daily expectation for most. In fact, according to ViewSonic’s latest Hybrid Work: The Future of Work is Choice survey, 89% of respondents had some experience working from home. 

The abrupt change to a mostly remote workforce proved that there were considerable benefits for companies to offer workplace flexibility, beyond their own office walls. 

 

As the world opens back up and many employees are expected to return to the office, the hybrid work model has become more attractive to the modern workforce. The hybrid strategy would blend remote and in-person flexibility, allowing employees to adjust their worksite to best suit them — whether at home or in the office.

 

Despite the expectation that the hybrid work model is an increased norm for workers, most companies still need to iron out the details of what it means to sustain a permanently flexible workforce that isn’t predominantly on-site. 

  • Will some employees prefer to alternate between remote and in-person? 
  • Are there roles that can’t be hybrid?
  • Will companies provide the necessary technologies to achieve a hybrid workforce?
  • Will all of their workers follow the same workplace arrangement? 

These questions – and many more – should be answered by organizations to ensure that they can sustain a hybrid work model. As employers outline and specify exactly how they plan to transition their future work models, they can expect to see more of the productivity gains that were tracked in the past year.

What is a Hybrid Workplace?

So, what exactly is a hybrid workplace or hybrid office? Basically, a hybrid workplace is a flexible working arrangement where employees have the option to work either on-site or off-site (remote work) or choose to blend the two based on their unique circumstances or preferences.

The hybrid workplace model isn’t a new concept to the workforce. Certain industries and employers have offered options such as these for their employees in the past. However, the pandemic pushed the majority of companies to transition to a hybrid workplace immediately, completely altering what was previously a mostly in-person work landscape.

With this acceleration into hybrid work, it’s become feasible to envision a future where most jobs follow a hybrid workplace model — and many employees increasingly prefer this type of work environment. According to Gensler, a recent workplace survey found that the majority of U.S. workers prefer a hybrid solution to their jobs that blends in-office and remote work from home.

However, the hybrid work model has changed from its traditional approach. Below are three ways in which today’s hybrid workplace differs from before:

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The proportion of workers who are in-office or remote has reversed. There are far more individuals working remotely, as opposed to pre-pandemic when most were on-site.

Employees don’t necessarily need to schedule which days they are in the office or remote in advance.

The transition for employees to become remote or hybrid workers is shifting in real-time, as opposed to being specifically scheduled.

Beyond changing from its previous configuration, the “hybrid workplace” is also an intentionally vague concept. In contrast to fully remote or in-person work, an employee’s time can flexibly shift between the two depending on their own arrangements with their workplace. As a result, no one employee can arguably have the same exact hybrid workplace experience.  

So how can employers and employees find the right balance within a hybrid workplace to increase productivity, morale and decrease potential burnout? And how will these decisions affect the future of the modern workplace? Read on to find out.

Below, we discuss the different types of flexible work arrangements that may help your company transition into a hybrid workplace model.

Different Types of Hybrid Work Arrangements

Hybrid work has become the most popular flexible work arrangement for most companies. As previously discussed, this type of work model allows employees to choose whether they will work on-site, off-site or a combination of the two. 

Variations of this model allow workers to have freedom between telecommuting and on-site work based on their own personal preferences and job objectives. Due to this, not every employee within this environment will have the same arrangement within their company. The idea behind hybrid work is that different employees, even those on the same team, can work together whether they’re in the same space, as long as they’re provided the proper equipment and tools.  

Below are three different forms of hybrid work to consider:

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The Hub-and-Spoke Model

The hub-and-spoke model resembles its namesake as a workplace that has a centralized “hub” for employees, as well as the option to work from “spokes,” which can be another outpost of 50 employees or even just one. These spokes can be any location where an employee can productively work, such as a home office, satellite office or cafe. In this way, employers can adjust whether to establish a formalized satellite office as a spoke if many of their workers live in a similar location away from the hub or informal spokes like home offices. This can cut costs and increase productivity as this model’s flexibility prioritizes choice in where to work.

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Centralization and Decentralization

Another key factor of hybrid work is the balance and combination of centralization and decentralization. Centralization gives the decision-making authority to top management, meanwhile, decentralization gives that power to middle or lower management. In a hybrid work environment, centralization and decentralization can also refer to physical workspaces.

The emphasis on how an employee works, rather than where is what truly sets hybrid work apart. This attitude can encourage a more productive workforce due to improved employee retention and greater autonomy within the company. After all, a happier workforce means a harder-working workforce.

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At-Will Model

The central idea of this work model is that employees are offered the opportunity to choose their preferred work arrangement each day — whether in-person or remote. This allows employees to choose their workplace to best complement their current work projects. For example, if a worker needs a space to collaborate with the team, they can decide to come into the office for that project. Meanwhile, if they’re working on independent projects that require more focus, they can remain at home.

One example of those who will benefit from hybrid work are workers who feel most productive outside of the regular 9-5 working hours and in our hybrid work survey, we found that 58% reported not adhering to regular working hours at least some of the time.

Those who perform better away from office space distractions and those who seek a more flexible work/life balance (such as caregivers) will also benefit from hybrid work models.

Different Types of Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work arrangements have skyrocketed in popularity. Now more than ever, employees are prioritizing their work/life balance and, for many, flexible work is the key to unlocking that perfect balance.  

In fact, comparecamp.com reported that 21% of employees were even willing to give up some of their vacation time to get flexible working options. For workers, following a flexible work arrangement can mean an overall boost to their employee experience, which in turn, can benefit the business.

Yet, flexible work can mean a variety of different things for employers and employees — and each comes with its own pros and cons. Transitioning out of a fully on-site workplace model doesn’t come with a one-size-fits-all solution, so it’s important that companies understand what options are available to them and their workers. 

Below are the seven types of flexible work arrangements that ViewSonic recommends companies to consider:

1. Telecommuting

Telecommuting means that the employee works off-site, whether that be from home, a cafe, a library, or anywhere with accessible Wi-Fi, depending on employer policy.

This arrangement can be fully remote — which is why it is often mislabeled as “remote work” — but telecommuting employees may occasionally be asked to return on-site for meetings or informational sessions. Due to this, telecommuting refers to employees who are remote, but who can also return to the office, as needed.

Employers don’t dictate where telecommuting employees work, but they may need to provide technical assistance, such as access to VPNs so that employees can have the equipment they need to do their jobs. Employees can also choose whether they telecommute every workday or for only a specific number of days per week.

There are some difficulties that employers and employees must consider with telecommuting, including:

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Reduced in-office catchups can affect team communication and collaboration

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Potentially negative impact on career advancement due to prioritization of on-site workers

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Distractions beyond the office, such as pets, children and other people in the household

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A decreased distinction between home and work-life balance as the two occupy the same space. 

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Increased expectations of employees outside normal work hours

2. Remote Work

Similar to telecommuting, remote work allows employees to work off-site from any location with accessible Wi-Fi and the technological equipment needed to stay connected with the company. However, a key difference is that a remote worker (generally) is never required to come into the workplace. This way, remote workers can be hired from all over, with no strict geographical restrictions.

Some companies have even shifted to fully distributed models or remote work where they no longer have a central office location. A major example of this is Automattic, the company behind WordPress, which has chosen to close its San Francisco headquarters since all employees are now remote.

There are a variety of benefits for both employers and employees to adopt remote work. Remote work has been shown to encourage increased productivity, flexibility, cost savings and it reduces carbon footprints by eliminating commutes. It’s also becoming an increasingly viable long-term option for more workers. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, almost 40% of U.S. full-time workers hold jobs that could be done effectively from home.

Remote work also creates significant benefits for talent acquisition and recruiting efforts since there are no geographical boundaries to the potential candidate pool. Now, companies can hire the best fit for their teams, whether they live in a different state or even a different country.

There are also challenges to transitioning to remote work that companies must consider. For example, if workers are hired from different time zones, teams must be able to work together to coordinate variant schedules. Additionally, management must be trained to effectively supervise and guide employees who aren’t available in the typical office setting.

Remote workers may also be allowed to use their own equipment, such as laptops, but many industries require increased security measures to protect personnel and data. In those cases, companies will need to work with IT teams to provide necessary equipment and guidelines to follow for remote workers to do their jobs properly.

Although remote work can be used interchangeably to refer to telecommuting, it’s important to recognize the distinction between the two. Without this understanding, many companies may falsely advertise remote work, when they actually meet the criteria for telecommuting.

3. Compressed Workweek

The compressed, or condensed, workweek model allows employees to work the standard 40 hours over a condensed period of days.A common example of this would be working a four-day workweek schedule with 10 hours per day. The fifth day would be part of their weekend, meaning they work four days a week, with three-day weekends. However, employees would be able to adjust their compressed workweek as they preferred — their additional day off could be taken in the middle of the week, instead of the weekend.The compressed workweek model is particularly valuable to employees with caregiving duties or an increased need for work/life balance. This arrangement also reduces time and commuting costs for employees over time. By offering the compressed workweek, employers can see increased employee retention and hire candidates that may have required extra flexibility to work productively.If employers transition their entire workforce to a compressed workweek, they may also save on utility and other related costs. This flexible work model isn’t a great fit for all employees though, due to its extended individual day hours.

4. Part-Time Work

Since full-time employment is generally considered 30-40 hours a week, part-time work is any form of employment that provides fewer than 30 hours per week. However, the hours that constitute part-time work can vary depending on where the job is located. Make sure to follow any state or federal guidelines when classifying between part-time and full-time work. 

Due to the reduced hour workload, part-time work is a desirable form of employment for those with other responsibilities. For example, students or caregivers may find that part-time work offers them the most flexibility to earn additional income. For employers, part-time positions may make the most sense if they don’t require a full 40-hour workweek of tasks.

Additionally, some industries, like retail, have an “off-season” that requires fewer workers to run operations. Meanwhile, during busy times, hiring part-time workers can be an important solution to productively handle those times of the year.

It’s important to note that part-time workers don’t usually have access to the same benefits as full-time employees. Most companies require employees to reach a minimum hourly threshold per week to be eligible for benefits.

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5. Flextime

The flextime work model allows employees to choose the start and end times of their workday — as long as they work the same core number of hours of a traditional schedule.

Since flextime doesn’t affect the total hours that are worked, the main benefit is that it allows employees the freedom to choose when to work. This could mean that an employee chooses to arrive at 10 a.m. and leave at 7 p.m. instead of opting for the traditional 9-5 workweek. Or they could arrive and leave earlier. As long as the employee clearly communicates their preferred flextime arrangements, this work model can be productively incorporated into a company’s policies.

Flextime workers generally don’t work traditional hours, which can benefit those who need more work/life balance to adjust their schedules to other factors, such as school, childcare, or commute times. Similarly, some employees work best outside of traditional working hours. According to AIHR, 60% of flexible workers say that they are more productive and engaged in a flextime setup than when they are in the office.

When incorporating a flextime work model, be sure to follow these five steps:

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Have a plan. Outline exactly what policies need to be made and how best to guide employees through schedule changes.

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Allocate specific tasks and hours. Make sure all employees know their contracted times and include tasks that can keep them on track.

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Choose a preferred communication method. If employees are working different hours, a clear communication channel needs to be established to ease the transition.

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Try it out. Schedule a test run to see how productive and communicative teams are on a flextime schedule.

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Address any weak points or concerns. Schedule management and team meetings after the trial run to gain feedback and find solutions, as needed.

By choosing a flextime work model, employers demonstrate their focus on job performance and productivity, rather than on traditional work hours, which can also give them an attractive recruiting advantage.

6. Shift Work

Shift work refers to any schedule where the day is divided into different shifts that expand outside the working hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m, including night and early morning shifts. This means that each shift is carried out by different groups of workers throughout the day.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 16% of wage and salary employees follow shift work schedules. Shift workers are mostly employed in the hospitality industry (37%), transportation and utility industry (26%) and retail trade industry (25%), since these businesses are most likely to operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

For employees, the flexibility to work outside of traditional work hours, such as night shifts or different days each week, can be a major advantage — especially if they have other responsibilities that need to be done during the standard 9-5 workweek.

However, there can be negative side effects to shift work when it comes to employee well-being, fatigue and stress. Similarly, some of the most cited ailments of shift works are sleep ailments and insomnia.

Companies must carefully manage and check-in with their employees to build a supportive shift work environment.

7. Job Sharing

Job sharing is a flexible work arrangement that staffs two people in the same position on a part-time, or reduced-time, schedule. Their combined work schedule would fulfill the responsibilities and hours of one employee on a full-time schedule. The two people hired would be job share partners.

The greatest appeal of job sharing is that similar to part-time work, it offers more flexibility outside of traditional work hours. Meanwhile, employers may find it easier to hire two part-time workers to fulfill the required schedule and work rather than one full-time employee.

There are three possible job share schedules to consider:

        • The Same shift job share arrangement would have both employees work at the same time. These employees would split their responsibilities in two and would work the same hours and days.
        • The split-day job share arrangement is more common and requires each employee to work on the same days but during different hours. For example, for an eight-hour workday, one would work the first four hours and the second would finish the last four hours.
        • The split week job share arrangement is similar but alternates days instead of hours. Each partner is responsible for the same amount of hours, but they work on different days of the week.

Since both job share partners are equally trained, this flexible work arrangement can be especially beneficial if one or the other takes leave. This would mean that during the leave, the role would still be fulfilled in some capacity. It can also reduce absences and improve employee well-being, especially if the job is fast-paced or stressful.

Before implementing job-sharing arrangements, companies should clearly delineate the responsibilities and expectations for these positions. Constructive and clear communication is critical to reducing potential job share complications and increasing work quality.

Benefits of a Hybrid Work Model
Work Life Balance in hybrid work

Benefits of a Hybrid Work Model for Employees and Employers

Current workplace trends show that the hybrid work model is the preferred arrangement for most employees and employers. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management reported that 55% of workers surveyed prefer working remotely three days a week. Meanwhile, 68% of executives think workers should be in the office at least three days a week to maintain the company culture.

There will be differences between how employees and employers expect a hybrid work model to work. So how do businesses find that middle ground?

With the hybrid work model, businesses may be able to reap a variety of remote work benefits without compromising the company culture. As suggested by the name, hybrid work allows employees the ability to work remotely while still providing the structure of a centralized office. If you’re interested in more information, explore our article here.

Discover more potential benefits of a hybrid work model:

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Better Work/Life Balance and Employee Morale

Work/life balance is an essential part of a healthy and productive work environment. A business that prioritizes this balance is more likely to have higher employee approval and morale rates compared to less flexible workplaces.

According to ViewSonic’s Hybrid Work: The Future of Work is Choice survey, 43% of those surveyed rated work/life balance as their biggest factor when deciding to work from home. The hybrid work model allows employees to choose how they balance their work and life schedules. 

Acknowledging employees’ needs for flexible work outside the office through a hybrid model helps to improve employee health and productivity, which will also reduce costs for employers.

By opting for a hybrid work model, employees can better balance their personal lives with their job commitments. For example, hybrid flexibility can allow workers who are parents to time their breaks for time-sensitive tasks, such as school pick-ups.

Additionally, Harvard Business Review reported that physical and psychological problems arising from burnouts cost organizations in the US between $125 and $190 billion a year in healthcare spending. When employers factored in increased turnover and lower productivity, these costs also increased.

Reducing the stress associated with a traditional work arrangement can lead to improved day-to-day productivity, less burnout, and more focus.

For employers, better work/life balance and employee morale will not only improve company culture but also increase employee retention, build loyalty and reduce healthcare spending costs.

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Improved Collaboration

The hybrid work model combines the best aspects of both remote and in-person work to improve collaboration between management and employees. In this way, it also avoids some of the cons of a fully remote or fully in-person workplace, too.

One of the greatest disadvantages to fully remote work is the removal of required face-to-face meetings for teams and companies, which can lead to time, money, and space-saving. However, this should be taken with a grain of salt as a particular issue which has become known as “Zoom fatigue,” or virtual meeting burnout can also occur. Zoom fatigue didn’t just affect all employees across the board, but actually negatively affected women more than men by 14%, explained National Geographic.

By incorporating the option for employees to meet up in person to work on projects and solve problems, employees can foster improved bonds, loyalty, and engagement. It can also foster a better working environment as employees have the opportunity to socialize and chat during breaks and spontaneous conversations. Meanwhile, employees can then choose to work remotely on tasks that are more productively worked on outside of the office.

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Increased Pool of Talented Candidates

Since workers don’t need to be as close to the office within a hybrid work model, companies can choose to prioritize skill over geographic constraints. This can increase an organization’s competitive edge and allow for an improved talent acquisition strategy as it moves into new markets.

Blending remote and in-office workers will allow companies to explore their local hiring pool, which invests in the community, as well as a diverse hiring pool that isn’t limited by location.

For workers looking for new employment beyond their immediate locality, a hybrid workplace allows for many more opportunities that were not available in traditional workplace models.

Potential Difficulties of a Hybrid Work Model

Hybrid workplaces reap the best of both work worlds: remote and on-site. However, organizations can face difficulties as they transition into a hybrid work model if they don’t consider the potential challenges that come with it.

Specifically, companies may accidentally alienate their remote workers or even lose skilled employees if they don’t create clear-cut guidelines to mitigate potential risks. However, as businesses address issues upfront, they should also understand that solutions may appear as reactive measures.

Here are three potential difficulties that should be addressed when transitioning to a hybrid work model:

Here are three potential difficulties that should be addressed when transitioning to a hybrid work model:

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Negative Impact on Company Culture

With less on-site time, employees may experience a diluted version of what “office life” originally offered. This can also cause disillusionment with the company as the target values are difficult to reinforce through remote communications. Without consistent, face-to-face interactions, management may also be less likely to engage with workers in a valuable way.

It’s also important to consider the main demographics of a business’s workforce.  Forbes reported that 90% of Generation Z workers desire and value a human connection when it comes to their at-work communication. This can pose a problem to the future of remote workspaces as data predicts that Gen-Z, which includes anyone born between 1997 and 2021, will make up 27% of the workforce by 2025. Beyond demographic considerations, and as a result of work-from-home communication trends, many teams and departments may also encounter a siloing effect where they only interact with each other for their projects, with less spontaneous communication across teams. This can reduce company culture and relationships.

To combat the impacts of reduced face-to-face contact, it’s critical that companies take measures to show employees that they’re valued by management and their peers. A sense of belonging can’t be created overnight, but by evaluating what specific culture an organization wants to prioritize, it can build a roadmap to achieve that environment.

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Unconscious Bias Toward in-Office Employees

A common fear that hybrid workers may have is the idea that their work may be less valued than if they were fully on-site. Even though studies have shown that hybrid work promotes productivity, working out of the office can cause a negative impact on perceived productivity.

In fact, a paper from the University of California, Santa Barbara found that being observed by others while at work resulted in positive outcomes for employees “because it is a strong signal of their commitment to their job, their team and their organization.”

Being seen working can give employees an added sense of security since they don’t feel the need to provide additional proof that they’re committed to their job, team and organization.

Additionally, research by MIT shows that remote workers may end up getting lower performance evaluations, smaller raises and fewer promotions than their colleagues in the office, due to their absence from the physical workspace.

To combat this, management should provide tools and structures that can equally track performance between remote and in-person employees. By building a foundational system that won’t form bias between remote and in-office employees, the hybrid work model can work for any team.

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Technological Concerns

In our Hybrid Work: The Future of Work is Choice survey, exactly 20% of respondents felt that having technology/resources to perform work was the biggest challenge when working from home.

Probably the most important difficulty to consider for hybrid work is maintaining communication and collaboration through technology since digital tools are the infrastructure of remote work. In contrast to fully on-site work, hybrid employees need seamless connectivity to prevent knowledge and work disparities.

A key solution to this is investing in video conferencing technology. A major benefit to video conferencing is that it reduces the amount of time wasted in meetings. Additionally, employees attending meetings via video conference are also more likely to speak up and clarify information.

Investing in the right technology is critical for properly maintaining a productive hybrid workplace. With advancements appearing and increasing every day, it can become overwhelming to consider all of the options. However, by narrowing down exactly what tools employees need to engage and work with companies, the right technology can make connectivity simple.

Another relevant connectivity issue is the foundation of hybrid work: internet connection. Many places in the E.U. and U.S. may have poor internet connections, which employers must consider when addressing technological concerns for their workforce.

Hybrid teams, composed of both remote workers and those physically present in the workplace, can help businesses lower costs, increase productivity, and become more agile during times of adversity. But with this new system comes a new set of challenges for managers who have been trained within the parameters of the traditional workplace.

Although the benefits of hybrid works far outweigh the potential difficulties, managers should set up strategies to streamline the arrangement. Discover our other tips for managing hybrid teams here.

Technology That Facilitates the Hybrid Work Model

The hybrid work model has increasingly been adopted in recent years, and it’s definitely here to stay. In a 2020 survey, Gartner showed that 82% of company leaders plan to permit remote work, at least partially, as employees returned to the office after the first lockdown of the pandemic. So how can organizations use technology to their advantage in a hybrid workplace?

Todays businesses have completely shifted how they view their on-site workforce and are permanently adopting hybrid work models, which means that employees may have to adjust to having two workspaces: an on-site office and a home office. 

This means that employers need to invest in the right technology to facilitate switching between the two work environments and collaborating with colleagues in different spaces. While this issue may feel overwhelming to begin, collaborating with your IT departments to find infrastructure solutions for a “work-from-anywhere” workforce will allow for incredible innovation for future business endeavors. 

Below are three technology solutions to consider for successful hybrid work:

1. Use Cloud Technology

Within the office, employees have access to all necessary software and tools to complete their job tasks. However, that’s not the case for remote teams that don’t have complete access to physical hardware, the same software or communication in real-time. The solution is cloud-based technology.

 

By utilizing cloud-based software solutions like Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace, companies can recreate their work environment in a virtual space. This ensures that employees are using the exact same centralized communication and information-sharing platforms to streamline collaboration.

 

With cloud technology, all employees will need is accessible internet and an employee login to get to work.

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2. Invest in a VPN

A hybrid work model will increase the number of employees that need to use their own devices to access your network remotely. This can open your company to potential cyberattacks, from viruses, malware, phishing scams, and other security threats. While there are many best practices for working securely while remote, this problem needs to be addressed sooner rather than later to minimize potential cyber risks to companies.

CPO Magazine reported that the number of organizations that feel effectively positioned against cyber attacks plummeted to 44% from 71% earlier before the pandemic. This problem needs to be addressed sooner rather than later to minimize potential cyber risks to companies.

An easy solution to invest in is a remote-access business VPN, which can encrypt the connection between employees’ devices and company networks. The only way to access the encrypted work network is through a device with VPN client software installed that has been configured to connect to the VPN server.

Important note: there is a difference between consumer and business VPNs. Consumer VPNs are useful for individuals when they want to add security to a personal device that is using public wifi. A business VPN includes more security for employees and teams to work away from the office.

It may also be wise for employers to supply employees with dedicated work computers with pre-installed software, instead of allowing employee-owned devices to access the network.

Invest in a VPN

3. Provide Support for Home Workspace Setups

Since personal devices can increase cybersecurity threats, providing employees with dedicated work computers or laptops is a critical investment to consider for a hybrid workplace. It’s an easy mistake to believe that allowing employees to use their personal devices will save time and costs.

However, in reality, responding to cyberattacks due to personal device weak points is extremely costly to businesses. A global risk report by the Ponemon Institute explained that of the respondents who’d experienced cyberattacks during the past year, 58% were credential theft and 48% were from phishing. The average cost to deal with one of these incidents was $2.4 million.

Similarly, companies can not only ensure that their employees have protected access to all the software they need, pre-installed into their work computers, but it will also help boost productivity levels — and by extension, reduce long-term costs.

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Do People Want a Hybrid Workplace?

Yes, employees want a hybrid workplace — and so do employers.

Our Hybrid Work: The Future of Work is Choice survey showed that 54% of people prefer to work from home in the future, while 35%, specifically, also want the option to work from the office once or twice a week. In total, 89% of people want to work from home at least some of the time.

Recent work results have shown that employees positively respond to having some level of control over how, where, and when they work. Similarly, employers found that during the pandemic, productivity across the board did not decrease when employees were allowed the control to make those decisions.

Those surveyed in our Hybrid Work: The Future of Work is Choice survey also reported that they were split on who should make the decision of working from home or in the office: 35% predicted employers, 31% felt employees would choose and 35% said that it’s a mutual decision.

When companies commit to a hybrid work model and share clear strategies and guidelines regarding the change, productivity levels rise. However, many employees report feeling anxious and burned out when employers don’t share enough about those policies or expectations during hybrid workplace transitions, according to McKinsey & Company.

If an employer does not provide remote work-relevant specifics, employees are more hesitant to want a hybrid workplace. As a result, it’s important that organizations share their intentions as they move forward, even if they don’t have detailed plans yet, and allow for employee feedback to meet concerns before they become major problems.

Employee anxiety will reduce job satisfaction and decrease work performance, so it’s essential that management properly guides their teams to a hybrid workplace. Employers must listen to what employees are asking and accommodate as best they can to improve business performance and retain the best talent

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How to Facilitate the Transition to Hybrid Work

Making the move toward a hybrid workplace requires an equitable set up for both remote and in-office employees. This means company leadership must build thoughtful strategies, which we discuss in our article here, and engage in thorough communication with employees to create a smooth transition.

An optimized hybrid workplace allows employees to experience a flexible work schedule while still collaborating seamlessly with their colleagues, whether in the office or from their home. It also outlines exactly how often employees should be expected to return to the office. Since there’s no consensus between employers and employees on the preferred number of on-site workdays, companies should reach out to their employees for job-specific feedback.

Below are a few — but not all — questions that companies need to answer to help make a smooth transition into a hybrid workplace:

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How will work or productivity be tracked when done remotely?

How can employees engage with their colleagues when they’re remote?

Do your employees have equitable work setups in the office and at home?

Are your work setups optimized for employee productivity and health?

Physical office spaces are here to stay, but the way that they’re used will change as hybrid workspace becomes the new normal of the modern work landscape. Correspondingly, work technologies will need to be optimized to ensure remote collaboration, well-being, and security beyond the office.

As companies prepare to follow a hybrid work model, here are some critical factors to consider that will set employees and employers up for success:

Optimize Setups for Home and Office

Optimize Setups for Home and Office

First and foremost employers will need to recognize what they define as productivity. There are tangible factors that can be measured, such as completing tasks and measuring outputs. Then, there are intangible factors, such as employee engagement and improved workflows.

If the company is investing in monitors to take home for video editors, it’s best if they look into monitors with the right specifications so that they can edit high-resolution videos out of the office. Yet, checking off the essential functionality of the work-provided tech isn’t where optimization ends.

Regardless of the industry, companies will benefit from streamlined technology that has all the latest features without the hassle of multiple parts and wires — especially if employees are expected to use the tech in their home office.

If you’re looking for more home office setup ideas, dig deeper with our ultimate guide here.

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ViewSonic offers a variety of USB-C monitors that deliver video, audio, data, and charging with just a single cable.

The ViewSonic docking monitors are built with the changing work environment in mind. They specifically include USB-C single-cable connectivity, RJ45 wired Ethernet connection, and a USB hub, so that companies don’t need to purchase additional expensive docks for their employees.

Invest in Employee Well-being Through Tech

When it comes to the intangible side of productivity (morale, engagement, and innovation), companies can help enhance performance with tangible products, such as the right technology for workspaces.

With “Zoom fatigue” and work-from-home burnout increasing from the home office, it’s important that business leaders invest in technology that can improve employee well-being — even in a hybrid work environment. After all, employers with higher employee satisfaction show lower rates of employee turnover.

According to Nielson, working from home vastly increases the amount of hours workers spend looking at a screen monitor with most spending about 25 hours per week on work devices. Since monitors are a fundamental part of in-office and remote technology, it’s essential that employers research the best type that will positively impact employee well-being. Below are two monitors to consider:

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Below are a few monitors to consider:

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Ergonomic Monitors

Since workers don’t need to be as close to the office within a hybrid work model, companies can choose to prioritize skill over geographic constraints. This can increase an organization’s competitive edge and allow for an improved talent acquisition strategy as it moves into new markets.

Blending remote and in-office workers will allow companies to explore their local hiring pool, which invests in the community, as well as a diverse hiring pool that isn’t limited by location.

For workers looking for new employment beyond their immediate locality, a hybrid workplace allows for many more opportunities that were not available in traditional workplace models.

Ergonomic Monitors

All of ViewSonic’s monitors are specifically designed to be ergonomic, with the ability to pivot, tilt or adjust their height. Plus, they’re easy to see.

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Monitors That Reduce Eye Strain

Digital eye strain can occur for a variety of reasons, but it’s often due to people using devices with excessive blue light, harsh glare, poor contrast or digital screens built at an awkward angle. The symptoms can actively hurt productivity as employees may experience headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain, dry eyes or any combination from this list. Thankfully, these are usually temporary symptoms but they can affect workers long-term if left untreated.

A common recommendation for employees to reduce eye strain is to limit screen time, but that can be an impractical solution for those who need to use computers daily for work. However, companies can actively help employees reduce visual fatigue due to digital eye strain by investing in curved monitors and monitors with a blue light filter.

Studies have indicated that curved monitors can reduce eye strain, compared to using flat monitors, and decrease blurred vision symptoms.

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ViewSonic’s curved monitors are specifically designed to provide employees with a wider field of view and improved depth perception, which makes images easier to see, with no straining.
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Blue light is another factor that can increase visual fatigue for workers. It’s a type of short-wavelength, high-energy light created by screens that has been shown to exacerbate eye strain.

Almost every ViewSonic model is equipped with a blue light filter to reduce this eye strain. These filters can reduce up to 87% of the emission in the blue spectrum while maintaining the correct color balance.

Provide Remote Collaboration Tools 

The hybrid work model has increasingly been adopted in recent years, and it’s definitely here to stay. In a 2020 survey, Gartner showed that 82% of company leaders plan to permit remote work, at least partially, as employees returned to the office after the first lockdown of the pandemic. So how can organizations use technology to their advantage in a hybrid workplace?

Todays businesses have completely shifted how they view their on-site workforce and are permanently adopting hybrid work models, which means that employees may have to adjust to having two workspaces: an on-site office and a home office. 

This means that employers need to invest in the right technology to facilitate switching between the two work environments and collaborating with colleagues in different spaces. While this issue may feel overwhelming to begin, collaborating with your IT departments to find infrastructure solutions for a “work-from-anywhere” workforce will allow for incredible innovation for future business endeavors. 

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For conference meeting rooms, ViewSonic offers ViewBoard Displays that encourage interactive collaboration and includes built-in software tools and technical support. This includes myViewboard Display and Manager, which has whiteboarding software, screen sharing, and centralized, remote control. Learn more about our collaboration solutions here.

Consider Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) When Making Changes

The Total Cost of Ownership, or TCO, refers to both the upfront and hidden or indirect costs of owning a particular product or service. This cost includes everything within the product’s life cycle from the initial price, use, maintenance and disposal. By doing a TCO analysis for proposed technology purchases, companies can build a clear picture of the short- and long-term costs and determine what the best options are for their hybrid work model transition.

A TCO analysis, also known as a life cycle cost analysis, uncovers the hidden costs that can come as a surprise after the purchase has been made. These discoveries can show big differences between the different physical and digital assets that companies may choose to provide to remote workers to streamline their work. It can also help companies outline and detail exactly what their budget plans are for the hybrid workplace.

Factors that can lower total business costs over time can be as simple as purchasing from companies that prioritize green packaging and ease of setup, which also use fewer resources in the long run.

ViewSonic actively designs and packages our monitors to improve TCO by reducing indirect costs even beyond the initial purchase price.

Ultimately, transitioning to a hybrid work model requires active conversations between employers and employees to discover what their needs and expectations are, regardless of profession or industry.

However, companies can actively ease the changes by investing in the right tools for the job at hand — specifically, those that optimize both home and work offices, promote employee well-being, encourage collaboration, and take into account overall TCO.

Technology can vastly decrease potential miscommunication and bridge the gap between remote and on-site worker relationships.

The Future of Hybrid Work and Finding Ideal Flexibility Solutions

Hybrid work is the future of modern work landscapes. Most companies are looking to remain hybrid even as it’s become safer to return to on-site work.

By choosing a hybrid work model, companies can take the best of both remote and on-site benefits to give their employees increased flexibility and perks. The advantages of a more flexible work environment can greatly improve employee morale, increase sustainability and lead to higher employee retention.

In fact, our survey showed that 59%of respondents felt their productivity increased in some way while working from home, with 32% reporting that their productivity had increased dramatically.

Yet, finding the right balance within a hybrid model does require management to follow best practices when handling a flexible work arrangement transition. Even with in-office work included as an option for hybrid employees, it’s essential that businesses maintain empathetic and up-to-date communication with all employees to help them stay connected.

This means there must be tools and resources available to connect employees despite the potential distance between colleagues. Email, monitors, and video conferencing are all necessary for employees to check in and strengthen collaboration.

Beyond creating a digitally supportive environment, employers can take steps to improve employee feel-being in a hybrid workplace through thoughtful tech and resource investments. Encouraging employees. to take breaks and honor their work/life balance is critical, but it’s not always practical in a day-to-day work schedule. Choose monitors and equipment that can lessen eye strain through ergonomics and blue light filters to ensure that employees are able to work productively and safely.

Contact ViewSonic today and learn more about solutions that can empower both employers and employees to work productively in a hybrid work model.