Two options for hybrid working
Over the past year couple of years, many of us have had to cope with working remote. We have adapted to working from our homes whether it means finding a spare room to call our own, partitioning a room to accommodate more than one remote office or school, or flat out working from the kitchen or bedside table. We’ve made the best of a massive, long term change to our daily lives. The hard stop changeover to remote work resulted in a new focus on work life balance. Reclaiming commuting time and costs, and increased family time, are precious bonuses that are not easily relinquished. A return to rushed mornings, long commutes, and open cubicles, can be a tough sell to employees who are working fine without them.
Employers realize the enticing elements of remote work but they also face the challenges of accommodating the requirement of in person interaction. Some employers have introduced a phased return to office approach starting with two days per week at the office, and increasing until a full return to office is accomplished. Employees are facing the frustration of transporting laptops and other equipment back and forth, paying for monthly parking or transit passes and only using them half time, and tracking their scheduled days at the office so they can coordinate being home for the kids after school. A way around this is to increase the time between remote and on-site transitions.
Hybrid approach 1 – Alternate Months
One solution is to have employees work remote for alternate months. This approach satisfies all of the requirements outlined by both the employees and the employers.
Employers achieve consistency in team work, retrieve half of the office space, which could be used to increase cubicle sizes for dedicated office space or condense their real estate for shared spaces. Teams get to interact, network, and cross functionally assist each other in daily tasks. Individual areas of expertise can be easily shared with members of your own group or other groups.
Employees get the benefit of having their commuting time and costs reduced by 50% of their pre-pandemic numbers. Parking and transit passes are sold on a monthly basis. Double income families could alternate so that one parent is always working from home, so they could conceivably give up the second car and save on afterschool daycare.
The switchover of shifting laptops and other equipment between office spaces would happen once per month.
Hybrid approach 2 – Alternate Weeks
As with the monthly approach, alternating between remote and onsite work on a weekly basis could benefit families who share custody of their children. Since transit passes are transferable and parking passes allow for more than one car registered to the spot, parents sharing custody could also share parking and transit costs.
A downside of this approach is that transporting office equipment would happen weekly, however this is an improvement over the two days per week that is currently happening at some workplaces.
Alternating remote and in-person work on a weekly or monthly basis is compatible with a work-life balance with respect to commuting, parking and childcare.