The global pandemic has pushed all of us into adapting to the “new normal.” This has been apparent in both our personal and professional lives. One challenge that employers faced when COVID-19 hit was how to keep employees safe, while ensuring their business stays afloat.
Companies have developed contingency plans and strategies to keep their operations running. This includes what was known as the “office layout.” As a result, more and more companies have embraced hybrid work for their employees.
What Constitutes a Hybrid Workplace?
A hybrid workplace allows employees to have a flexible work setup that deviates from the typical 9-5 in the office. The common examples of this are 4-day work weeks or alternate on-site and remote work. With the pandemic, the terms “work from home” and “work from anywhere” have since become a part of the employee recruitment and retention strategy of employers.
Is Having a Hybrid Workplace a Good Strategy to Retain Engineers?
Yes, a hybrid workplace is a good strategy to retain engineers. Engineers are one of the hardest professionals to hire and keep, and it would pay off to give them the benefit of a hybrid workplace. The State of Remote Engineering: The 2021 Edition reports that 8 out of 10 engineers want the freedom of a hybrid work week.
Engineers are not exempted from this wave of a hybrid workplace. Although before the pandemic, some engineering specializations require flexibility as they need to do fieldwork from time to time. However, we now have a tectonic shift in workplace trends for engineers, according to the same report mentioned above:
- Before the pandemic hit, only 19% of engineers worked remotely, but now we have a whopping 86% of engineers who do remote work.
- Approximately 80% of engineers surveyed want to work remotely between 60%-100% of the time, even when the pandemic is over.
- Overall, 83% want options to work on and off-site in the future.
What Are the Misconceptions About a Hybrid Workplace?
On the flip side, the stigma associated with a hybrid workplace might intimidate companies. As a result, employers might hesitate to implement such a drastic change, eventually costing them valuable engineers. The best move for companies now is to try to study and address these misconceptions about hybrid work.
Decrease in Management Control
One thought that might come to a manager’s mind would be, “How will I be able to manage my team in a hybrid setup?” Losing control over your team may be a scary thought. However, management does not necessarily have to suffer in a hybrid workplace if done correctly. As long as you set reasonable standards and policies then communicate these to your engineers, you can avoid poor management.
Engineers bring a particular set of skills that drives innovation in a company or organization. Micromanagement can do more harm than good in keeping your engineers in your workforce. When engineers are given free rein, trust that innovation and creativity will freely flow.
Collaboration Among Team Members Will Suffer
Because of fewer physical interactions in a hybrid workplace, many assume it would affect team collaborations. The truth is, with the help of technology, a hybrid work model doesn’t impair collaborative effort. Regular virtual meetings to touch base among teams can bridge the gap created by hybrid work.
Remote work does not equate to isolation. Virtual spaces can be an effective alternative to communicating and fostering teamwork. Given this, companies are expected to provide adequate support, such as digital subscriptions for secure communication apps to ensure continuous collaboration.
Employees Will Lose Their Voice
Opinions, suggestions, and contributions from engineers are crucial in driving a company or organization forward. Employers thus fear that brainstorming will be thrown out of the window when employees start working from home.
However, learning how to use technology to cater to this need can effectively solve this. Moreover, facilitating and accommodating suggestions and contributions in a virtual space is as effective as face-to-face. Engineers are pillars of change, so creating a space for open discourse will surely increase their job satisfaction and help them feel valued.
Productivity Will Suffer
While this is a commonly voiced assumption about remote or hybrid work, it doesn’t prove to be true. According to a recent study by Becker Friedman Institute, working remotely has boosted productivity by 4.8%. This can be attributed to employees achieving a better work-life balance, having more control over their time, and being less stressed.
Employer-Employee Relationships Will Suffer
A hybrid work model will not affect relationships in general, though poor management will. However, with virtual space, fostering relationships has become so easy. Set aside time to check up on your engineers regularly, and this myth will easily be disproved
How Can You Implement Hybrid Work in Your Organization?
Here’s what we know so far, engineers want a hybrid workplace. So, if you’re considering implementing it, here are some initial steps you can take:
- Be Proactive: Talk to Your Engineers. Survey what your own people want. For example, do they want to work remotely full-time? Do they want to come in a couple of days a week? Employee data will help you make informed decisions and will give you valuable insight into your next steps.
- Develop Your Hybrid Strategy. From the data that you collected, develop a flexible work strategy that is most beneficial for everyone in your team. Keep an open mind and make sure you can provide the support your engineers need to fulfill their roles. Set up lines of communication and draw up schedules where you and your team can reach each other in a day.
- Set Clear Expectations and Objectives. Be clear about what you want to accomplish, your expectations, and your business goals. The decision to go hybrid should come from the need to have your employees work where they feel safe, comfortable, and productive. Managers and their teams need to agree on working hours and project updates. Establish boundaries and build trust to set everyone up for success.
- Monitor and Evaluate. Do a data-driven assessment of whether the hybrid workplace works for you and your team or not. Address pain points and areas to improve. Ensure that your strategy and structure are flexible enough to accommodate change and take on future challenges while staying on course.
Hybrid Workplace is the Future
Hybrid work is here to stay. Embracing a hybrid workplace can help you achieve operational efficiency and keep your employees safe and happy. Letting your engineers work when and where they feel more productive can keep your employee retention at an all-time high, even amid a pandemic. It offers advantages that can save employees and employers time and money. Therefore, leaders who fully embrace remote work will do more than retain their top engineers.
GO HYBRID WITH THE BEST ENGINEERS FROM AGILE WPS
If you plan on adapting to a hybrid workplace, you will need highly qualified engineers on your team. Your success is important to us. We at Agile Workplace Staffing can help you find competent, reliable, and excellent engineers that can help your transition to hybrid work go smoothly and effectively.
Through our talent sourcing expertise, we can build the bridge between you and a range of talented engineers across industries. Partner with us today, and let’s start putting together the team of engineers that will bring your organization to greater heights.