After two years of being forced to develop remote working muscles because of pandemic lockdowns, many companies and their staff are still alternating between going back into the office and working from home.
Yet, both on-site and remote work have advantages and disadvantages, and there’s a middle ground that can strike the right chord when trying to balance productivity, quality of life, flexibility, and cost: The hybrid workplace.
Now, if you’re looking to create a hybrid workplace that can fire on all cylinders, you need to make sure that you have the right team in place.
While allowing employees to work from home part-time can be a great way to improve productivity and save money on office space, recruiting for a hybrid workplace can be tricky.
Employees must be comfortable working remotely with no need for on-site social interactions and be self-disciplined in handling their work responsibilities independently.
In this article, we’ll discuss 5 expert tips for recruiting ideal candidates for a hybrid workplace.
What is a hybrid workplace, and why should you consider creating one?
A hybrid workplace is one where employees can work from home some of the time, which reduces the amount of office square footage required, decreasing overhead.
From the point of view of the staff, it immediately enhances their quality of life by turning commuting time into family time. But there are many other direct and indirect benefits of creating a hybrid workplace:
- Enhanced productivity of employees
- Improved employee retention
- Savings on office space and associated overhead costs (rent, furniture, utilities, maintenance, insurance, cleaning, etc.)
- Better work-life balance
- More flexibility for employees
- Less stress and distractions for employees
- Environmental benefits, as fewer vehicles are on the road
- Depending on the working relationship, tax benefits for employees (e.g. use-of-home tax deductions)
How to recruit for a hybrid workplace: 5 expert tips
Hybrid workplaces can be a boon for companies when you have the right team in place, which starts with sourcing and recruiting.
Below, you’ll find 5 tips from recruiting experts that will help you recruit the right hybrid workforce:
Tip 1: Look for employees who are comfortable working remotely
One of the most important things to look for when recruiting for a hybrid workplace is candidates who are comfortable working remotely. If your employees are not used to working from home or prefer working in-office full-time, they may not be productive in a hybrid working environment.
For example, employees who are highly extroverted and need to be surrounded by people in order to work effectively may find the at-home work environment too limiting.
People who find collaborative in-person work stimulating for productivity are not usually great candidates for a hybrid work environment.
People who are perhaps more introverted or can laser-focus on the tasks while working remotely tend to fare better (for example, employees who build business websites come to mind).
Therefore, it’s important to find candidates who have a proven track record of tackling and completing deliverables on their own without the need for constant supervision or external validation.
Tip 2: Look for employees who are self-motivated
When recruiting for a hybrid workplace, you’ll also want to look for employees who are self-starters, or those that can self-manage to a degree.
While self-motivation is an important asset in any working environment, it’s essential when there’s no supervisory mechanism. This is where most self-motivated employees who prefer remote or hybrid working environments benefit from virtual 1:1 meetings, team check-ins, or digital project management tools.
The ideal hybrid employee can find motivation from within and not from external sources via consistent encouragement or validation. They must be able to find the drive to produce results without someone else’s prodding.
A self-motivated employee will be capable of completing tasks, sticking to work-related commitments, and having a firm understanding of what their goals are.
Tip 3: Look for employees who have a strong work ethic and can handle their work responsibilities independently
Another important thing to look for when recruiting for a hybrid workplace is employees who can handle their work responsibilities independently.
In other words, employees who have entrepreneurial mindsets or ‘spirits’ can often work independently for extended periods of time as if they were running their own business within the larger organization.
You’re looking for the type of employee who’s a natural problem solver, who has the skills to use first principles when faced with a challenge in order to find its root cause, without feeling overwhelmed by circumstances.
Tip 4: Look for employees with a desire for work-life balance
One of the key benefits of a hybrid workplace is the opportunity to improve one’s work-life balance, but this can’t be taken for granted.
When there’s no clock to punch in and out of, it’s easy to lose oneself in a difficult deliverable and either work to exhaustion or give up in frustration and call it quits early, without achieving the desired result.
Too much “work” leads to burnout, and too much “life” leads to a lack of productivity. Work-life balance is not just a direct result of a hybrid workplace, but a conscious choice each employee must make in order to succeed in this unique environment.
So, you need to be on the lookout for candidates who have the desire to and know how to achieve this type of balance on their own—people who know when to work hard and when to stop in order to recharge their batteries so they can maximize their productive capacity.
Tip 5: Look for employees who are flexible and adaptable
Finally, in a hybrid workplace, employees need to be flexible and adaptable. This means being able to switch between working from home and working in the office without experiencing any inertia.
You’re looking for people who can quickly adapt to both circumstances without losing productivity in the transition. For example, an employee who needs to spend an hour socializing each day when they get to the office before they feel productive can hinder the efficiency of the team as a whole.
Similarly, people who have trouble getting started in the morning or motivating themselves to work when they jump between home and the office can also inhibit productivity—both their own and that of their team.
Tips for managing a remote workforce
If you’ve already set up a hybrid workplace, here are a few tips to help you improve productivity when managing a remote workforce:
- Make sure employees have the right tools and equipment to work from home. One of the easiest ways to hinder remote work productivity is by failing to provide teams with the right tools. For example, if the bandwidth of the broadband connection at home is poor, or the computer memory is inadequate, video conferencing apps may freeze or calls drop without warning.
- Set clear expectations for employees and ensure they understand their responsibilities. Make sure you create a remote working policy that sets clear expectations for working in a hybrid workplace so your staff is always on the same page as you.
- Provide regular feedback to employees. Hybrid arrangements differ significantly from onsite work environments and can present unique challenges for those who are new to them. If issues arise in your hybrid workplace, make sure you’re communicating with your employees frequently to eliminate friction and come up with solutions that work for the team.
- Encourage employees to communicate with one another and share best practices. Once in a hybrid workplace situation, different people will develop different mechanisms for maximizing productivity and minimizing distractions. Create an environment where employees are encouraged to share their remote working best practices with each other so nobody finds themselves at a disadvantage.
- Hold regular team meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page. With the explosion of collaborative software apps and meeting scheduling tools designed to enable distributed teams, it’s easier than ever to get remote teams to operate efficiently. Use these tools to re-sync with your remote team regularly to make sure no one ever feels isolated when working from home.
- Ensure your team feels their information & identity are safe. Identity security is one of the biggest concerns for many remote teams as some employees use their home computers or don’t have professional defenses on their home networks, like 2FA. Take steps to ensure your team is safe against cyber threats associated with identity theft or other kinds of attacks. This benefits both employees’ data and sensitive information from your company.
Start sourcing and recruiting your next best employee
The future of work is bright. By implementing a hybrid workplace, businesses can save money, enhance productivity, improve employee retention, create a work/life balance that’s conducive to higher employee satisfaction, and even positively contribute to the environment. In saying that, a hybrid workplace takes careful planning and execution to make it work and, above all, requires the right team.
If you’re thinking about creating a hybrid workplace to capitalize on its many benefits, watch our webinar on full-cycle recruiting to discover top tips for sourcing, recruiting, and hiring top talent to future-proof your organization!
About the author
Ezra Sandzer-Bell works at Appointlet as product marketing manager and customer advocate. He has helped thousands of customers improve their online scheduling workflow. Outside of work, he is a music theory instructor and founder of a music software company.