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​Half and Half: How to transition from a remote to hybrid workplace

September 17, 2020

Photo: Domenico Loia

Half and half means different things to different people. In Denmark, it’s a mixture of dark beer and pilsner. In the United States, it’s a light cream that’s not quite as fun as the full-fat version but necessary for your health, akin to the workplace arrangements at many companies these days.

Around the world, organizations are embracing some version of ‘half and half.’ Some employees are returning to their desks, others will stay working from home, and some will move to a hybrid arrangement, swapping days with their colleagues to reduce the number of staff on site at any one time. It’s a healthier, slimline approach to life at the office. Here’s how to make the transition from fully remote to hybrid, a smooth one.

  1. Time is of the essence – “The key is in not spending time, but in investing it,” says productivity guru Stephen R. Covey. As the morning commute morph from a short walk to the living room to a labyrinth of arrows, masks and sanitation stations, time will become more precious for those going into the office. Keep calls as short as possible and set an agenda or goal before each one.
  2. Out of sight, still in mind - “Be transparent, open clear channels of communication and, listen with empathy and respond honestly,” says Catherine Maguire-Vielle, CWT’s Chief HR Officer. If you make a decision or communicate information to colleagues at the office, follow up with an email to your remote workers to keep them in the loop.
  3. Bridge the gap – During a time of great uncertainty and change, now is the time to look after your people, at home as much as at the office. CWT’s working from home charter helps employees stay motivated and connected.
  4. The social network - According to Gallup’s meta-analysis, companies with an engaged workforce are 21% more profitable. As some of your team go into the office, don’t dispense of virtual drinks or online chat groups. Staying connected and sociable virtually is just as important, if not more, for hybrid teams. CWT hosts regular all-employee townhalls with staff in over 40 countries. Employees can dial in wherever they are.
  5. Re-evaluate your culture - There are regional and national differences to bringing people back to the office. How do you build the right culture with a sporadic, distributed workforce?

Leading organizations will look at how work should be done and the role of the office. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Businesses can use this moment to reinvent their culture, improve collaboration and productivity, and create an opportunity for improved innovation.


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