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3 “Hidden” Hybrid Work Challenges You Might Not Think About    

CoAdvantage – Remote work and work-from-home programs have truly taken off since 2020. According to Gallup, over nine in ten American workers want to continue working from home at least part of the time; nearly three in 10 say they’d look for new work if they were permanently recalled to the office.

But these work arrangements introduce new managerial, operational, and logistical challenges. Some of the issues are obvious; communication and collaboration clearly become much more challenging, as do the direct management and oversight of employees. But there are also “hidden” challenges that many employers may not even think about or immediately recognize.

1: Are you ensuring fair compensation and benefits?

If your compensation plans are benchmarked to local conditions, what happens if you start hiring from other geographic areas? Can you offer lower salaries to applicants coming from areas with a lower cost of living? How do you handle paying an in-demand person significantly more than other employees because she lives in New York City and expects a higher salary due to the cost of living?

For that matter, does your existing package of benefits and perks still make sense if employees aren’t gathering as much at the office? Can you justify the cost of free snacks or meals, for example, if fewer employees are taking advantage of them? But what’s the cost of eliminating them in terms of employee satisfaction and loyalty?

These are complicated questions that become more pressing in a hybrid work situation.

2: Have you accounted for the “dark side” of remote working?

A study from the UK found that remote workers were less likely to receive bonuses or promotions, even as they were more likely to work unpaid overtime. While it’s obvious most employees want more remote working options, the actual impact can be complicated. There’s evidence that remote work actually makes productive work more challenging and more stressful for certain people and for certain groups. To facilitate success for these employees, any hybrid working arrangement will require clear and helpful policies intentionally designed to prevent burnout and overwhelm.

Indeed, it may be necessary to rethink other aspects of workforce management aside from the “where do they work” question specifically. For example, Microsoft has asked managers to think about productivity more broadly rather than in terms of “immediate outputs,” according to Fast Company.

3: Does your workforce data segment in-office from remote work?

If you gather employee performance data, it’s important to consider where they’re working. Tracking work location can be especially tricky if the same employees sometimes work from home and sometimes work from the office, but it’s critical to segment this data if the employer wants to understand the productivity impacts of working from home. Otherwise, you won’t be able to draw any conclusions – or your conclusions will be outright incorrect – about remote vs. in-office work.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.