Benefits of Hybrid Work for Supply Chain and Logistics

Hybrid work allows employees to work off-site for most of the week but return to the office on designated days. This approach proved to be much easier for traditional companies to adopt.
Benefits of Hybrid Work for Supply Chain and Logistics

For the last couple of years, the global economy has had to reinvent the workplace, especially within the supply chain industry. As a result, we had to navigate challenges we'd never seen before, hitting us one surprise after the next.

Remote work quickly became a trending force that benefited companies during these challenges. Additionally, it became a preferred choice for employees. Team members had more flexibility, freedom to live where they wanted, and more control over their professional careers.

Companies also had immediate benefits. They could save costs on overhead, hire talent from all over the world, attract more talent, and create a digital-based company of the future. Not all companies adopted remote work. Many were hesitant and bearish. But they knew they had to evolve with the economy, so they adopted hybrid work.

Hybrid work allows employees to work off-site for most of the week but return to the office on designated days. This approach proved to be much easier for traditional companies to adopt.

A New Reality

While the pandemic continues, we are in a much different environment. Companies have control over their circumstances and strategies. We are no longer dealing with pure uncertainty.

But now that the economy continues to decline, it has forced remote-friendly businesses to reevaluate their workplace policies. For instance, in the tech space, many remote-friendly companies shorten their reigns amidst layoffs and declining revenue.

Companies like Twitter wants everyone back in the office. Others are calling for hybrid models, compromising with their high-talent teams. These movements have echoed across all industries.

In the retreat of remote work, hybrid has become the workplace choice.

Hybrid workplaces offer many benefits of both remote and traditional workplaces. Moreover, in an unstable economy, companies realize that this workplace model is sustainable for the long term.

Learned Challenges to Remote Work

Remote work offers many advantages to employees and their employers, but it could improve. While the workplace model will likely be commonplace in a decade or two, the current economy has yet to be ready.

For example, managers face many unmet challenges in the remote workplace, like something as simple as "water cooler talk." What seemed to be an unimportant ritual of chatting during brief breaks at work helped nurture relationships between employees. Without these small bonds, employees miss close social interactions, which can cause unfulfilled attitudes at work.

The lack of social interaction affects team synergy. It's challenging to get excited and work together through a 2D screen in short sessions each day.

Another common issue was deciding how to evaluate productivity and work. Leadership and managers had to develop a method to hold teams accountable. Some managers went too far, implementing extreme tracking measures. Yes, they knew if employees were working, but that intrusion on privacy and trust created a toxic environment, likely leading to a higher turnover rate and tension in the workplace. Even with more humane methods, managers found it difficult to manage performance.

As you read this, new apps and processes continue to develop, and many of these problems will disappear. For example, "water cooler talk" can be found on special Slack channels or Microsoft Teams. Of course, it's not the same thing, but these are precursors that will develop into something more whole one day.

Without interactions like these, team synergy and collaboration are a challenge. Many tools help, but they lack the natural excitement and adrenaline rush you may get physically working with a team.

Despite these challenges, many companies adopted remote work. They saw improvements in productivity and team morale. But the economy has changed, and many companies are tightening budgets and refocusing their goals. As a result, they have ended remote work and replaced it with its cousin.

Supply Chain Hybrid Today

Hybrid is an excellent alternative because it retains the social and management benefits you get in a physical setting but with the benefits employees enjoy in remote work.

A hybrid policy outlines the work week with remote and physical workplace settings in mind. For example, an employee might be expected to work remotely three days a week and spend the other two at the office.

The office days are designated for intentional objectives—for example, a routine meeting or a specific responsibility. If employers invest these days with their team, they can ensure everything is going well, like refueling at the "home base."

How to Outline Your Hybrid Policy

In the supply chain industry, only some things can go hybrid today. But we can begin the transition with departments prime for the new workplace.

1. Establish the reason

Companies cannot adopt all trending things, even if it seems like the right choice. First, they need to decide if it works for them. Because two years from now, they should know why they chose the hybrid workplace and if it has met their expectations. Also, they'll need to provide a vision and picture for their employees of why they are making the transition.

2. State your goals

What are the expectations you have for hybrid work? If you are transitioning, you likely expect the company to improve and get better. State what those things are and how you wish to get there.

3. Who can go hybrid

Not everyone can work away from the floor. Some jobs require heavy labor or consistent physical interaction. The more companies adopt touch-free technology, the more opportunities there will be for hybrid responsibilities. However, defining who and who cannot work hybrid is essential.

4. When should they be in the office

Define the specific days or parameters required to be in the office. You can create a better policy with clear and transparent expectations. Find a way to utilize office days for things that are difficult to do remotely.

5. What tech will you use to bridge gaps

Hybrid workplaces offer many advantages, but like anything new, it has areas for improvement. Tech can solve many of the issues. Invest in great software, apps, and technology that can strengthen the modern workplace.

What is Hybrid Logistics?

61% of Supply chain leaders expect an established hybrid workplace for frontline employees (Gartner, 2022)

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, working in the supply chain industry (mainly traditional roles) might have sounded impossible. But the industry was forced to innovate when the pandemic hit.

Today, we can provide hybrid solutions for the workplace by transitioning from humans on the frontline to more technology.

The industry adopts hybrid policies and lures in the best talent through attractive, flexible options. These changes create a better supply chain and logistics industry.

In a practical sense, a hybrid policy for the supply chain industry may look like part-time physical days or specific days in the week at the workplace. It all depends on the roles and responsibilities of the employees. Leadership can attract more talent by allowing them to choose when to work their physical shifts.

Additionally, hybrid supply chain companies can invest in collaboration between all types of employees on the team. For example, employees may work off-site on a particular day while others are on-site. There should be policies and tech that facilitate them for meeting and collaborating on projects and operations.

With more flexibility comes better productive time management for responsible employees. In addition, companies can invest in the future by providing up-skilling opportunities and training. These programs are attractive for new talent and help retain your current team. As they improve their skills, they also use them in the company, creating a better organization.

Top Benefits of Hybrid Workplace

While we've already reviewed some benefits of hybrid work, below is a list to provide a birds-eye view of hybrid work for the supply chain industry.

In a survey by Gallup, they identified many of the top benefits of hybrid workplaces:

Improved work-life balance: Employees have more control of their time and enjoy flexibility.

More efficient use of time: Employees can find ways to become more productive based on hours, settings, and resources available to them with better control of their time.

Freedom to choose when and where I work: Employees are happier when they can find optimized times and places to work.

Less work burnout or fatigue: When employees have more autonomy, they can manage their mental health better.

Higher productivity: Happier employees can produce better results for the company when they are in control of their time.

Easier to coordinate work with teammates: With the tools available to us; employees can collaborate and plan much easier.

While most of these benefits are for employees, they also benefit the employer. Below are ways hybrid workplaces can improve the company and leadership:

Higher productivity: Happier teams with the ability to control their work environment can produce better, more productive results.

Better culture: When employees have flexibility, they are more positive in the workplace, which means better results, innovation, and productivity for the company.

Employee advancement opportunities: Teams have more time and resources to learn, up-skill, and provide more value to the company.

Increased quality of collaboration: With great tech and remote and physical interactions, teams have more options to collaborate.

Results-focused environment: When employees have flexibility, they know they will be held accountable. The best way to track their work is by focusing on results. This provides a straightforward metric that everyone can understand.

Improved technology and accuracy: As hybrid workplaces develop, so does their technology. Better tech will provide easier methods to track progress, find issues, and analyze data for solutions.


Friddy Hoegener


17 November 2022

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