CX Insight Magazine

April 2022

Designing A Successful WFH Hybrid Model

by Execs In The Know

Customer experience (CX) leaders know that strong customer relationships benefit brand performance. This knowledge drives CX professionals to identify and implement practices that deepen connections with customers. These leaders flourish in like-minded organizations that focus on measuring and improving the customer relationship to improve business outcomes.

The same is true for employee relationships: Companies that prioritize the employee experience are winning the acquisition and retention game, particularly in the face of The Great Resignation. As the pandemic eases and the way work gets done stabilizes, the work-from-home (WFH) hybrid model is a top choice for many organizations. And, based on recent research, this paradigm is here to stay.

The WFH hybrid model looks different for every organization, but it essentially allows employees to rotate between working in the office and from home or another remote location. Another version of this model requires some employees to be in the office full time, while others are remote. This approach is designed to give employees the flexibility that they became accustomed to after working remotely through the darkest months of the pandemic.

The success of the hybrid workplace hinges on an organizations’ ability to balance the experience of in-office and remote workers with business goals and objectives. It requires a transformation in the way leaders plan, direct, and engage employees in their organization. Although many factors contribute to a successful model, technology and employee well-being surface as two critical focus areas for leaders.


The backbone of a hybrid workforce is a technology stack that supports workflows, processes, and systems efficiently and effectively. At the beginning of the pandemic, companies hustled to get remote employees access to “must have” technology to allow work to continue. In customer support, this technology included the hardware and software needed to allow agents to receive contacts and handle customer needs.

While thinking back on these early pandemic days may cause many to shudder, the good news is that most organizations report a stabilization of the tech stack required to accomplish basic business goals. In today’s WFH hybrid environment, leaders should shift from focusing solely on the basic tech stack that enables what is accomplished to investments that improve how work gets done, including collaboration and security tools.

Collaboration Tools

Technology to help employees be as productive and comfortable as possible is at the top of the priority list. Executives are funding investments in tools that enable better virtual collaboration.

Workplace collaboration, whether in person or remote, is a modern corporate mainstay, and employees need to feel connected to work better together. Collaboration tools can improve efficiency and productivity, as well as make it easier and fun for employees to connect. Online collaboration tools have flooded the marketplace, but four types warrant attention and further investigation. Many organizations have base versions of these tools, but examining new features and expanding functionality is trending.

Security Tools

A second area of tech investment is in tools and practices that strengthen the information technology (IT) infrastructure to secure and stabilize connectivity. Ensuring that employees — particularly those outside the corporate office — have stable connections to safely access systems and data has been a priority throughout the pandemic. However, as the WFH hybrid environment gains popularity and acceptance, companies are making investments to shore up these tools and upgrade security practices.

For secure and stable access, some companies are expanding partnerships with internet service providers (ISP) and virtual private network (VPN) vendors. For connectivity, organizations are working to better understand the demand generated from remote employees and identify secure and reliable solutions to support those needs. Working with ISPs, companies can regularly and consistently trace connections, measure signal strength, and detect outages to ensure stability for employees. VPNs provide a secure tunnel to identify employees and grant access to systems and data, as appropriate. These networks allow the protected transfer of data and enable remote access to critical platforms and information.

In addition to enhancing technologies that support security, companies are also optimizing internal security-related practices. Enterprise-wide efforts can have widespread positive impacts on the WFH hybrid environment. Practices such as requiring employees to use multi-factor authentication (MFA), implementing regular password changes, and overhauling cybersecurity training are proven ways to help keep data secure. These practices, combined with technology enhancements, are helping organizations avoid security mishaps, stabilize connectivity, and increase awareness of critical issues. They can also reduce unnecessary frustration and issues, improving the employee experience.

Employee Well-Being

Of the areas critical to a successful WFH hybrid model, employee well-being is at the top of the list. Leaders frequently say that employees are the most important part of the business, and investing in programs that focus on their well-being is a great way to act on that statement.

Employee well-being impacts employee engagement. It is no surprise that engaged employees are higher performers and deliver far better outcomes than disengaged workers. Recent research takes this notion further: Gallup recently discovered that engaged workers that are not thriving in their lives are much more vulnerable and add risk to an organization.


  1. DEVELOPMENT: Do your organization’s development plans include well-being goals?
  2. RECOGNITION: Does your company share and celebrate well-being successes?
  3. COMMUNICATION: Are your messages, especially from leaders and managers, consistent with a high-performing and net-thriving culture?
  4. INCENTIVES: Do they inspire participation in activities that produce results?
  5. EVENTS: Do they build awareness of net-thriving culture and change behaviors?
  6. RULES AND GUIDELINES: Do they work for or against thriving?
  7. FACILITIES: Is it easy to move around your office space, see outdoors, and collaborate?

In the WFH hybrid environment, how are organizations successfully expanding the corporate culture beyond the office walls to include and engage remote employees? Companies with extraordinary cultures and off-the-charts employee engagement do not accomplish this by accident.

Instead, these organizations invest in programs that actively collect and listen to the voice of the employee and design employee journeys that ensure satisfaction and happiness. Many organizations use journey mapping to understand the customer experience, and it is also a great
tool to enhance the employee experience. Microsoft is one organization that uses mapping to reveal pain points and identify solutions specifically related to employee journeys. Applying these same approaches to the WFH hybrid environment is a critical component of success.

Instead of simply increasing the number of virtual one-on-ones, manager check-ins, and happy hours, companies like Zappos are extending in-office resources to remote employees to redesign the employee experience and emphasize well-being. For example:

  • Leaders share tips and advice for timely issues, such as managing remote teams
  • Family-friendly activities help employees make the most of time spent at home and focus on being mentally and physically healthy
  • Wellness and learning challenges and webinars help workers cope with new realities

When designing the WFH remote employee experience, organizations should ensure that both in-office and remote employees are treated equally and have the same engagement opportunities, when possible. Planning meetings and events with remote workers in mind is a must.

Think about something as simple as the way meetings are held. For example, rather than gathering in-office workers in a conference room and having remote workers join onscreen, have everyone join the meeting remotely using their own laptops to offer the same experience to all. Ensuring remote workers feel included, comfortable speaking up, and able to contribute is important to their engagement level.

Looking for ways to shift to communication online (rather than in-person or blended) helps organizations avoid issues that may arise from remote workers being unaware of conversations or decisions that were made in-person. Prioritizing online communication is a simple step that can improve employee well-being in a WFH hybrid workspace.


As the pandemic eases and operations stabilize, the WFH hybrid model will be a mainstay for the foreseeable future. Large and small companies alike have adopted this model to allow employees the flexibility they have become accustomed to while using office space for in-person collaboration and innovation. Designing the most effective version of this model for your organization requires increased attention and enhanced partnerships.

Focusing on technology enhancements that increase collaboration, stabilize connectivity, and reduce security risk is an important element of an effective program. In addition, concentrating on the critical aspects of employee well-being will also contribute to success.

Great companies strive to create employee experiences that drive happiness and peak performance while considering the remote employee experience. This extra planning and attention can ensure WFH hybrid model success and is less likely to leave remote employees feeling left out and disengaged. These efforts will also help protect your organization from the negative impacts of The Great Resignation, something most companies are working hard to combat.

The era of the WFH hybrid model is here. How is your organization ensuring success?


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