Definition of Blended Workplace
The years 2020 and 2021 forced everyone to become more creative in how we approach staffing needs. As a result, people started talking about the “blended workplace.” The concept of a blended family isn’t new to our culture, but what exactly does it mean when we talk about a blended workplace?
A blended workplace is an instance of when the employer takes a flexible approach to meet its staffing needs. It may include a mixture of:
- Onsite and remote employees
- Full-time employees, part-time employees, freelancers, interns, seasonal, on-call, and/or temporary workers
You may also hear this staffing model referred to as a flexible or variable staffing model.
Why is a blended workplace an important model for your business to consider?
Taking a blended workplace approach can give your company more flexibility regarding how you approach your staffing needs. This flexibility touches various areas of your operations, including:
- Arranging staff scheduling
- Calculating staff budgeting expenses
- Projecting facilities expenses
- Amortizing equipment expenses (freelancers are usually responsible for their own tools and equipment unless there is a company-specific requirement they must follow)
- Setting and meeting deadlines
Having a percentage of your workplace as seasonal, temporary, or freelance workers also allows you to flex your total staffing along with market fluctuations. This helps avoid some layoff situations because you don’t have an over-staffed FTE count — you do still have a portion of your staff that are full-time employees, though.
HAVING A PERCENTAGE OF YOUR WORKPLACE AS SEASONAL, TEMPORARY, OR FREELANCE WORKERS ALSO ALLOWS YOU TO FLEX YOUR TOTAL STAFFING ALONG WITH MARKET FLUCTUATIONS.
In this context, we must point out that a blended workplace is not intended to be a means to avoid having full-time employees so your company can skip offering benefits. That is a sure-fire way to end up with a DOL (Department of Labor) audit and a reputation of being somewhere people don’t want to work.
What is the history of the blended workplace?
The blended learning environment started gaining popularity in the 1970s. In this approach, schools offered a combination of classroom and correspondence learning. As technology became more accessible, so did various forms of learning.
Forward-thinking companies adjusted this model and recognized the value of allowing employees to work remotely from home, in a hotel while traveling, or during their train commute. In today’s work environment, blended workplaces are free to include:
- Multiple time zones
- Various geographies
- Different work styles and schedules
Suppose people prefer to have the security of a consistent schedule, benefits, tax deductions, and paycheck. In that case, they will most likely prefer to be a full-time employee.
People attracted to contract or “gig” work, however, like to have the flexibility to make their own schedule and work when it fits their life. Seasonal workers tend to be interested in making some extra spending money for those seasons or are college students that are off of school on a temporary break.
Email, video conferencing, instant messaging, and project management tracking software, among other tools, make this blended workplace easier to manage and support. Many employers also find employee time tracking tools to be helpful in this model.
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Additional resources you will find helpful
- How businesses can support the blended workplace
- In the midst of the gig economy, how can your business attract contingent workers?
- 7 big statistics about the state of flexible work arrangements
- How important are flexible work schedules? (Perhaps more than you think)
- 4 tips to avoid remote worker burnout
- The office culture shift: Making the transition to remote while keeping your company culture intact
The blended workplace can benefit your company
Taking advantage of the blended workplace staffing model gives you the chance to have full-time employees who both work in the office and remotely. At the same time, you also have the opportunity to employ contractors, part-time employees, and seasonal workers to participate in your business and growing its success.
Some people may choose to work a traditional schedule. In contrast, others prefer to work in the wee hours of the night. But regardless of when they work, as long as they provide quality work and meet their deadlines, everyone wins, right? That’s a benefit of what the blended workplace offers.