The hybrid working environment is here to stay – are you ready? Our Vietnam Salary Guide 2024 reveals the benefits and challenges of this flexible model.
Whether you’re new to hybrid work or already experienced, you may face some obstacles in balancing effectiveness, well-being, and sustainability. That’s why we explored how tech companies can thrive in this new era of work, and we’re excited to share our insights with you. Here, you’ll discover some of the best practices and tips to make hybrid work work for you.
1. What is a hybrid working environment?
A hybrid working environment is where employees can enjoy the best of both worlds: the convenience and autonomy of working from anywhere, and the collaboration of working in person. It is not just a matter of setting up a schedule and a location, but a new way of thinking and working that embraces the diversity and dynamism of hybrid teams.
To succeed in hybrid work, you need to foster a culture that supports the "hybrid paradox": the paradoxical desire for flexibility and connection. This means creating systems that enable seamless communication, collaboration, and coordination across different work modes, as well as behaviors and values that promote trust, inclusion, and engagement among all employees. Hybrid work culture is the art and science of harmonizing the different ways people work.
2. Remote culture isn’t the same as before
The pandemic has changed the way we work, but not all changes are permanent. While 100% remote work was once seen as the future of the tech industry in Vietnam, many companies are now realizing its limitations and drawbacks. From skill gaps to cultural clashes, remote work poses significant challenges for employers and employees.
Thus, many tech leaders are opting for onsite and hybrid work models. According to recent findings, the IT industry is the leader among industries with the most hybrid job opportunities, followed by Management and consulting, Media and communication, and Pharmaceutical and biotechnology.
However, hybrid work isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It requires careful planning and execution to ensure that communication, collaboration, and innovation aren’t compromised. Businesses in Vietnam need to consider their specific needs, preferences, and goals to create a hybrid work culture that works for them and their customer’s journey of micro-moment (i.e., instant gratification and convenience in their interactions).
3. The right hybrid working environment signals high-growth tech businesses
What makes the IT sector in Vietnam successful in hybrid work? The answer lies in its culture of innovation and change. Technology companies are always looking for new ways to solve problems, create value, and improve efficiency. They have embraced hybrid work policies with open arms, recognizing the benefits of empowering their employees to choose the work environment that suits them best.
Moreover, their reliance on technology makes them better equipped for hybrid work, as most IT employees have all the tools they need to do their work from home. And unlike some other industries, tech companies usually prioritize results over hours worked.
This means that if you're delivering quality work on time, it usually doesn't matter where or when you do it. For instance, a software developer is working on a new feature for a web app. His manager gives him a deadline and a specification. Quality work means following that specification, testing the feature, fixing bugs, and deploying it before the deadline.
The IT sector is not only adapting to the hybrid working environment but also shaping it. As a pioneer of innovation and adaptability, this sector is poised to shape the hybrid future of work with confidence and vision.
Even more, this model is a sign of high-growth tech businesses. These businesses embrace the hybrid work model as a strategic advantage, rather than a compromise. They understand that the hybrid work model enables them to tap into a wider pool of talent, boost productivity, and reduce overhead costs.
Furthermore, these visionary businesses see the hybrid work model as a catalyst for long-term growth. They empower their employees to work at their optimal level (i.e., ideally, not just quality-oriented but effective).
Let’s recall the mentioned software developer working on a new feature for a web app. To ensure effectiveness, he needs to develop the feature that solves the right problem or adds the most value to the web application. He has understood the underlying goal or purpose of the feature, and he has designed and implemented it in a way that achieves that goal/purpose.
That’s why the percentage of high-growth businesses that have adopted "productivity anywhere, retain office culture" models has risen from 63% in 2021 to 68%. It’s expected to keep growing.
4. Five hybrid work models that work (based on real-life cases)
Model 1: Fixed office schedule and occasional remote days
Some companies value the office as the primary place for work. Still, they also recognize that their employees may have different needs and preferences, and they allow them some flexibility to work remotely on certain days.
Goldman Sachs is one of these companies. Its CEO, David Solomon, made it clear in an interview with Fortune magazine: “Remote work isn’t ideal for us, and it’s not normal. It’s an aberration that we’re going to correct as quickly as possible.”
The company thinks that its best work comes from the collective brainpower of its employees in the office. But it also gives individual managers the discretion to arrange flexible work options for employees who ask for them.
Model 2: Office-first with optional remote work
Other companies adopt an office-centric model, where most employees work mainly from the office, but have the option or obligation to work from home occasionally. These companies usually have a baseline (e.g., 3 mandatory days per week onsite) and let their employees choose where to work for the rest of the time.
JP Morgan is an example of this hybrid working environment. The company requires its employees to work at the office 3 days a week but also gives them the freedom to work from home during the last 2 work days of the week if they wish. Only a small fraction of its workforce works remotely full-time.
Model 3: 50/50 split
Under this model, companies split their employees' time evenly between the office and home. This way, employees can enjoy the benefits of both modes of work.
Microsoft understands that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to how employees prefer working. Under its hybrid work policy, employees can decide how they’d like to work, whether that’s at home or in the office.
Workers can also discuss with their managers about the work hours that would suit them best. Depending on their job, they may be able to pick which remote location(s) they’d like to work from.
Model 4: Remote-first with office visits
Some companies make remote work the default mode of work but still keep the office open for everyone. Based on the company and what its staff want, visits to the office may be optional or mandatory (e.g., once a week or every other week).
Under this hybrid working environment, remote employees have the freedom to choose their work location. They can be digital nomads, or adventurous workers who explore different places and cultures as they work.
Atlassian is a remote-first company that celebrates global diversity and flexibility. It empowers its remote workers to choose their work location and schedule. The company encourages the employees to travel the world or reconnect with distant loved ones if that’s what makes them happy and balanced.
Employees can reside in any of the 13 countries where Atlassian operates legally. This way, Atlassian can recruit employees from all corners of the world—tapping into the richest possible pool of talent and fostering a diverse and inclusive culture.
Model 5: Only from home with few onsite days
In this model, the home is the main workplace for employees, except for a few days of the year when they have to show up to the office for special company events.
Salesforce is one of these companies. It allows its office workers to work from home full-time if their job permits it. They only have to come to the office for special company events.
According to Brent Hyder, Chief People Officer at Salesforce, beyond the desk and the clock, Salesforce redefines the immersive workspace. The traditional 9-to-5 workday is obsolete, and the employee experience is enriched by more than just “ping-pong tables and snacks.”
5. Successful hybrid work models have 7 things in common
5.1. Overcome the obstacles of strategy and tech infrastructure
The hybrid working environment comes with its own set of challenges. How can you ensure that your team works effectively, regardless of where they are located? How can you create a tech infrastructure that supports your hybrid work model, without compromising on security or performance?
These are the questions that you need to answer before you embark on the hybrid work journey. Design a strategy that aligns with your business goals and empowers your employees to work flexibly and effectively. You also need to invest in the right technology solutions that enable remote collaboration and project management.
Still, this is not a one-time task that you can ignore afterward. You need to adopt an agile mindset and constantly evaluate and improve your tech infrastructure and employee workflows. You’re recommended to listen to the feedback from your employees and adjust your tools and processes accordingly.
Another example is creating a strong cybersecurity culture that is not just about having the right tools and systems in place. It's also about building awareness and fostering good cyber hygiene habits among your employees, especially in a hybrid working environment.
This means providing regular and relevant training for all employees, regardless of their technical expertise or role. Moreover, it means breaking down the language barriers and potential ambiguities that may arise from new developments. As an example, you’ll explain to your employees what your security framework means and how it applies to your organization, regardless of its size. Also, emphasize the link between technology solutions, culture, education, and mindset. As Prof Sally Eaves, Luxembourg Parliament Keynote speaker, puts it:
“You don’t flip a switch, download an app, or take a pill to ‘become’ zero trust, it isn’t something you can simply install or buy and be once and done—it’s an ongoing every day and shared responsibility journey - not a destination”
The good news is that you can prevent up to 98% of cybersecurity threats by embedding strong cyber hygiene practices among your employees. This can include simple steps such as using 2-factor authentication (2FA), virtual private networks (VPNs), and encrypted USBs. There are also more advanced measures like conducting immersive cyber response rehearsals and using dedicated internet, which can offer more security than shared internet.
5.2. Empower your people in a hybrid working environment
As an organization, you should reflect on these questions:
How can you understand and meet the needs of your employees?
How can you help your employees thrive both professionally and personally?
How can you foster a healthy work-life balance for your employees?
What are the barriers and challenges that hinder their productivity, effectiveness, and satisfaction?
For instance, to create a smooth transition between work and home, you may deliver equipment to your employees who work from home more than 3 days a week, including monitors and laptop docking stations. Office spaces are also designed so employees can easily plug in their laptops and have the same setup they do at home.
Besides, employees have access to mobile unified communications clients so they can use their business number anywhere. With this mobile option, they can switch between the softphone on their laptop at the office and mobile phone when on the move.
Also, smart cameras assist facilities teams in monitoring and tracking entries and exit into specific locations, such as meeting rooms or huddle spaces, to analyze traffic patterns and how spaces are used. In case of an outbreak, this footage can help identify which employees have been exposed. This information also guides decisions around office layouts and collaboration spaces.
5.3. Unite on-site and off-site staff with common goals
Make these staffers aware of what each other is doing:
Use a digital platform to monitor tasks
Celebrate successes and good work with the whole staff; share praises through messaging channels, such as #OnTheFridge
Craft bespoke plans for each project’s success::
Start with kick-off meetings where communication and hybrid policies are clarified
Choose days of the week when team members are expected to be in the office; respect teammate time zones
Promote unity and cooperation among on-site and off-site staff:
Establish a digital “water cooler,” where staff can have fun and casual conversations, eg, #LaughOutLoud
Decide the frequency of all-hands meetings; off-site and on-site workers need to mingle and bond with each other
Modify management styles to accommodate hybrid workers:
Be aware of stress and burnout and create a safe space for employees to talk
Think about creating a wellness program that both off-site and in-office people can enjoy
Schedule regular, consistent, and recurring check-ins. Don’t forget to chat about non-work topics
Adapt communication styles and channels to each employee
5.4. Separate culture from location
Creating a positive and productive organizational culture in your hybrid working environment requires both celebrating the good and addressing the bad. People communicate differently depending on where they are and how they connect. But we can foster a culture of growth and innovation in various ways, even without meeting in person, thanks to the emerging technologies of Extended Reality and Metaverse.
These offer a new dimension of immersion for working together, sparking creativity, and learning new skills. For instance, they can enhance empathy, which is vital for building trust and mutual understanding.
Data-driven insights can also inform change. A good example is how AI, machine learning (ML), and spatial sensor technologies help us understand what behaviors are happening in a given space, and then use that knowledge to improve. Crucially, you “check the pulse” of your organization with regular surveys and listen to what your current and potential employees want from their work. This is the key to making a hybrid working environment.
A recent hackathon showed us this clearly, as the hybridity of work allowed employees to volunteer in a 3rd space (the hackathon venue) and use their existing skills to support Gen Z participants, while also developing new ones along the way.
This also led to new insights, such as how these events can be a great way to attract new talent who can show a range of skills and mindsets throughout the experience. Moreover, they seem to be more interested in joining an organization that shares their values, especially on sustainability and inclusion, and that lets them showcase what they can do, for example in a video upload, before applying for a specific role. Isn't that intriguing?
5.5. Go beyond productivity metrics to measure team spirit and satisfaction
As a follow-up to point 3, eliminate any redundant or repetitive meetings, and for the ones that remain, make sure they are highly productive. For example, ending a meeting 5 minutes before the hour can give everyone a much-needed breather in a hectic schedule—it might be the only chance for a wellness break in a day full of appointments and will be warmly welcomed by all.
Besides, be open to experimenting with different formats and styles. This could involve organizing asynchronous meetings where employees collaborate on a project across different time zones, fostering co-creativity and alignment. This is also a great way to promote inclusion.
Furthermore, when assessing the outcomes of meetings, projects, and hybrid working environment arrangements in general, productivity metrics are often the default option. But they can be tricky and sometimes miss the bigger picture, especially for roles such as the knowledge worker. Instead, measuring engagement levels and sentiment over time can provide more meaningful insights into how effective, motivated, and aligned your teams are. Be ready to explore new horizons in defining what success looks like!
5.6. Empower leaders to tune in, not tune out
Again, managing hybrid workers requires a new set of skills and mindsets to foster a sense of belonging and engagement across physical distances. According to Gallup (2022), leaders need to learn how to read and react to virtual cues, such as tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions.
They can achieve this through personalized coaching that focuses on STEAM skills, which combine science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics with empathy, emotional intelligence, and proactive communication. These are the “enduring capabilities” that help people to learn, apply, and adapt to a changing world. They also boost their confidence and resilience in the face of uncertainty.
By developing these skills, leaders can connect with their teams on an emotional level, not just a physical one. For instance, by integrating themselves into their team's workflow, they can facilitate agile and co-creative problem-solving. By recognizing and celebrating their team's value and contribution, they’ll make them feel seen, not just seen. This is management by enablement, not enforcement.
5.7. Find the best IT talent for your hybrid work needs with JT1
At JT1, we’re more than just an IT recruitment agency. We are your strategic partner in finding the best talent for your business needs. Whether you need temporary or permanent workers, we have a flexible and diverse pool of Vietnamese IT professionals who can work on-site or in a hybrid working environment, as per your project and customer demands.
We’ll connect you with specialized skills and expertise that are hard to find in-house or in your local market. By working with us, you’ll boost your employee engagement, productivity, effectiveness, and well-being, as we empower them to choose their optimal work environment and schedule.
Moreover, you’ll foster a culture of inclusion and fairness since we create opportunities for workers from diverse backgrounds, locations, and experiences. Our unique dynamic persona modeling methodology helps you design the right structure for your hybrid workforce and company culture.
More specifically, JT1 brings together IT candidates and you to align your needs, technology requirements, and business objectives. We use job descriptions, employee interviews, and their historical behaviors, knowledge, and experience to build dynamic personas or groupings of candidates that share common characteristics.
Get in touch with us today and discover how JT1 will help optimize your budget and maximize your efficiency for the hybrid working environment.
Plus, get access to our exclusive Vietnam Salary Guide 2024 and see how much you can earn as a remote IT professional. Compare your salary with the market average and discover your worth. Boost your career prospects and negotiate with confidence!