Employees have settled into the flexibility of working from home — and over 90% of them don’t want to go back. In fact, 39% of Americans would consider quitting their jobs if their employers asked them to return to the office full-time.

Surprisingly, employees don’t want to work from home full-time, either. What’s emerged after two years of remote working is that employees want flexibility — including the ability to choose where they work. Today, 59% of Americans say they’d prefer working in a hybrid environment, where they can alternate between working from home or the office.

Clearly, the future of work is flexible, but there’s more to building a successful hybrid environment than simply calling yourself “hybrid” and calling it a day. We talked with Vimeo’s Chief People Officer, Crystal Boysen, to get her perspective on how large-scale organizations can set up a hybrid environment that fosters connectivity and better employee communication for every team member.

What is hybrid work?

Hybrid work is a type of flexible environment that combines in-office and remote working for employees. It stands apart from remote-first or office-first environments where teams are either completely dispersed or together in a dedicated workspace. Video, project management tools, chat and collaboration tools, and other resources help connect hybrid employees so they primarily share a digital workspace.

Flexible work environments empower employees to choose where they deliver their best work. It can improve their commute times and work-life balance. It also benefits companies by expanding the potential talent pool while helping reduce carbon emissions.

However, the term “hybrid work” comes with variations. Some organizations may have a mix of fully in-office and fully remote employees, while others may ask all employees to come into the office a couple of times a week.

What are the most common hybrid work models?

When we talk about hybrid work models, it’s important to be clear about what we mean. One company’s definition of a “hybrid” workplace will differ from another’s. Most hybrid work models, though, fall into one of the categories below.

An office-first hybrid work model

In an office-first model, employees are expected to come into the office most of the time, but they can each choose a day or two to work from home. This approach ensures that employees work together in-person most of the time, while still providing employees with some flexibility to their schedule.

A flexible hybrid work model

This is often the model people think of when they think of a “hybrid” approach to work. In a flexible hybrid model, it’s entirely up to employees to choose where they work from on any given day. Companies that adopt flex models will often downsize their office spaces and adopt hot desks, where employees can choose to work from any open desk for the day.

A fixed hybrid work model

In a fixed hybrid model, employees need to come into the office on set days and times. For instance, the sales team might be required to come in on Mondays and Thursdays, while the marketing team meets Wednesdays and Fridays. Compared to a flexible hybrid work model, this option allows companies to forecast how many employees they’ll have on site each day.

A remote-first hybrid work model

In a remote-first model, employees will primarily work from home, but they’ll be expected to join the office for the occasional event — such as an all-hands meeting, team-building events, customer meetings, or training. If employees live outside of office hubs, they may be flown into the office to join for onboarding, training, and special events.

A hybrid-remote work model

In a hybrid-remote model, different rules apply to different teams. Depending on their roles, one subset of employees will work from the office, another subset will be completely remote, while yet another category has the flexibility to choose where they work.

A hybrid work model in action

As an example, let’s take a look at Vimeo’s own hybrid work model, which can be categorized as a hybrid-remote model.

Pre-pandemic, Vimeo had a traditional, in-office culture. But today, we’ve embraced a hybrid-remote mix made up of three distinct types of roles:


Some roles require employees to be in office daily in order to carry out their roles effectively, so they’re 100% in-office. This includes office facilities managers, receptionists, some IT support roles, and a few sales roles.

Fully remote

If employees don’t need to be at the office to carry out their role, then they can choose to operate 100% remotely.

Hybrid or “flex” mode

If employees live near one of Vimeo’s global hubs, they can choose to come into the office as often as they’d like — with zero expectation for them to be there. They can come and go as they please.

“Over the last few years, we heard loud and clear from our employees that flexibility was the thing they cared about most,” Boysen says. “We’ve become a lot more intentional about how we approach working.”

Remote and hybrid workplace

Discover ways to make content more accessible for your hybrid and remote team.

7 tips to build and implement a hybrid work model

Think through your company and your employee needs

There are a number of ways to structure a hybrid work model. To decide which works best for your company, think through the various roles employees hold and how amenable they are to remote work. You might find that a remote-first hybrid model works well for your company, or a fixed hybrid model is better suited to accommodate ongoing, in-person needs.

Then, talk to your employees about what work models they prefer. At Vimeo, Boysen and her team surveyed employees multiple times to understand their needs and desires.

“Folks said that, number one, they wanted more flexibility, but at the same time, they missed that collaboration and connection that happens in person,” says Boysen. That led to the creation of the “flex” role that allows for hybrid working.

Once you understand everyone’s needs, you can get started on building a hybrid environment that aligns with folks’ needs and values.

Invest in a virtual workspace

In any type of hybrid environment, it’s critical that employees carry out their work in a virtual workspace. Even if some employees work on-site, all of your information and communication needs to live online, so that remote and hybrid employees remain connected and informed.To get started, here are a few basic tools you’ll want to consider:

  • A video provider. Video for employee communications is a key component for a lot of touchpoints in a hybrid environment, including: collaborative work managed in real-time or async, executive communications, training and onboarding, internal and external events, as well as client communications.
  • A knowledge management system. No matter where they’re working from, employees need to have a go-to place where they can find the resources they need — from meeting minutes to sales assets to customer FAQs.
  • A project management tool. This can not only keep teams organized, but it can help managers understand their team members’ capacities to prevent burnout.
  • A chat app. Carry out any non-sensitive, work-related conversations in public channels. Better communication helps employees synthesize what’s going on behind the scenes of different projects and deals, which helps reduce the chance of siloes developing in your hybrid organization.

Boysen also recommends investing in tools that allow employees to brainstorm remotely, track objectives and key results, and connect socially. For more ideas on remote tools for your team, check out our top tools for remote work.

Train managers to lead remotely

When the pandemic hit in 2020, people managers suddenly had to manage their teams in an entirely new way: they couldn’t gauge employees’ emotions or energy levels by walking around the room, they lost the ability to gather their teams, and many weren’t used to tracking work progress remotely.

“Providing training and education for managers on remote working is so important, because it does require a very different leadership and management style,” says Boysen. 

“Managers that may have been really effective in an office setting might struggle in a dispersed environment. So it’s essential to create a support system around managers to help them lead in a really different way.”

At Vimeo, Boysen’s team recognized the need and created a playbook for team leaders. The guide walks managers through all aspects of managing a team remotely, including how to lead effective remote 1:1s, encourage team members to set digital communication boundaries, and proactively foster a sense of connection from afar.

Don’t just stop at a playbook, either. Get feedback from managers on the people management skills that they’re struggling with, and then provide education and training to help them adapt.

Communicate often — and always online

With a distributed workforce, the need for clear and frequent communication increases. Boysen recommends dialing up the frequency of all-hands meetings to ensure everyone is kept in the loop on different projects and initiatives.

“We increased the frequency of our kind of global communication, so people could get on the same page more consistently,” she says. “There’s a need to get better information on a more frequent basis out to your employee base.”

Use a video events platform like Vimeo Enterprise to produce all-hands, team meetings, or training. To keep employees engaged and combat Zoom fatigue, make sure to make meetings interactive, with Q&As, polls, and the ability for the audience to ask questions and chat.

Keep things documented

When your employees are working primarily in a virtual workspace, it’s important for everything to be recorded and easy to find. That means using a knowledge management system, document storage, and video library, and keeping everything up to date and easy to navigate.

If an employee is looking for a certain sales asset or needs to rewatch the most recent update from the product management team, they should know exactly where to go — and be able to find everything they need. 

A good example is how our sales enablement team at Vimeo has organized their content: within their Video Library, Vimeo sales people can search for trainings, sales assets, and case studies by content type, product, use case, or persona.

Make hybrid working an even playing field

In the past, in traditional in-office environments, it was easy for remote or hybrid employees to feel like “second-class citizens,” says Boysen. If there was an in-office meeting, for instance, remote workers might be relegated to watching the all-hands from someone’s laptop camera in the back of the room. An “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy meant remote workers might be passed up for well-deserved promotions.

“One of the strongest guiding principles we have at Vimeo is we want to create an inclusive environment — and that means inclusive of all work modes,” Boysen says. “That means coming to the table with some guidelines of what you want to be in a hybrid environment.”

To make sure all employees feel equally supported, included, and valued, set guardrails around your hybrid culture. For instance, if there’s a team meeting where even one participant will be remote, every person on the call should go into separate rooms to join the video call. This ensures that the remote worker doesn’t feel excluded or miss anyone’s contributions.

Don’t forget about the fun

While making fun intentional doesn’t sound very fun, it’s a necessary part of fostering connection in a hybrid environment.

“In hindsight, one thing I wish we had done earlier was invest in recreating in-person connections online,” Boysen says. “In a hybrid environment, you have to be more proactive about setting aside time for water-cooler chit-chat and getting to know people, because people tend to just jump right into work.”

Fortunately, there are some great ways that you can foster connection from a distance:

  • Have new employees record short videos introducing themselves, and then share them across the entire organization.
  • Don’t just throw events in-office. Give teams budgets for online team-building activities, like trivia, a remote escape room, or a wine- and cheese-tasting.
  • Create new Slack channels that encourage sharing kudos, stories outside of work, and casual chats over hobbies.
  • Pair employees up for mentoring or coffee chats once a month.
  • Open team meetings with ice-breakers instead of diving straight into work.

6 ways to leverage video to connect a hybrid workforce

Hybrid work is an exercise in constant learning and refinement as organizations experiment, calibrate, and adapt to foster collaboration and productivity. As companies start to roll out and refine strategies, video will be key for hybrid success. Check out ways you can start using video to power every hybrid employee.

1. Provide full onboarding resources with an internal video library

An internal video library can help teams streamline communication and centralize important knowledge. A central knowledge base is critical not only for current employees but for new hires who need to train and skill-up for success in a hybrid and remote world.

Make sure you have the resources to produce training live and on-demand for easy employee access. Blend on-demand training videos with in-person and live working sessions to help new hires absorb information and get help from senior team members.

The go-to guide for virtual trainings

Discover how to build a great onboarding and remote team experience with video.

2. Celebrate employee milestones with video

Whether you’re welcoming a new hire or celebrating a team win — video is a perfect way to connect. We’ve got a couple examples of how to use Vimeo Create to celebrate a milestone.

Welcome a new hire

Bring in all the good energy for an employee’s first day with a personalized welcome video. Customize the agenda for the day so your new employee knows what to expect!

Here’s an example of a new hire first-day training template:

Spotlight departments, teams, and employees

Teams and employees are working hard to bring projects to fruition. Use video to spotlight their great work and thank them for all their contributions.

Here’s an example of a team appreciation video template:

3. Master the art of asynchronous communication

Asynchronous communication can help distributed teams collaborate and complete projects without the need for real-time communication. Leverage tools like Vimeo record, Slack, or Asana (just to name a few) to help teams meet asynchronously.

Here are three examples of how to power hybrid communication with video:

  • Try sending a screen record to asynchronously share Google or PowerPoint presentations, project kickoffs, or share a product demo to your internal team in lieu of scheduling a meeting.
  • Need eyes on an important email? Leverage video email to engage employees while distilling important information.
  • Host important video content in folders based on teams, projects, or topics for easy access.

4. Connect with employees using a live streaming town hall or all-hands meeting

Employee engagement can be especially difficult to sustain in a remote environment. Executives and communications team should consider live streaming video to connect with employees and communicate company-wide updates, spotlight projects, and recognize employees for their work.

How do I create a live streaming town hall?

Discover how Rite Aid built a video-first communication strategy for their virtual town halls.

5. Organize calendars for collaboration and deep-work

Time management is key to a productive and sustainable work environment. Encourage employees to build a schedule that offers time for video meetings and calls, in-person collaboration and team building, and quiet focus time. For larger internal events where multiple employees converge, like a sales kick off, virtual event, or summit, consider how to bring the team together for a hybrid event experience.

6. Stay flexible and focus on impact

A successful hybrid work environment can empower employees to choose when and where they do their best work, provide more opportunities to attract and recruit talent, and prioritize a healthy and safe working environment. However, it’s important to note that hybrid isn’t a one-size-fits all solution.

Each organization will need to implement and refine their hybrid strategy with clear goals and the openness for change. As Cal Newport mentioned in his recent New Yorker article, “the very definition of “work” itself, moving it away from surveillance and visible busyness, and toward defined outcomes and trust.” To make hybrid work, organizations will need to focus on how to empower employees to deliver outcomes wherever they plan to work.

Stay flexible with hybrid work

One of the most important parts of building a connected and engaged hybrid work environment? Stay flexible, says Boysen. Building a strong culture takes consistent work, and you should continuously be asking employees for feedback. Over time — and with plenty of on screen time — you’ll find teams can work together seamlessly, whether that’s from home or in the office.

Keep your workplace connected with video

Originally written by Bianca Galvez in July 2021 and updated by Kenza Moller on Oct 4, 2022.