June 24, 2021 by Andrea Rajic

Hybrid Work Model: The Ultimate Guide

Hybrid Work Model: The Ultimate Guide

Are you wondering what the future of your office will look like?

Many employees worldwide have already embraced remote work as the new normal, and they’re not going to give up on this perk. A recent survey showed that 39% of workers were even ready to quit their jobs if the employer required them to come back to the office full time.

However, especially among executives, there are still people who don’t want to say their final goodbye to the office. A hybrid work model may be the answer that allows you to reconcile these differences and create a stimulating workplace that everyone will love. It sounds almost utopian, doesn’t it?

Implementing a new work model is never an easy job, and it comes with its challenges. So does flexible working. In this article, we want to provide you with a detailed overview of the benefits and potential downsides of a hybrid work model and help you decide if it’s the right choice for your company.

The Benefits of a Hybrid Work Model

1. Your Employees Are Happier

Who doesn’t want their employees to be happy? Happy people perform better in the workplace, so providing your workforce the options they want is undoubtedly a significant step.

In a Microsoft survey, 28% of respondents said they enjoyed working while their pets are nearby, keeping them company. Over 25% of them were also happy to spend more time at home with their kids.

Also, 36% of participants said they could bring their whole self to work - because they’re closer to striking the work-life balance we all strive for.

This means their teams and companies also experienced the benefits of employees being happy - a win-win situation.

2. Teams Are More Productive

A logical consequence of increased job satisfaction is enhanced productivity. More than half of participants in a survey said they felt more productive when working from home, especially if they could take breaks.

The productivity rate typically increases with the possibility to work flexible hours, which are usually associated with remote work.

People can identify parts of the day when they feel energized and motivated and use them to do most of their work. More than 30% of people consider flexible hours one of the crucial benefits of working remotely.

3. It Saves Time

According to a survey, 92% of people expect to work from home at least once a week post-pandemic. That means at least once a week people will be able to avoid the long hours of commuting and being stuck in traffic.

Not only does that save your employees’ time, but it also circles back to productivity. When not required to travel to the office, your employees will organize better and have more time and energy to focus on work-related tasks.

If you don’t believe that employees spend that much time in traffic, check this out: if your employee switches to telecommuting instead of going to the office, they may save up to 11 workdays a year!

4. It’s Less Stressful

Over 70% of respondents in a study said they felt more stressed at work than a generation ago. However, the hybrid work model may be able to change this for the better.

Not worrying about being late, what they’re going to wear, or if they’re going to be stuck on the highway again is a huge relief for your employees.

Reduced work-related stress benefits the overall atmosphere in your team, contributes to better interpersonal relationships at work, and allows your employees to reach their full potential and achieve better results.

5. It Reduces Your Costs

When it comes to the hybrid work model, employers typically appreciate the reduced costs it implies. For example, with fewer employees being present at the office, you’ll have lower maintenance and utility expenses. You may even move to a smaller office that fits your new needs better, so your rent and other related costs may also be lower.

Some companies could even consider combining a virtual office with an alternative (flexible) space when a face-to-face meeting is necessary.

6. It Requires Less Formality

Believe it or not, having to dress formally for work puts a strain on some people. Almost 70% of people underlined being able to dress casually as one of the main perks of working from home, a Microsoft study showed.

Of course, that doesn’t mean people will attend Zoom meetings in their pajamas. But on the days when there are no meetings, they can choose to wear jeans or any other type of clothes they’re not allowed to wear in the office, which contributes to their overall happiness.

7. You Have Access to the Global Talent Pool

In 2020, the US faced a significant talent shortage. Almost 70% of employers claimed they were having a hard time finding talented individuals to hire.

Although many companies offer help with talent relocation, they should consider offering remote work opportunities whenever possible. In 2021 and in the years to come, there’s no need to limit your access to talented people who fit into your company culture perfectly.

The hybrid work model allows you to build an international team where people from different backgrounds will bring fresh perspectives and expertise to your business.

8. Your Conditions Are More Attractive

When hiring globally, you also have more competitors in attracting international talent.

A competitive salary won’t be enough: you have to provide genuinely enticing employee benefits if you want to build a team of experts. Remote work at least once a week is among these benefits, so make sure you mention it in your job posts to increase your chances of being considered.

Flexible working conditions also help your employee retention strategy. Some employers tried to fight it and lost some of their most valuable employees. When people would rather quit than agree to go back to the office full time, it’s much better to leverage the benefits of flexible work models than to force going back to the old normal.

9. You Can Easily Record Meetings

Have you ever wished you could have recorded a super productive meeting with your team?

When you’re video conferencing, that becomes much easier. You can record any meeting with a simple click. This may seem trivial compared to some other benefits of the hybrid work model, but it can actually have several purposes:

  • You can take notes if you haven’t had a chance during a meeting or
  • You can use the recording for teaching purposes if you have new team leaders who will hold meetings on their own.

10. It Builds Career Resilience

Life rarely goes as planned, and the pandemic only confirmed it. Many businesses failed, people lost their jobs, and lots of them experienced different health issues - both physical and psychological - in the face of change.

Nurturing this flexible work model in your company helps your employees build career resilience. That means they’ll be able to adapt to career changes, perceive ups and downs as lessons and not failures, and use the conditions in every workplace to build new skills and maximize their potential.

The Challenges of the Hybrid Work Model

1. Difference Between Remote and In-Office Employees

Opting for the hybrid work model may require you to pay special attention to maintaining the balance between remote and in-office employees.

What does that mean? Remote employees may sometimes feel that they’re “out of sight, out of mind.” Research done by MIT confirms that remote workers get raises and promotions less frequently than those who work at the office, which can be an issue.

CEOs and people leaders will need to work hard to ensure these discrepancies don’t happen and provide a level playing field for all employees.

2. Chances for Burnout Are Higher

When you work in an office, you simply leave it at the end of your shift and typically don’t think about work until the following day. That’s a bit hard to achieve when you’re working from home. Remote workers tend to overwork themselves, which often leads to burnout, not to mention the fact that some teams have twice as many meetings as before the pandemic.

Helping your employees by establishing employee wellbeing strategies is a good solution. For example, gym memberships can help them have enough physical activity, and informal chats, flexible working hours, and psychological support can be crucial for improving their mental health.

3. Corporate Culture May Be Challenging to Maintain

Your company policy may be more challenging to reinforce when your team is dispersed around the globe or even the city. The days when your employees come to the office may become a burden if you only focus on maintaining the company culture.

A reconsideration of your company culture may be a logical consequence of such shifts in the workplace. Are these some policies you can remove or adjust? You can help your remote workers stay in touch with the company culture by emphasizing the core values and the mission of your company and helping them understand their role in the company’s work even when they’re outside the office.

4. There May Be Communication Issues

Video conferencing and communication tools have their limits.

When seeing someone’s face on the screen (if they choose to turn on the camera), you’re deprived of their body language and overall energy during the chat or meeting. And things may be even more challenging when you’re only chatting: you can’t even hear the tone in which something is said.

Another challenge may be to determine what amount of communication is right. Managers may feel the need to check up on their workers more often as they can’t see them, making the employees feel micromanaged.

The key may be setting boundaries and establishing some communication ground rules on the days the employees work outside the office.

5. It’s More Difficult for Coworkers to Bond

Few are the people who don’t want to step foot in their offices ever again. More people are tired of being isolated from their friends and family, and most of them also have “work friends” they enjoy spending time with.

Going fully remote means the overall job satisfaction in your company could drop as people wouldn’t bond with their colleagues as well as they could while working from the office. After all, a survey showed people among all generations want to collaborate with their coworkers face-to-face: 68% of Baby Boomers, 66% of Gen X, and 74% of Gen Z.

You can offset this by organizing meetups and company offsites where your team can bond and engage in activities that promote trust and belonging.

6. Reduction of Office Space

As there will probably be people who’ll stay at the office at least 90% of their time, it’s essential to keep them in mind. The shift to the hybrid work model calls for a change in the office space - most companies will go for smaller offices to optimize the space and utility bills.

However, it’s critical to enable people at the office to work as comfortably and efficiently as before. Companies should be careful not to deprive them of optimal working conditions and benefits they used to have since it may affect their motivation and performance.

7. Not Everyone Has Working Conditions

While some people are thrilled by the idea of working from home, others may not like it so much. Not everyone has suitable working conditions at home due to their family members being around all the time, having small children, or not having a separate room to work in.

If you have such employees, you should help them set up their home office to enable them to do their job. If that’s not possible, consider offering your employees to work from the nearest flexible workspace.

8. Providing Necessary Equipment and Safety Concerns That May Arise

If your employees use specific equipment to perform their work, you may need to provide it for outside-of-the-office use.

It may not be too big of a challenge when your employees only need an additional computer screen, but in some cases, it’ll be impossible to place all the necessary tech into the employee’s home.

Moreover, if there are any safety concerns regarding work equipment, the employer must ensure that it’s entirely secure for the employee to use it while working remotely.

Keep up with the Trends and Choose What Works for You

What’s the right balance between in-office hours and work-from-home days?

That’s a question only you can answer. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution in the case of the hybrid work model, which means every business needs to find what works for their teams.

Written By

Andrea Rajic

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