A woman smiles as she works on her laptop from the comfort of her home.

Hybrid work is the new remote work

As businesses return to traditional office settings a hybrid approach could be the best option to balance business objectives and employee expectations.

NWOW Staff
May 12, 2022
Date Published
11 minutes
Time to read
Remote and hybrid work
Category

As businesses return to traditional office buildings, a hybrid approach could be the best working model for their teams. However, firms may face certain obstacles when combining remote and in-office staff. ‍

Businesses are discovering that workers are becoming desirous of remote work while others still prefer the traditional models. Those who began working remotely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic largely favor it and plan to do this in times ahead. This enables them to safely communicate, call, meet, exchange material, and work from any location.

Organizations with knowledge workers, can no longer claim that they cannot function remotely, but they also cannot expect workers to return to their workplace full-time owing. The hybrid model is the commonest answer, and it's one that every company appears to be adopting recently.

Table of contents

What is hybrid work?

What's a hybrid work model? Hybrid Work is a method of creating a work environment that is tailored to and for the employee, no matter their physical location. It allows employees to work off-site, on-site, and in different places. All workers benefit from hybrid work because it encourages inclusivity, well-being, job motivation, and engagement.

It entails far more than just where people work; it's about enabling efficient, simple, and safe interactions from anywhere. Artificial intelligence and automation are examples of breakthrough solutions that help create more and new intuitive job experiences that people can fully participate in.

Future hybrid workforces will require safe and smooth access to corporate software as well as feature-rich, user-friendly collaborative tools. This enables them to safely communicate, call, meet, exchange material, and work from any location.

A hybrid workplace could also include workers required to be on-premises. Some of these workers could be working on various days and shifts. Alternatively, certain groups may set aside certain days for get-togethers, meetings, and other events.

Variations of the hybrid work model

There are four main types of hybrid work paradigms to think about. You can choose one of these as a beginning point contingent on the angle your organization is coming from and where it is headed.

The Remote-first or at-will models

The terms "remote-first" and "at-will" are interchangeable. They both provide workers the option of prioritizing remote work. Staff can still operate on-site using this work structure. The company's employees will have access to concrete co-working offices and spaces. This sort of job structure has several benefits.

Workers have the option of going to work or staying at home, depending on their inclinations. Those who like to work from home could do just that, while those who like working in office environments can come and go as they choose. As a result of this hybrid work paradigm, each employee may use the most effective work techniques for them, theoretically maximizing your team’s efforts.  

Leaders must trust their workers' judgment in both hybrid work arrangements. It's up to an employee's sole descretion to choose when it is essential to physically report to work. Using this type of arrangement demonstrates that you value your staff and may help to boost their satisfaction in their role. It is possible to strengthen your connection with your employees by fostering this trust.

Then again, this type of work arangement is not without it's challenges.

While remote-first and at-will models might improve productivity and efficiency, they could also be risky in terms of operations.

If your business chooses to downsize it's physical office spaces or takes on additional teammembers without adding desk space, surprise or uncoordinated visits from employees to the office may result in too many people and not enough desks.

The office-first approach

In the office-first approach, all workers can operate from the office or at home, just like the remote-first and at-will approaches. The office-first paradigm, on the other hand, expects the workers to be more physically present in the workplace.

As a result, the office-first strategy is far more straightforward to execute. You don't have to do several digital modifications or modify procedures. Only a few aspects of your policy, like office attendance, will have to be tweaked. The office-first strategy is appropriate for companies that rely on teamwork to be productive. It enables team members to carry out their tasks while giving room for individual work and flexibility.

In other industries, like manufacturing or construction, the office-first approach is the sole practical option for mixed employment. For businesses that depend on digital and individual outputs, this paradigm may be detrimental. Furthermore, for workers residing far from the workplace, the office-first paradigm may diminish productivity.

The Split-Week Model

The split-week concept is a schedule-centered hybrid work strategy. This system operates by designating days for both remote and on-site work. One division, for instance, may operate at the workplace for the first three days of the week.  

Then, for the remaining days, you can designate additional teams to be physically present at the workplace. Your workplace will be less crowded as a result, and employees will have more opportunities to collaborate and regroup consistently.

If you are willing to take a risk, you may attempt to lower your workers' work hours. Unilever is just one of several multinational behemoths that have successfully tested the four-day workweek.  

The split-week strategy, on the other hand, might boost your business's expenditures. Nonetheless, you may be responsible for your workers' hybrid working expenditures, such as higher electricity costs in addition to other office bills and some other maintenance charges.

The Week-By-Week Model

You may adopt the week-by-week approach if you are skeptical that the split-week approach is ideal for your firm. You will be designating work weeks that particular worker groups must be visible around the workplace in this work setting. They could then work from home for the next few weeks.

You can schedule chosen team members to work full-time in the workplace for one week. Then, during the following week, the members of the other teams might physically show up to work alongside them.

Organizations with a huge number of workers benefit the most from this sort of hybrid work arrangement. With this design, you may significantly minimize the amount of office area needed for your activities while also lowering your overhead expenditures.

The absence of job flexibility in this paradigm is the difficulty with its adoption. Unexpected issues may arise during the weeks set aside for remote working. Emergency meetings might also cause schedule disruptions every week.

What is the difference between hybrid and remote work?

Remote work is distinct from hybrid work. The key contrast is that staff in hybrid work split their time between regular in-office work and remote work. In other words, hybrid models incorporate both time spent working from home and time spent in the office. It's entirely up to employees to determine what time is best suited for them.

To enable remote working for all employees in a remote working system, the organization must implement a centralized communication and collaboration solution. Employees working in a hybrid workplace may use office time for team building and meeting-related activities. On the other end, remote days enable staff to work independently.

Working from home allows you to save money and time commuting to work. Employees in a hybrid environment will only be required to commute during onsite work times.

Organizations that implement remote solutions may realize cost savings in areas such as transportation and parking. By implementing a mixed work environment, considerable cost savings may be realized in the workplace. This can include stationery, furniture, and rent.

What are the benefits of hybrid working?

As the study by McKinsey & Company backs up these findings, with 52% of employee respondents preferring a hybrid model:

Skilled workers reap the greatest direct benefits from hybrid employment. These advantages differ depending on the type of hybrid working that is being adopted inside a certain company, team, or department. Below are some of the benefits of hybrid working:

McKinsey & Company graphic showing employee preference for in-person, hybrid, and remote work options.

Productivity gains and employee satisfaction

Workers generally feel more encouraged to maximize their skills as a result of the enhanced flexibility that the hybrid work strategy brings. By extension, this has a favorable influence on their performance.  

Workers can operate in the setting that best matches their job-related demands using a hybrid work paradigm; some workers may flourish working from the comfort of their homes, while others may require a distraction-free and peaceful work environment in a workplace.  

This degree of flexibility, which allows for working from home, in the office, or a mix of both, contributes to increased worker satisfaction by allowing workers to sense more confidence they have among themselves and their coworkers.

Increased opportunities for lifelong learning

Another essential component of the hybrid work paradigm, which is often underestimated, is that it enables workers to engage in continual learning beyond their typical work context. This implies that if they spend a part of their workweek right from their workplace, they may spend the rest of their time operating from home on self-improvement objectives, which can result in improved growth opportunities and professional performance.

Better relationship and communication

A hybrid work paradigm, contrary to remote work, provides for face-to-face contact and cooperation, which is favorable to robust team building and, as a result, improved employee engagement.  

Allowing workers to interact and engage in person will help increase cooperation across workgroups, teams, and departments, as well as strengthen work relationships.  

That's particularly true in our modern environment where several employees communicate and collaborate with their coworkers via screens rather than face-to-face interactions.

Improved mental health outcomes

Working from home has shown to be beneficial to several people's mental health. It has alleviated many of the pressures associated with a more typical work environment, like the difficulty associated with commuting or the stress of working longer hours in official contexts to deliver a task on time.  

Due to this extra freedom, workers are free to explore additional options to enhance their overall health.

Challenges of hybrid work

Organizations, like individuals, have their own personas. But they're also less distinctive than they believe, and that's why they have their own problems too. Hybrid work isn't any different. The major obstacles it poses, for instance, are remarkably common, as are the conflicts leadership must face choosing the right course of action. If you are having trouble managing a hybrid workforce or team, first learn about the obstacles associated with it. Consider the following examples of the challenges that are characteristic of hybrid work.

Communication

It's self-evident that relying on technology causes basic communication problems. When most of us initially shifted to totally remote work when the deadly virus surfaced, we faced technological challenges, but the adjustment to hybrid working may be just as tough.  

There are practical issues that hybrid work brings. Should everybody in the workplace, for instance, check in from different PCs if other individuals work from home to ensure competition? Is it possible that this causes more difficulties than it fixes?

Coordination

Coordination is a need of any collaborative effort, however, collaborating with hybrid teams provides much more coordination issues than operating with face-to-face groups.  

The danger is that "dividing lines" between people who are working together physically and people who operate remotely can readily form, according to academics.  

They are left out of tiny exchanges and small choices done by people that are working as a team in the workplace due to the extra effort necessary to collaborate with distant counterparts.  

People can be shut out of larger dialogues and more critical choices with time as they become used to who's hooked in and those who isn't.

Connection

The difficulties of connectivity extend beyond issues of logistical collaboration and technological communication. Also, there is the issue of societal relationships, which might be jeopardized or completely lost during remote work.  

Everyone knows how vital mentorship connections and professional networks are for career advancement, and we also know how difficult it is for minorities and women to create and maintain them. Also, personal ties are culturally sustaining and vital for our mental well-being, according to a study.

Creativity

Hybrid work puts two sorts of creativity at risk. Individuals can brainstorm through teleconferencing, but scheduled times and methods for generating new ideas might not be as successful as the much more dynamic talks, sidebars, and unforeseen things that might occur when we toss ideas about with others or collaborate intently on addressing an issue together.

Culture

This, like inventiveness, is an issue that senior executives are growing increasingly worried about as the coronavirus outbreak progresses and the chances of getting people back to work appear to be dwindling. Businesses were delighted in the early times of remote work as at how busy and involved their employees appeared to be.  

However, this was most likely a sign that these workers had all collaborated before the outbreak and learned a great deal about the process of doing so successfully, as well as their knowledge of the industry's conventions, beliefs, and objectives.

Best practices for managing hybrid teams

Clarify the rules

Setting rules and boundaries upfront and enforcing them is the first move to effectively manage remote employees. The specific regulations will differ for each team, but workers must understand what is anticipated of them.

For example, you may decide in advance that the staff would meet every day to document progress and discuss any difficulties. Setting norms and objectives earlier will assist guarantee that the team follows them and will create consistency.

Regular communication

Shifting to working remotely may be disconcerting for certain individuals, but when you check in daily with the rest of the team members, particularly in the early times, could be immensely beneficial.

These everyday check-ins may be used to review progress, offer feedback, and determine whether your team has any queries they would like to pose. The regularity of your team meetings might be decreased as your team tends towards more establishment.

Define goals and objectives

Because working remotely solutions is lacking in-person oversight, performance is often an issue. Personal productivity may decline, even though research has shown that average output doesn't decline in most instances.

There are solutions for tracking productivity levels, but they can be obtrusive and might not offer a clear picture of all types of activities in the first place.

Use the appropriate software

Next, ensure that members of your team have the right software program they require to efficiently do their jobs and complete the job they've been assigned. The specific choices here will be determined by your team's actions.

Team members require accessibility to communications tools such as zoom or Microsoft Teams, as well as essential apps such as Google Workspace or Microsoft Office when they are not using specialty software.

Make an effort to be more adaptable

Several workers like the ability to work from home. Working remotely is an excellent way to start or build on this type of adaptability.  

You may choose flexible part-time jobs with work times based on the task being undertaken and how the amount of real-time cooperation that is necessary. This has led to huge team spirit and lengthier retention of valuable employees in several circumstances.

Conclusion

As employees fall in love with the Hybrid work model, it is becoming one of the fast-growing alternative styles of work. No doubt that hybrid work will keep being continuously adopted by more companies.  

Although there are some challenges with the hybrid work model, the benefits are endless as it creates more opportunities to boost engagement and productivity and create a whole new form of client connection. 

To succeed in the future workforce, it's important that companies to set up a fair environment that is suitable for all their employees, irrespective of their current geography.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

As businesses return to traditional office settings a hybrid approach could be the best option to balance business objectives and employee expectations.

What’s a Rich Text element?What’s a Rich Text element?What’s a Rich Text element?What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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