Some businesses were already experimenting with “work from anywhere” before the pandemic. And when the lockdown cast its dark shadows on the corporate world, people witnessed the inception of “work from home.”
And after a thorough fight against COVID, the world finally returned to its normal state. And that being said, it meant it was time to bid farewell to our fellow acquaintance, “WFH.” While some found peace with their goodbyes, others resented them.
So, after the pandemic, organizations had to find a middle ground to fulfill all their employees’ needs. The answer? Hybrid work.
What is Hybrid Work?
Before we proceed, it is critical to understand what hybrid work entails. A hybrid work model provides employees in an organization with a blend of in-office and remote work. Here, team members might work on-site or off-site or regularly switch between the two environments depending on the work they need to do.
One could also say that hybrid work is a people-first approach to managing the employees working at an organization more efficiently. It empowers people to work in-office, remotely, and even while moving between places, thus promoting increased productivity, engagement, job satisfaction, and well-being for all employees.
A study conducted by Accenture also found that 58% of employees were working hybrid during COVID, and these people reported stronger working relationships, better mental health, and less burnout in comparison to people who worked entirely in-office or remotely. In fact, 83% also stated that a hybrid work model would be best going into the future.
Types of Hybrid Work Models
The hybrid work model can take different forms based on the organization and the type of work to be done. The four most common hybrid work models are listed below:
1. Flexible Hybrid Work Model
The employees get to choose their working hours and location based on their daily priorities. For instance, if an employee needs to spend time working on a specific project, they can opt to work from home or from any other location they desire. Or if they feel a need to communicate with their team members or attend a meeting, they can choose to work from their office. The digital communications conglomerate Cisco is also implementing this model in their organization, allowing employees to choose where they work on any given day.
Read More: Why Flexible Workspaces Trending in India
2. Fixed Hybrid Work Model
The organization sets the days and times employees can work remotely or visit the office. For instance, some teams must go on-site on Mondays and Wednesdays, while others go on Thursdays and Fridays. It could also be the case where the organization allows employees to work remotely on pre-determined days of the week. A prime example of this model is American Express.
3. Office-First Hybrid Work Model
The employees are to be on-site but can choose a few days a week to work remotely. There are reports that Google plans to adopt this model, where its employees work in the office three days a week but can opt to work remotely for the other two days.
4. Remote-First Hybrid Work Model
The employees work most of the time remotely and occasionally visit co-working spaces or offices for team building, collaboration, or training. In this model, it is possible that the company does not possess any office space and expects the team members living in the same areas to meet up as they see fit. Twitter has adopted this hybrid work model, allowing its employees to work remotely.
Benefits of Hybrid Mode
A hybrid workplace sees more high performers in an organization due to its people-first approach. And shifting to hybrid work modes can significantly benefit both employees and organizations.
1. Increased Productivity
In the hybrid working model, employees enjoy the benefits of a flexible schedule, i.e., they can choose their working hours and location. Moreover, they experience fewer interruptions at home than in the office, considering most people now have an efficient work environment at their homes. Also, cutting the commuting time and providing the opportunity to come into the office at times when in-person collaboration is needed only helps boost the productivity of a working individual by giving them freedom from the nine-to-five workday expectations.
2. Better Work-Life Balance
Flexibility plays a major role in hybrid work, and it is also one of the reasons why people are attracted to hybrid work models. Greater flexibility and autonomy increase job satisfaction, which in turn improves performance at work as well as overall employee well-being. A report from McKinsey shows that 87% of employees would take the chance to work flexibly if their employers provided it. And an organization with an integrated focus on work-life balance can create a successful hybrid workplace.
3. Reduced Real Estate Expenses
With hybrid work models, fewer people are on-site on a given day, allowing organizations to reduce their office space or relocate their offices to smaller cities, thus lowering real estate expenses. In addition, this allows the organizations to reinvest these cost savings elsewhere – like providing more work options for employees in the form of smaller co-working spaces or satellite offices.
4. Hiring People Across the Globe
A hybrid work model allows an organization to hire people from around the globe. Having access to a wider talent pool, an organization can hire people with specialized skills, giving them a competitive edge and maximizing their productivity around the clock.
How Does Hybrid Mode Culture Work?
Hybrid mode allows employees to choose their working environment as they see fit. They can work from their homes, come into the office, or, if they so desire, from any co-working space. Here’s an example for a better understanding of how the hybrid model works: An employee could work from home for three days and from the office for the rest of the two days. Or there could also be a possibility where employees are expected to attend in-office meetings on specific days, so they decide to work on-site on that day.
The variations could go on, but the constant aspect is the flexibility they achieve from this arrangement and the added benefits of having face-to-face connections with other employees, which are important for strengthening corporate relationships.
It is also important to note that hybrid work differs from a hybrid team, where some team members work in-office entirely or on some days while others work remotely.
Hybrid Mode: Best Practices and Adoptions
The earlier shift to remote work was driven by necessity, but now organizations have an opportunity to restructure their working models. And as Forbes states, “The hybrid workspace is about enabling as much productivity as possible without costing our employees too much personal time, sacrifice, or ability to control their workday.”
Listed below are some best practices for the adoption of an efficient hybrid work culture:
1. Communicating with the Employees
Transparency and regular communication help overcome any differences that may arise in the future. Keeping employees in the loop and asking them for input will help develop an efficient working model. It is also necessary to communicate the importance and benefits of the chosen working model, which would enable the people in managerial roles to answer any questions from their teams.
2. Investing in the Right Technology and Equipment
It is essential to provide the right equipment for a safe and comfortable work-from-home environment, which includes monitors, desks, etc. In hybrid work environments having mobile and device-agnostic communication tools are also critical.
3. Focusing on Employee Experience
Getting employee feedback is an important part of developing a successful hybrid model. Regular team check-ins and progress meetings through video conferencing will also help employees stay updated on the team’s overall performance and development.
4. Maintaining an Overall Positive and Engaging Work Culture
With some people working remotely and others working from the office, it is essential to connect with everyone periodically, which is an important part of keeping engagement and the employees’ satisfaction and happiness high.
To be honest,
From the information presented above, it is clear that hybrid work culture is more than just an alternative working model; it is the future of working models, allowing employees to work according to their productivity hours and from any location they choose—their home, a coffee shop, or co-working spaces.
Organizations need to meet the needs of their workforce or risk losing their talented employees. So, adopting a hybrid work model becomes necessary because offering people the flexibility they desire will result in greater performance, which will help a business grow even more efficiently.
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We work to empower remote working across the globe and aim to provide tailor-fit workspace solutions for individuals as well as corporations.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do Employees Prefer Hybrid Work?
After the pandemic, the shift to the hybrid work model is evident. And according to the Summer 2022 Future Forum Pulse, two-thirds, 66%, of employees worldwide prefer a hybrid work arrangement. Employees enjoy the flexibility and autonomy that come along with a hybrid work culture, which helps their overall well-being and provides a better work-life balance.
2. Why Do Some Companies Choose Hybrid?
A hybrid work model not only benefits the employees but also greatly benefits the organization. With the employees getting the freedom they desire, the organization yields greater results and increased productivity. It also helps reduce overhead costs and improves overall safety. And with all the added benefits of a hybrid work model that makes employees happier and more satisfied, an organization’s brand image also enhances.
3. Why is Hybrid Work the Future of Work?
Hybrid work is no longer an alternative but a requirement. And with more and more organizations offering it, having it becomes all the more necessary. Hybrid work is something that employees expect from their organizations. Not to mention the added benefits it brings autonomy, flexibility to work from anywhere, better work-life balance, job satisfaction, and cutting off commute time, to name a few. Given the benefits listed above, it is safe to say that hybrid work is the way of the future.