Aug 24, 2023

“Hang on, I’ll Brief you on Slack”. What is Hybrid Remote Work?

Blog post about working remote in a hybrid workplace

The traditional 9-5 office job remains the most prevalent work model. However, a new solution has emerged recently: hybrid work, which combines remote work and in-office attendance. The pandemic led to a surge in remote work, and not everyone is eager to return to the conventional model. In this article, we will delve into the hybrid work model, exploring its characteristics and examining its pros and cons.

What does hybrid work mean?

A hybrid job strikes a balance between remote work and in-office attendance during regular 9-5 hours. Remote work entails rarely or infrequently visiting the office and relying on chat or email for communication. On the other hand, hybrid workers operate from home or any other location, while also regularly meeting their colleagues at the office.

A hybrid solution empowers employees with greater flexibility. They can determine both their work location and schedule, as long as they meet their deadlines and weekly objectives. However, this doesn't necessarily result in a shorter workweek. The standard workweek remains approximately 40 hours, but employers have more control over how these hours are spread throughout the week. Companies have come to recognize that a more adaptable work-life approach can enhance employee satisfaction and productivity. Is your local coffee shop your preferred workspace? With a hybrid job, you can enjoy your favorite cup of java while tending to your emails.

Why do employees prefer hybrid work?

Let's be honest – we dedicate extended hours to our office jobs. Beyond the 9-5 timeframe, a significant amount of time gets squandered during the daily commute, whether stuck in traffic or waiting on a delayed train platform. Many have had to miss school events or important doctor’s appointments due to this.

In total, approximately 8-10 hours are spent away from home, and this doesn't even account for the hours spent outside of work when brainstorming for the next PowerPoint session or contemplating creative strategies. Considering this, it's no wonder that numerous employees are seeking a more flexible work-life balance. Working from home removes stressors like being late for work meetings or rushing out to buy lunch.

According to a report by McKinsey, nearly 90% of employers would readily embrace the idea if given the opportunity.

A balanced workweek

When you work from home, you can establish your own designated workspace conducive to deep work. Typically, there are no other disturbances – no colleagues engaged in loud conversations or someone tapping you on the shoulder.

With the freedom to structure your own schedule, incorporating other important tasks into your day becomes easier. For instance, fitting in a workout around noon enables you to evade the afternoon slump. You can also pick up your kids early from day care and then resume work later in the evening. This approach allows you to shape your work around your life, rather than the other way around. Moreover, it leads to a more balanced workweek. You can concentrate on tasks when you're most productive, preventing a buildup of work toward the end of the week.

How can hybrid work benefit the company?

So far, we have only explored the advantages for employees, but companies can also reap the benefits. A hybrid workforce allows you to reduce office expenses such as rent and operational costs. Streamlining real estate helps you save money. Instead, consider investing in a beautiful and practical office space that creates a welcoming environment for visitors and offers employers a sense of comfort and happiness.

A significant number of professionals relocate to larger cities to work for some of the industry's top companies, and vice versa. Companies sometimes face challenges in recruiting the most outstanding employees. Hybrid and/or remote work makes it possible to hire skilled talent from anywhere. In certain industries, such as IT, this can undoubtedly be an advantage.

What are the disadvantages of hybrid work?

Hybrid work has gained significant popularity recently, yet not everyone remains convinced. In 2022, Boston Consulting published a report stating that remote/hybrid work diminishes productivity and company growth. Almost immediately, voices arose countering the study's perspective. The future is already unfolding – hybrid work is the path forward.

Critics also contend that hybrid work is feasible for only a smaller segment of the white-collar workforce. It proves effective in specific sectors like IT or marketing. There is some truth to this claim. For instance, a nurse must be physically present at the hospital to attend to patients.

Lack of structure and motivation

Another drawback is that maintaining company culture becomes more challenging when employees don't interact on a daily basis and miss out on the opportunity to share laughter and brainstorm during meetings. Middle managers and CEOs, in particular, have voiced their concerns. They feel that they are losing touch with the day-to-day operations of their staff. Team leaders are apprehensive that individuals might become less motivated and productive. They are uncertain about how to effectively track outcomes and have even turned to unethical monitoring software, a move that garnered criticism from many.

Disconnect from colleagues and managers

People are diverse, and certain individuals do struggle with motivation when working outside the office. They've also expressed that collaboration becomes significantly more challenging, leaving them to fend for themselves (pun intended) while working remotely. Employees often feel unheard during video calls, especially when the rest of the team convenes in a physical meeting room. Additionally, advancing in one's career path can prove more difficult when not consistently present at work or participating in planned or spontaneous business meetings.

Hybrid work is undoubtedly a mixed bag. Its success hinges on how the workplace is structured and how various team members engage. One could argue that a company that is initially built around hybrid work, as opposed to an established large enterprise, might fare better. If you're considering adopting the hybrid work model, it's crucial to establish the right processes, a topic we'll delve into in the next paragraph.

Types of hybrid and remote work models for your business (H2)

There is invariably an exception to every rule. In the context of hybrid work, several solutions warrant exploration. The company's size, its prevailing culture, and the nature of tasks all influence how the model is executed. Here are a few of the options:

  • The flexible hybrid work model is likely the preference of hybrid work proponents. In this setup, employees have the freedom to select the days they work remotely and the days they come to the office. This model relies on trust between managers and employees, along with meticulous planning and communication among team members. With an appropriate level of autonomy, many employees can thrive.
  • The office-first model entails employers being obligated or encouraged to be present at the office for a specified number of days or within particular hours. The challenge with this approach is its limited flexibility, often resulting in a somewhat unsatisfying compromise. One could argue that it combines the best of both worlds, granting team leaders and managers a degree of control over the workweek while still allowing employees to work remotely.
  • Remote-first model is another solution, which involves employees visiting the office perhaps once or twice a week, or even on a monthly basis. This approach works well when the workforce is international or geographically dispersed within the country. If a fully flexible schedule is a priority, this becomes a more appealing choice. However, a potential issue is that certain employees might feel isolated, particularly if they've been with the company for an extended period and find themselves alone in their preference for in-office interactions. On the flip side, some employees fully embrace this model, as it enables them to live in another country and experience the digital nomad lifestyle.

What to consider when going hybrid-remote

Are you considering adopting the hybrid work model? Since there are both advantages and disadvantages, it's crucial to ensure that the solution is well-implemented. Here are some points to consider.

When introducing a hybrid solution, it's essential to involve different departments to ensure its success. One recommendation is to engage HR and IT early in the process. HR can address concerns related to labor laws, and IT can assist with the launch of new software. They can help with tasks like getting everyone on board with tools like Teams or Slack, or setting up firewalls. When processes are streamlined, remote work becomes much smoother.

As a team leader, encourage transparency and enable team members to share their weekly plans, perhaps by setting up a shared calendar. Even though employees may not be physically present in the office, they should remain easily reachable to maintain accountability. Properly planning the week and addressing any potential obstacles can lead to a smoother work experience.

Set your expectations straight

The entire concept behind a hybrid solution is to actively encourage people to come together at the office. By establishing a friendly and comfortable workspace, your employees are more likely to choose to attend the office and collaborate within their teams. As a middle manager or team leader, you can also ensure consistency by organizing weekly meetings and gatherings. When a company has well-defined values and promotes a specific company culture, implementing hybrid work becomes more seamless. This approach may also attract new, skilled employees who contribute to the team's sense of unity.

To ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page, it's essential to conduct regular follow-up sessions such as feedback meetings or surveys. Always maintain clear expectations and address issues as soon as they arise. Don't hesitate to share successes and celebrate together, perhaps through a fun group chat session or even by organizing a collective conference trip.

How can technology enable hybrid work?

A challenge with a remote or hybrid workplace is the difficulty in obtaining an accurate overview of how many individuals are actually coming to the office each day. This makes it hard to provide sufficient office space and meeting rooms. It can even impact planning related to supplies like coffee or the cleaning of restrooms. Flowscape Solutions offers a space management tool that streamlines employees' workdays and provides a valuable 360-degree perspective of the facility.

  • Book meeting rooms more easily
  • Manage parking
  • Analyze workplace space utilization
  • Locate vacant rooms on a visual map

Support your hybrid workplace from start to finish with practical space management solutions. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but a combination of structure and flexibility could greatly benefit your company's hybrid workforce.

Want guidance on how to set up your hybrid office for success?

Feel free to schedule a meeting with one of our product experts to learn more about our solutions and how technology can help you streamline your office processes without interfering with employees' day-to-day work.

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