Feb 15, 2023

Say hello to the Flexible Office! What is a Hybrid setup?

Woman working from home in a hybrid workplace

Hybrid work became the new normal in the post pandemic era. Employees were forced to work remotely due to the social restrictions of COVID-19, and soon they saw the benefits of working from home. No time wasted on the commute and more time to spend at the gym or taking care of family members. Office life can be full of disturbances, but it's also an arena for networking and collaboration. With that in mind, the hybrid setup came into the picture. The following article will explain why companies should consider a hybrid set up.

How does a hybrid setup work?

A hybrid set up means that employees both work from home and in the office according to their own schedule. When working completely remotely, people won’t come into the office to collaborate and mingle with their peers. Whilst people prefer working from home occasionally, it does not rule out the possibility of working in an office. In fact, many claim that they feel more motivated and productive when they can alternate between the two options. As a bonus, work life balance is improved.

The hybrid setup is based on flexibility and streamlined work processes. Office workers can work remotely or anywhere else as long as they have access to wifi and the right IT-equipment and software.

The opposite to a hybrid set up is the traditional work model when everyone is seated at their own desk all day. If someone wanted to work remotely or from home, they had to run it by their manager as there were no processes in place.

The 9-5 work model has always been the norm - here are some reasons why:

  • Lack of trust in leadership. Managers felt that employees needed to be mentored and monitored in order to get expected results. It's difficult to supervise someone in a remote location.
  • No IT-infrastructure in place for remote or hybrid work. It usually requires a VPN for security reasons, proper laptops and synchronous online communication through apps and other software.
  • Work related limitations, as some tasks cannot be carried out unless there is a client or colleague present. A dental clinic or a hospital fits the description.

Identify Which Business Setup Best Fits Your Company

What kind of companies can benefit from hybrid setups or remote working? Obviously, there’s not a one size fits all-solution when it comes to hybrid work. There are, however, some companies that could benefit from the hybrid setup.

  • Startups can benefit from the hybrid set up they are still growing and scaling. They do not have the budget to rent a big office. Startups don't know how many employees will work there in the upcoming six months. The flexible office solution is better than using co-working spaces or crammed rooms.
  • Smaller companies can gain from the hybrid setup since they might want to scale up or down, and also have the chance to build a small, solid team which communicates well.
  • It can also be an advantage for medium-sized offices who do have a well-established HQ office building but might want to locate some of their resources to another country or a different region. When expanding on new markets, hybrid work ensures flexibility.  The talent pool will also increase.

What are the pro's and con's of a hybrid set up?

A hybrid set up will benefit the employees in several ways. They can get a better work life balance by reducing a stressful commute, adjusting their schedule to their hobbies and household chores. A doctor's appointment can easily be squeezed in between two meetings. Productivity will increase as a result.

When people can influence their work day, they will probably feel more motivated and more aware of the impact of their daily tasks. And it’s comfortable too: employees can sit at whatever desk they prefer or lounge in an armchair. As long as deadlines are met by the hybrid workers.

As a manager, you are able to hire people for skill, no matter their geographical location. The team will be diverse and based on people of all backgrounds, both culturally and socioeconomically. When a company adopts a hybrid setup, retention rates are reduced and profits will hopefully skyrocket.

Motivation struggles

Of course, there are some disadvantages with letting the employees work remotely as well. Some individuals feel unmotivated when working on their own.

When no one is around, remote workers could be tempted to take unnecessarily long breaks and get distracted by another family member, pet or laundry pile. Some days, employees can struggle with motivation since they don’t have anyone around to cheer them up. Other employees forget to take breaks, eat lunch and work around the clock since they fall out of routine. As a result, they feel exhausted, both physically and mentally.

Lack of cyber security

Cyber risks are waiting around the corner and the hybrid workforce is sensitive to cyber criminals since they might use open wifis or answer the wrong email. Always strive to educate your employees and prepare them for cyber attacks and social engineering. Have them use secure passwords and install firewalls and VPN:s. 

Lack of customer service due to remote work

Another negative aspect of hybrid work set up is customer service. Some customers prefer to meet with in-house employees face to face. They might want to discuss an issue and have it solved quickly. Encourage employees to be around to welcome guests and business contacts.

It’s all about the team

A company consists of different individuals, working in everything from finance to IT. They can either make or break the company, thus the hybrid working model has to be tailored to their needs. 

If the team consists of senior workers who have been with the company for a long period of time, it could be hard to implement the hybrid working model since they are already set in their ways. It can also cause a divide between one part of the group that prefers working remotely, and another part which is reluctant to change. As a result, informal leaders and hierarchies are created and the manager is left out of the loop.

Newly formed companies that are new to hybrid work can approach the solution differently, since the workers might be less negative about change. Ultimately, it all boils down to the individuals in the company, and therefore the hybrid set up requires a strong leadership.

How to shift to a flexible office space

As previously mentioned, the success of hybrid work depends on a positive team, a practical office environment and flexible work culture. It’s equally important for managers and team leaders to lead by example and create a working environment which is suited for a hybrid setup.

Everyone should be aware of the work processes and have a clearly defined role. It’s important to follow up regularly and gather feedback from all the team members. Both those who work from home and on site.

The employee experience is enhanced with Flowscape’s user-friendly app, in which employees are able to locate a desk and other colleagues in the building easily. Thanks to cutting edge technology and educated manpower switching to a hybrid work setup will be a walk in the park.