Hybrid Work Model: Boon or Bane?

The hybrid work model was never a necessity; rather, this work model was born out of necessity.

When the pandemic hit the world in 2019, companies were forced to vacate their offices, and full-time remote working became the new norm.

As things normalized, employers as well as employees devised ways to work remotely and maintain performance. They saw the definite positives of working from home.

Companies increasingly adopted the “hybrid working model,” a model that combines business demands with employee needs. It allows employees to work from the office a few days a week and spend the rest, working from home.

The hybrid work model is here to stay, but is it worth the hype?

In this blog, we will explore what a hybrid work model is, its pros and cons, and whether it is the right choice for your company.

What is a Hybrid Work Model?

The hybrid work model is a blend of both onsite and remote work. This means that employees can divide their working days between doing their jobs remotely and coming into the office, depending on the needs of the organization.

Hybrid work schedules may vary according to the company and industry. Some employees may work three days in the office and two days remotely. Others may spend three months at the workplace and the next month checking in online.

Pros of Hybrid Work Model

In these changing times, the facility of being able to work from home is now a priority for employees. 

According to Envoy with Wakefield Research, 47% of individuals would likely look for a new job if their company didn’t adopt a hybrid model.  

Another global survey by McKinsey revealed that 64% of employees would like to work from home one to four days a week.

This means that more and more businesses are considering adopting hybrid working permanently. The flexibility offered by a hybrid work is unparalleled.  Let’s discuss some of the advantages that it offers:

1. Increased Productivity

One of the most important lessons from the pandemic has been that working at a designated desk is not necessarily more productive than working from the hills or a nearby coffee shop. Hence, one of the major pros of the hybrid work model is an increase in employee productivity.

In fact, a study by Stanford researchers says that employees are 13% more productive at home.

When employees work remotely, the focus shifts from how long they worked to how many tasks they finished. It is no longer about the hours they have worked. What matters is work quality and punctuality, which lead to a more productive work environment. When employees have the freedom to choose when and where they work, they usually do a better and more efficient job.

2. Better Work-Life Balance

When employees have the freedom to work from anywhere, they want—whether it is at home, in a co-working space, or in a coffee shop—it has a positive impact on their work-life balance and overall job satisfaction.

Employees have greater control over their schedules and do not have to waste hours commuting. This allows them to get home earlier, sleep better, take care of the elderly and kids, and spend more time with their loved ones.

Commute time can also be utilized for other activities such as going to the gym, reading, or socializing with friends. This can have a significant impact on employee mental health and overall well-being, resulting in increased employee satisfaction and fewer early-morning traffic rants.

3. Reduced Costs

One of the most obvious benefits of a hybrid working strategy is lower operational costs. When employees are not required to work from the office every day, businesses can reduce occupancy levels to save money on rent, office supplies, electricity bills, and other company expenses. Companies can then use those cost savings to expand their businesses by hiring new employees and investing in marketing and promotional activities.

Employees’ commuting costs are also reduced in a hybrid workplace. They can save money on transportation by not having to commute to the office every day.

4. Greater Retention

It can be time-consuming and costly to attract and train new talent. Hybrid work enables companies to retain their employees and lower their turnover rate.

In fact, 82% of employees surveyed in 2021 by Forrester study said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options.

5. Larger Talent Pool Availability

Hybrid work gives businesses access to a larger pool of talent and expands their hiring criteria. This way, they can recruit employees from far-off locations and open themselves to hiring employees who need more flexibility around their schedules.

Hybrid employment allows your organization to attract people who would not have otherwise been able to fulfill the role if it were office-based five days a week. When it comes to finding the top personnel, location is no longer an issue.

Cons of a Hybrid Work Model

Clearly, the above-mentioned advantages of the hybrid work model are very appealing to many companies. But any workplace that wants to implement a robust hybrid working strategy needs to be aware of the possible downsides as well.

In particular, the hybrid model has a few disadvantages that companies should think about before committing to it. Let’s look at some problems with the hybrid work model:

1. Lack of Workplace Culture

Implementing team-building exercises and activities to develop a workplace culture in a hybrid environment can be difficult. Employees may find it challenging to build and sustain relationships with their co-workers because they do not interact with them every day.

Luckily, there are many ways to promote team building in a hybrid workplace. Using video conferencing software for meetings allows employees to talk face-to-face as if they were in the same room. It’s also a good idea to organize regular in-person or virtual activities to allow staff to bond and get to know one another.

2. Communication Issues

When it comes to real-time communication, nothing beats being in the same office and being able to walk up to someone’s desk and ask a question.

There are tools like Skype and Zoom that can help your team stay connected no matter where they are, but it can still be difficult to avoid communication delays.

The easiest method to enhance this is to make sure everyone on your team understands what is expected of them in terms of communication. You can set out expectations in your communications guidelines to ensure that messages don’t go unread for too long.

3. Burnout

Working from home can be a disadvantage for some employees due to the lack of boundaries. Employees may feel the need to be on call more frequently and complete more work than those in the office. While this means that employees might get more done, it might lead to a lower quality of work.

Not only do burned-out employees experience a decline in quality, but when they leave, organizations have to invest additional resources, time, and money into training their replacements.

By making it clear when employees should be online and when they should be offline, businesses may be able to create a healthy work environment that both attracts and keeps good employees.

4. Increased Threat of Cyber Attacks

When employees work from home or in public places, cyberattacks become a pressing issue.

Businesses need to protect their company and employee data with regular software updates, ad hoc testing, password management systems, and multi-factor authentication systems. They should also have a plan in place in case a data breach happens.

It is also a good idea to teach hybrid workers why security risks are important and how to avoid them.

Conclusion

Many companies believe that the hybrid work model is the way to the future of employment. It may undoubtedly provide incredible benefits to both people and enterprises. However, hybrid work does not come without its own set of difficulties. The hybrid work paradigm is not for everyone and may not be the best fit for your company. Weigh the above benefits and drawbacks to see if the hybrid work model is right for you.

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