What is Hybrid Working and What Does it Mean for Your Workplace?
As organisations reopen their offices and begin working remotely once again, many are embracing hybrid work models. Here’s what it means for your workplace.
Team leaders can schedule when teams will be in the office and how much time they’ll spend away from the office. This can ensure consistency and predictability.
What is Hybrid Working
Hybrid working, also known as hybrid work or hybrid remote work, is a work arrangement that combines elements of both in-office work and remote work. It allows employees to have the flexibility to work from both a physical office location and from remote locations, such as their homes or other remote workspaces.
Here are some key defining characteristics of hybrid working:
- Blend of In-Office and Remote Work
- Technology and Connectivity
- Adapted Office Spaces
- Employee Choice
- Reduced Commuting
- Work-Life Balance
For some, working from home during the pandemic was a welcome relief. It was a chance to spend time with family, avoid stressful commutes and work on projects that they were passionate about. For others, however, WFH was mentally exhausting and creativity-stifling.
As we transition back to normal, employees increasingly demand flexible hybrid working arrangements that allow them to choose when and where they will get work done. This means the ability to be onsite at the office a few days per week or working remotely most of the time with occasional in-person meetings.
Achieving this flexibility requires organisational strategy, remote working tools and workplace culture. Creating the right environment for hybrid working starts with collecting employee feedback and identifying what makes the arrangement engaging and productive for everybody.
For example, ensuring everyone is treated equally regardless of their work location can make a massive difference in productivity and collaboration. Encourage socialisation by introducing fun elements into meetings like Pet of the Week competitions, virtual drinks, or lunches. It’s also essential to ensure that every employee is visible and included. This can be achieved by providing multiple feedback methods, such as having a dedicated Slack channel or a quarterly survey.
What is Hybrid Working: Safety
Switching between office and home environments can be emotionally draining for some workers. It can also be a significant safety risk. Employees needing proper workstation assessments or advice on setting up a home workspace could be at risk of strains or overwork. In addition, they may be unable to switch off from work, leading to stress, burnout, and poor health.
The line between home and work can also be blurred for some, especially if they simultaneously juggle family care or household chores. In addition, they might be at greater risk of absorbing toxic workplace cultures when working remotely, and a lack of connection with colleagues can cause isolation.
While some people thrived on WFH during the pandemic, others found it isolating and creativity-stifling. Whether due to physical discomfort, mental health issues, or feeling left out of the conversation on Slack, companies must find ways to make hybrid working as productive and inclusive as possible.
Employees must receive frequent updates on how their employers are managing the transition back to normality and that they are aware of any policies that may affect them. Providing this information early and transparently can help ensure everyone feels confident and supported.
What is Hybrid Working: Collaboration
A great benefit of hybrid working is collaborating with team members no matter where they are. This requires companies to adopt digital workplace technology that can be used from anywhere, including mobile devices and cloud-based software tools. It also means creating a dynamic workplace where employees want to come into the office and have the opportunity to work together.
It’s worth remembering that not everyone will be comfortable or willing to work from home, especially during lockdown periods. Encouraging open conversations about your hybrid work model will help you to identify whether it’s right for your organisation and people.
Many employees find that combining time at the office and home improves their focus, productivity and efficiency. For example, being surrounded by colleagues can help prevent distractions and provide accountability. On the other hand, working from home can eliminate interruptions and allow them to focus more on individual projects.
Flexible hours and a changing environment can increase employees’ productivity by providing a fresh perspective. It can also reduce the number of sick days and commuting costs, saving both money for the company and resources for employees. In addition, having a balanced schedule makes achieving a healthy work-life balance more manageable. For many, this includes having a better quality of life and spending more time with family.
What is Hybrid Working: Work-Life Balance
As more offices reopen and many pandemic-era restrictions have eased, hybrid working is becoming a regular part of people’s lives. Depending on the setup, it can give employees more balance and choice in how they work. For example, some people like to come into the office for team meetings or collaborative tasks but work from home on days and projects when they need heads-down focus time.
A flexible work model also allows companies to recruit and retain top talent. This is especially important for positions that require specialised skills or are hard to train onsite, such as a project manager, salesperson, or software engineer. In addition, staggered in-office days can help reduce the need for large, costly offices and enable companies to save on rent and overhead costs.
However, as more people choose to be based at home or out of the office, employers must invest in digital collaboration and communication tools to make hybrid work successful. For example, creating a collaborative culture for distributed workers to feel valued and included is essential.
This can be done through virtual team-building activities, social chats, and in-person and online events. It’s also a good idea to establish centralised storage solutions that ensure remote workers can access work materials when needed.
What is Hybrid Working – Other useful links from our Knowledge Centre:
How to Manage Business Finances Correctly and Efficiently
Unlocking Business Potential: Strategies for Long-term Success
The Impact of Sustainability on Ecommerce Businesses
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