Hybrid working model – a new trend or necessity?
The previous year was a year of change, not only with attitudes to safety and health but also in the form of work outside the office. Due to the quarantine, numerous companies, such as Twitter, permanently moved their employees to remote work. Today, however, not all businesses can provide this option, and so a hybrid form of work has become a new alternative.
What is a hybrid workspace?
A hybrid workspace takes place when employees are given the option to work remotely or from the office. This mode leaves employees with the choice of working in an office, from home or using both formats. Hybrid workspaces can also have the physical attributes of flexible office space. Employees can choose the part of the office that best fits the type of work they are doing at the time, such as sometimes needing to concentrate in a quiet space and sometimes needing to socialize with colleagues over a cup of coffee.
More importantly, a hybrid office gives employees complete freedom to choose where and when to work at maximum efficiency. The best example of successful implementation of a hybrid work model is Microsoft, which offers their employees work remotely at least half of a week. Let’s take a look at how this trend came about and discuss some of its pros and cons.
Benefits of the hybrid workspace model
Historically, some managers have viewed the hybrid workspace model with some degree of suspicion, believing that if employees could choose their hours, they would simply work less. This turned out to be completely the opposite. In a Microsoft research on the impact of the pandemic on company productivity results across Europe, 82 percent of executives said their companies at least remained as productive as they were before the pandemic. In a hybrid workspace, flexibility allows employees to use their time more efficiently.
Being able to work at a convenient time and place has a positive impact on employee satisfaction. The SurveyMonkey 2020 study says that employees who worked remotely feel more satisfied than their colleagues who stayed in the office. There are many reasons for this, from the psychological benefits of having complete control over one’s schedule to the trivial presence of a dog around while working. Being able to wear casual clothes, cook more, and spend time with loved ones contributes to a better mood. Moreover, avoiding using transportation during rush hours makes employees happy, more rested, and less stressed, which leads to better performance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not finished yet, and other strains of the virus are appearing here and there, let alone the next possible pandemics that are predicted. By protecting employees, companies show the manifestation of the duty of care. A hybrid workspace limits the number of people in the office simultaneously, and it’s therefore wonderful for safety reasons.
In a hybrid office, there is no need to line up multiple rows of desks. Instead, a successful hybrid office consists of versatile spaces designed to allow employees to comfortably perform various tasks. There are standing desks where you can plug in your laptop, lounges where you can check emails in a relaxed environment, soundproof booths for phone conversations, and coffee areas for informal conversations with colleagues.
By knowing how many employees will be in the office at any given time, employers can re-plan occupancy rates to reduce costs for rent, stationery, and other corporate expenses.
Disadvantages of the hybrid workspace model
If unchecked, a culture of overwork can creep into the hybrid workspace model. Remote employees may work longer hours and take shorter breaks than their counterparts in the office. They are concerned that being out of sight may give the impression that they are working as little as possible, so they try to overcompensate by staying late or by being available after hours.
When an employee with a flexible schedule finds time for themselves during the day, it can create guilt that makes them work harder, causes more stress, and ultimately leads to burnout.
Increased dependence on technology
Separating a business from its physical premises is huge and challenging, but a hybrid workspace should work regardless of location. The same cloud-based remote productivity packages like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 allow the hybrid office to work from anywhere on the planet.
This means that each employee needs to be provided with the appropriate equipment and resources, including laptops and phones, to get their work done, no matter how far away they are from the office.
Team building at a distance
In a hybrid workspace, it can be quite difficult to build or maintain relationships with co-workers. Unless you’re physically in the same space as your colleagues, you can’t just walk up to their desk to talk or show a funny YouTube video. A good manager can mitigate this with corporate events where all employees can participate. By the way, previously we have discussed the importance of face-to-face meetings.
What is the future of the hybrid work model?
The familiar landscape of office work is changing in front of our eyes. Organizing a full-featured hybrid work environment holds great promise for businesses: increasing employee productivity, expanding opportunities to hire talent, reducing office space costs, building team cohesion, and more. That’s why it’s better to start acting and changing today.
How will the hybrid work model affect Global Mobility?
The world does not stop even at times of heavy pandemic, because many industries need to continue supporting humans with products and services. International relocations happened around the world during the pandemic and will no doubt continue to happen in post COVID times, even if their amount is reduced. Either a company has a central office with a hybrid work model, or refused from having a physical place in a particular location, the need for highly skilled workers won’t go anywhere.
If your company is willing to relocate employees internationally, you may consider using Clearmove for managing work assignments. Not only it helps to streamline the process and keep all important data under one roof, but also minimizes human errors and allows HR departments to manage a lot of things remotely. And this is exactly what the world needs at these uneasy times – a safe way to continue working life and automate manual processes. Contact us if you have any questions.