You probably know about remote work, but do you know what hybrid work is? While sharing some characteristics, there two work models are different. In this article, learn what is hybrid work, its benefits and how to implement it in an organization.
What is hybrid work?
Hybrid work is a flexible arrangement, in which employees are able to work both at the office and from home (or remotely). In short, this gives employees more freedom to choose where they work best.
A hybrid workplace still establishes some basic rules: some have a minimum number of days that must be spent at the office, while others also establish the frequency of remote work.
While most companies were forced to adopt this model during the height of the Covid-19 crisis, now that employers and employees alike know that work can in fact be done remotely, hybrid work is likely to remain popular even as the health crisis subsides.
What’s the difference between hybrid work and remote work?
Many employees have managed to work from home full time due to the pandemic, however this is not the same as hybrid work. The main difference is that with hybrid work, there is always the option to go work at the office.
This could be useful for important meetings, brainstorms, and other activities that require teamwork and that may be more difficult to conduct online. And while many workers have noticed that they might be more productive when working from home (less interruptions, more focus), many others have struggled to deliver results while trying to find peace and quiet in their own homes (working while coping with the noise of roommates, significant others and children can often be a challenge).
Remote work isn’t for everyone, and having the option to go to the office can prove to be very valuable to employees. The key is flexibility.
How does this model work?
Companies that choose to adopt this model need to establish clear rules for the employees. How often can they work remotely? In which contexts is it recommended to go to the office?
Furthermore, other concerns that permeate remote work remain relevant. Employees must be given the resources needed to work remotely comfortably, and communication must be clear at all times – it’s easier to have misunderstandings when you’re not in the same room.
Another concern that has been brought to the spotlight as more companies realize that some employees will always prefer to work from home, while others love to be in the office, is making sure that they all receive equal treatment, regardless of their preferences.
To tackle these issues, here are three changes that are needed when adopting hybrid work:
1. Invest in technology
As the company is still responsible for providing the infrastructure for the workers, it is imperative to invest in technology – both hardware and software – that will support the everyday work. This could mean buying computers, webcams, microphones, as well as softwares that help employees deliver results regardless of their location.
2. It’s all in the cloud
Having a safe online environment for data that employees can access remotely is key. And security is paramount, as data becomes both a goldmine and a liability which each passing day.
3. Communication is key
Have clear goals set and communicated throughout the company, and available online for all to see. Having tools to support management and communication is extremely valuable, and worth the investment, as is having a recording of important meetings.
What are the benefits of hybrid work?
Here are the three main benefits of hybrid work:
- Convenience: employees have the freedom to choose where to work from, and having that flexibility can increase productivity.
- Time management: when working remotely, employees don’t have to commute to work, which gives them more time.
- Focus: many employees have reported that they feel more productive when working remotely, as there are less interruptions and they can focus more on their tasks. This, however, is not a universal experience.
When is hybrid work a good option?
While many companies only adopted hybrid work to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, others had already adopted this model due to its benefits.
For example, if a company needs to cut costs, with hybrid work there is the possibility of reducing office space, as it is unlikely that every employee will want to go to the office on the same day.
This model also is more likely to work if there is already a culture that values responsibility over exact work hours and schedules – with hybrid work, employees have more freedom to manage their time, but without the usual mechanisms of control, employees must have self-discipline.