You might have heard the term being thrown around in the past eighteen months at some point, perhaps with terms like “employee engagement,” “productivity,” “the new normal,” and other such phrases.
This might have been by your colleagues at work, in the media, or you may have read or heard more about hybrid work, but if you’ve wondered what all the fuss is about, we’ll discuss what hybrid work is.
Hybrid work is a working arrangement whereby the location from which employees work is flexible. With the freedom to choose whether to work on or offsite, as employees and employers see fit, the hybrid model combines working in the office and at home into an employee’s schedule.
How this looks in reality, why employers or companies would adopt it, and how it fits into the future of work, and a post-COVID-19 working arrangement are all questions we’ll look at to learn more about this newly widespread way of working.
What Does Hybrid Work Mean?
“Work from anywhere” seems to be a mantra that both start-ups are using to attract new potential employees to their company, as well as incumbents are using it as a strategy to retain employees and make positions seem more attractive.
While employees being subjected to working from home during the global lockdowns imposed in 2020, companies saw that employees could learn to work from home and still be effective in their jobs.
Making sure you know what is hosted PBX is can help in this transition related to your phone system.
With various rates of vaccinations and returning to work, this hybrid model has emerged from employees doing shifts in the office to limit the number of people there at any one time, and decisions are now being made around when and if employees want to return to the office.
Now that employees have realized the advantages of no commute and the increased flexibility they have working from home, and employers able to save on office rental and running costs, the necessity for employees to be in the office is now being reconsidered.
Hybrid working model is the flexible policy that allows employees to choose where they want to work from, typically their home or the office.
This can be totally flexible or on a schedule of having certain days, or a specified number of days per week in the office or at home. In this way, teams are connected via technology rather than sharing floor space.
How Can My Workplace Or Work Become Hybrid?
Particular types of work, such as assembly line work or many positions in manufacturing, cannot be hybrid at this point and needs to happen in person. Any role that involves physical labor of any sort remains just that – physical.
Knowledge work, on the other hand, can be hybrid, as much of what is shared is not physical but rather information or ideas.
Given that most of this sharing is digital these days, there is no reason from a function point of view for employees to be in the same room. A face-to-face meeting can be replaced by Zoom or other digital face-to-face to voice calls.
Having a hybrid workplace looks different, depending on whether you are an employer or an employee. As an employer, it allows you to downscale your office rental space if you have fewer staff coming in to use it.
In addition, instead of employees having their own desks, the concept of hot desks, where any employee can choose any open desk that is available on the day they’re in the office, is becoming more popular.
From an employee’s point of view, meetings will be online, and having a stable phone and internet connection from home, as well as a quiet place from which to work, will be essential.
Days can feel more intense, as there aren’t the water cooler or coffee machine chats, or other interactions that give one a mental break from the workday while at the office.
Finding the right balance between working and home life while at home can be tricky, but it is vital to get right when doing hybrid work.
If you are switching to a hybrid work model, from whichever side (home to office or office to home), it is essential to phase it in slowly and not just expect to make a quick and easy transition.
The company will need to provide adequate support, whether in terms of digital subscriptions and allowances for screens and desks at home or proper scheduling and safety precautions when returning to the office.
How Does Hybrid Working Fit Into The Future Of Work?
In general, over the pandemic, both productivity and customer satisfaction has improved, which speaks volumes in favor of hybrid working.
Post pandemic, the majority of companies will adopt some variation of a hybrid working model, though beyond that, and the details of how that actually looks are still unclear.
Most companies are only beginning to think through and articulate how a more permanent version of flexible working will look in detail, which is causing some anxiety for employees.
Companies are rethinking the way in which they hire and the positions they hire for and typically only expecting employees to physically be in the office between one and four days per week.
While many people have suffered from a lack of engagement with their colleagues during the crisis, the companies that witnessed the most significant increase in productivity were those that encouraged small moments of employee engagement between team members.
The jury is still out on how hybrid working models will evolve, and the exact details post-pandemic, and there are still learnings to be noted from during this period, but the future of work definitely looks like a hybrid model.
The sooner that employees, companies, managers, processes and educational institutions start adapting to this to make the most from the model, the happier employees and employers alike, will be.
To the extent that employees can work when and where they feel more productive, hybrid work offers a multitude of advantages and save both employees and employers time and money, allowing more efficient work methods at the same of higher productivity than traditional office-based working models.