Hybrid working—The hybrid work model is the future. How can you adapt to it?

One of the most drastic changes brought about by the 2020 pandemic to the corporate world is remote working. Most companies across the world relied on the physical presence of their employees everyday and stuck to traditional workforce management practices —and getting work done in any other way seemed unimaginable. Working from home was often seen as an unproductive experiment.

So how has that thought fared since 2020?

Research, and perhaps your own experience, tells us the exact opposite. Employees prefer the flexibility of having work-from-home (WFH) as an option, and it has proven to be better than the traditional method of working. 

Studies show that in fact, employees were much more productive in 2020, in comparison to 2019 where a majority of employees were not working from home.

Employees were more productive in 2020 than in 2019

Eventually, when lockdowns started easing up across the world, surveys showed that employees did not want the option of working from home off the table. They preferred a mix of working from home and working out of the office—also known as a hybrid working model. With the onset of The Great Resignation, the hybrid work model has in fact become one of the primary factors that employees consider before they join or quit an organization.

 

Almost 81% of employees would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. 

 

Apart from this, it wasn’t just employees that benefited from the hybrid working model—Organizations of all sizes saw significant reductions in their costs of operation. Research shows that the average cost of office space per employee is $18,000 per year. 

Keeping all this data in mind, it comes as no surprise that around 70% of IT companies in the US and EU are planning to make hybrid work permanent. As more and more companies are adopting the hybrid work model as the new norm, it is fast becoming one of the most sought-after criteria when employees decide where they want to work. 

In short, it is time to adapt to the new normal—Hybrid Working. And the more you know, the better prepared you can be.

What’s the most suitable hybrid working model for your organization?


Hybrid working has evolved into multiple variations—at the end of the day, it all depends on what is the most suitable option for the organization’s work culture and requirements. But, most of these variations can fall under 3 broad categories:

  1. Fixed days at the office for all employees
  2. Flexible options for all employees
  3. Flexible options for some employees

Let’s evaluate all three categories.

1. Fixed days at the office for all employees

Working fully remotely has its own set of drawbacks, and one of the biggest ones listed by employees is loneliness. Some of them prefer to work from the office for a few days while retaining the option of working from home as well. The most structured way an organization can facilitate this is by creating a fixed schedule of days per week where all employees are required to work from the office. 

For instance, your organization can create a ‘3 days a week from the office’ policy,  where all employees need to work from the office on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and work from home for the other two days. 

The problem with this hybrid working model is that it still requires employees to live closer to where the office is. For most employees, hybrid working offers them the flexibility to work from their hometowns, or work while they travel, etc, and this model may not be the perfect fit.

2. Flexible options for all employees

This seems to be the most popular hybrid working arrangement among employees across the globe. They are given the choice of working from the office or from their homes whenever they want. Though it seems chaotic at the outset, several multinational companies have successfully implemented this flexible working model. 

Spotify, for instance, has been a completely remote team since its early stages, and its employees are incredibly productive, as well as loyal to the company. How does Spotify manage? The company offers multiple choices—Employees can discuss with their managers and choose their own schedule. They can work from Spotify’s offices that are closest to where they live, and in cases where there are no Spotify offices near them, the company pays for co-working spaces where groups of employees can gather and work together. 

This model of hybrid working is being adopted by an increasing number of companies like Hubspot, Automattic, Apple, etc. 

3. Flexible options for some employees

It sounds truly controversial, doesn’t it? But for a lot of organizations that depend on face-to-face meetings to get work done, this method seems to be the most optimal. 

In this model of hybrid working, only the critical workforce is required to work from the office, while the rest of the employees can work from home. 

This method helps companies save a lot of overhead costs since they can move towards smaller office spaces and maintain high levels of productivity and retention. 

Benefits of the hybrid working model

 

  • Work-life balance

This is the number one reason for employees favoring the hybrid work model—the flexibility offers them more time to spend on themselves. Since the pandemic, priorities have shifted dramatically. A lot of employees have experienced loss first-hand, and want more meaning out of their time like spending more time with their families, pets, or developing their hobbies. 

 

While my parents’ generation was looking at work as their means of survival, my generation works for a better standard of living, and today’s generation is looking for a better quality of life—not just the standard of life because that’s already given to them.

— Rakesh Gupta, Senior Consultant at Cognologix

Here is a great read on flexible work arrangements that you can share with your employees who are parents. 

  • Cost savings for employee as well as employer

Rent burns a serious hole in the pocket of organizations as well as their employees. With hybrid working, organizations can choose more economical options like co-working spaces or satellite offices. Research by McKinsey shows that by rethinking the traditional office space, organizations can potentially lower real estate costs by over 30%. Studies have shown that this also improves organizational profitability by more than 21%. 

For employees, hybrid working helps them stay in their hometowns, move away from cities and save on living and commuting costs significantly—surveys show that employees were able to save almost $4000 in the US by working remotely. By setting up co-working spaces and satellite offices, organizations can continue reaping the benefits of hybrid working, qualitatively, as well as quantitatively.

  • Better hiring, better productivity

Earlier, a company based out of Los Angeles had a hiring pool that was limited to that particular city. Candidates from other parts of the country or the world had to shift their base to be able to work for the organization. But since the pandemic, hiring has become more borderless. This is especially so in the tech industry.

— Senthil Kanthaswamy, Director, Freshteam

Companies like Spotify, Automattic, Buffer, and more have employees spread across the globe thanks to their hybrid working facilities. The pandemic proved that employees need not be present in the office to be productive. Organizations are now hiring employees from places that were previously not considered and consequently, have access to a much wider talent pool to match their requirements. 

Challenges of hybrid working


Like all good things, the hybrid working model too has its own set of challenges—but there are solutions to overcome them with ease. 

Having a hybrid workforce means that while one half is working from the office, the other half is working remotely. The challenge here is to ensure that both sets of employees get equal attention and recognition for their work. 

Another challenge is maintaining proper coordination and collaboration with both sets of employees. All of them need to be part of important interactions and meetings no matter where they are. So, how do you avoid the “out of sight, out of mind” problem?

The solution here is to invest in the right technology. The right tools to collaborate, the right one to track productivity, and most importantly, a powerful HRMS tool to hire, manage, and onboard your candidates and employees. There are plenty of solutions in the market, and some of them also offer free trials—so test, try and choose the software that fits your business requirements perfectly.

 

Conclusion


Overall, hybrid working seems to be advantageous to both organizations and the employees. Adapting to this model of working has more benefits than disadvantages. Improved retention, better productivity, wider hiring opportunities, fewer overhead costs—hybrid working, is the future and it looks green for all sides so far. Learn more about expert
predictions for 2022 for the HR world and stay ahead of your competitors.

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