Hybrid work… is it the future? From a number of studies and surveys conducted, it would appear the answer is YES! It is very clear, due to the pandemic, that work as we know it has been forever transformed. As a result of the success of remote working during those unprecedented times, the hybrid approach is one that will continue to be the way forward for many companies. Essentially the hybrid model enables employees to combine working from home with working from an office or another chosen location – enabling employees to choose the workspace that best suits them and the tasks at hand that day.
Although the hybrid model seeks to find the best possible middle ground between remote work and on-site work, there are concerns that arise when looking at the outcome from many of the studies conducted recently. The below issues were raised by both employers and employees:
- Reduced office time affecting team communication and collaboration.
- The prioritization of on-site workers, while remote workers feel “forgotten’ about.
- Distractions when working in the home environment (children, pets, other household chores)
- Work life infringing on home life as they both occupy the same space.
- Increased expectation of employees outside of working hours.
The above points should not be overlooked but need to be looked at in relation to the benefits that hybrid working offers, which far outweigh the cons. Some of these points seem to contradict the above concerns, but this is due to how people interpret and manage these situations, from which every person differs. The PROS to the hybrid work model are:
- It provides a level of flexibility that the modern workforce craves and enables workers to make the most of their working hours. Should they need the quiet of their home office to finish a solo task or a meeting room at the office for a creative brainstorming session with colleagues. Employers can choose a space, as well as the time in which to accomplish their tasks.
- It can reduce business operation costs as less physical office space is needed, lowering costs on rent and utilities, like office supplies. Less on-site workers also reduce maintenance services required.
- Hybrid work can reduce commuting time, allowing employees to use that time productively. It also saves money on fuel costs or the cost of public transport – a massive bonus for workers.
- By employees showing employers they can be just as productive, if not more so, working remotely it increases the employer-employee trust. This will lead to employers giving their staff more autonomy, which helps them feel more empowered and valued, and leads to increased job satisfaction levels and lower turn-over rates for businesses.
- This model improves employee’s work/life balance. Although mentioned as a possible downfall to hybrid working, most would disagree. In a recent study conducted by LinkedIn, 86% of those surveyed believe that hybrid work creates a better work life balance – allowing more time to focus not only on professional but also personal goals, resulting in increased employee satisfaction.
- A very important aspect not to be overlooked is the mental well-being of staff. As mentioned above, due to the hybrid work model creating a work life balance for employees, means that they are able to spend more time with loved ones, more time focusing on their health, and the opportunity to indulge in self-care. By increasing their overall sense of wellbeing, businesses will benefit from an increased level of productivity from employees.
- It allows access to a wider talent pool when searching for new employees as the search does not have to be limited by geographic location. This model allows a team to be made up by a diversified workforce which has a greater potential for innovation within a team.
- An employee’s working environment impacts their productivity. A study conducted by Stanford found remote workers to be more productive than those working in a traditional office setting. By allowing employees to choose a space most suitable to the project they are working on offers huge benefits to businesses.
- Hybrid work is seen to enhance collaboration. Due to the advancement in technology and efficient workplace management software, employees can communicate and collaborate from anywhere in the world. – they are no longer limited to a physical workspace. Although you may be working from home, you can be connected to and creating with someone hundreds of kilometres away.
Looking to shift to a hybrid work model?
There are several different ways you can implement a hybrid work environment in your business, and it is best to choose a system that is best suited to your business and the way you want it to perform. The different strategies for creating a work schedule are as follows. Workers are able to come in at their own will (they can decide when to come into the office), companies can choose to split the week (business assigns different days for when workers should be on-site and when to work remotely) and lastly, week by week (employers assign dedicated weeks for remote work and on-site work for employees)
Once the work schedule has been established, communication is probably the single most important factor that will determine the success or failure of the hybrid work model. All employers need to have an effective communication strategy in place to ensure their employees understand what is expected from them regarding company policy. A good communication strategy would have a clear, concise communication policy in place, which highlights the necessity for regular updates and check-ins with team members, as well as accessible communication tools and channels for both remote and in-office workers so that everyone is kept on the same page.
Going hand-in-hand with communication comes strong and effective leadership. Remote workers need this form of management to help motivate, offer guidance and inspiration – all things which can be challenging when you are not working in an office with your coworkers. Effective leaders create transparent relationships with their staff, making employees feel like valuable members of the team, which contributes to strong communication and collaboration between employees. Leaders need to show no bias between those working in-office verse those working remotely.
As with any new business process, its efficiency needs to be measured. Therefore, employers need to put structures in place that effectively track employee productivity. Employers would not want their business’s overall performance to be impacted by their workers claiming they are working when in fact, they aren’t. There are a number of management tools available that can help improve a team’s efficiency and ensure that they stay on top of their deadlines.
Company culture is very important for the overall success of a business; however, it can be tough building company culture with a distributed workforce as seen in the hybrid model. To ensure their business reflects a positive company culture, employers need to get creative and provide adequate opportunities and resources to help foster meaningful connections between their staff and loyalty to the company. In-person events, such as team-building activities and on-line events should be prioritized when utilizing the hybrid work model.
To summarise, the hybrid approach to work is something that we will see implemented in more and more businesses as time passes. As detailed above, it can be a highly effective model with many benefits offered to both employer and employee – if implemented correctly. At Connect Space, we understand that the future is hybrid and our approach to the shifting work environment reflects this. We offer flexible rental agreements, with hotdesking opportunities for your rotating in-office team.
To find out more about how we can help you during your transition to hybrid working, send us an email:
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We are Connect Space! Humans spend so much of their lives working, striving to find purpose and create a meaningful impact. The world of work has changed so drastically, yet one truth has endured – humanity is better when we work together. With a focus on creating collaborative workspaces, at Connect Space we tailor our space offerings to our Client’s needs, making areas that are unavoidably productive with agreement terms that suit your business.
Need an hourly rate for hot desking? We can do that. Need a weekly solution while you’re in town? We have you covered. We pride ourselves in going the extra mile to formulate the best agreements with our so they can focus on what they do best.
Our 3 locations in Musgrave, Umhlanga and Mount Edgecombe are conveniently located close to major transport routes. We offer a prestigious address that includes serviced offices, meeting rooms and coworking spaces, with fast and reliable wifi and shared break-out areas – perfect for meeting others and collaboration.
Better together – Let’s connect and see how we can accommodate you and your business’s needs!