The most common workplace models we see today include the traditional office setting and remote work. But as our world continues to change and businesses rethink the best solutions for their workplaces, a new type of work model has emerged: the hybrid. This type of solution combines the best of both worlds into one, allowing for greater flexibility and collaboration than ever before. Here’s a bit more about how the hybrid work model can be implemented and what you can do to make it succeed in your business.
Remote Work Is the New Normal
The truth is that remote work is prevalent in all types of workplaces. In a 2019 survey by Owl Labs and Global Workplace Analytics, researchers surveyed over 1,200 people in the United States from age 22 to 65. Sixty-two percent of participants said they work remotely, compared to 38 percent who work entirely on-site. (In this study, on-site workers are people who never work remotely, while remote workers are any workers using remote work in any capacity.)
Out of that 62 percent working remotely at least part of the time, nearly 54 percent work remotely once a month, 48 percent work remotely at least once a year, and about 30 percent work remotely full time. These numbers put the United States slightly behind the global standard for remote work, something that is likely to change soon, especially in the wake of our current global health crisis.
Because of the move toward remote work during the global economic shutdown, many companies have been forced to consider the consequences for the future. In fact, a hybrid working model is a great solution for many companies—and it is clearly something that businesses have practiced regularly for quite some time, even before the current pandemic. Thirty percent of the self-reporting remote workers said they worked full time remotely, a clear sign that hybrid workplace models do work and have been working for some time. But what does a hybrid model look like?
Organizations that use the hybrid model rely on their employees to identify how and where they can work at their best. If this means working from home two or three days a week but still coming into the office on the other two days, then that employee is free to make that decision. Fortunately, video conferencing and other technologies make it easy for team members to work well together even when they’re apart physically. Even in a hybrid work model, you can still quickly and easily collaborate with your team at work whether you’re in the office or at home.
Though many people assume that working from home is a way to get out of doing work, the opposite is more accurate. The top reason why many employees choose remote work is to improve their productivity and focus. In fact, nearly 60 percent of employees who can choose from flexible work options (mixing work from home and at the office) show increased productivity and engagement in their work when compared to employees who work exclusively on-site and those who are exclusively remote.
Top Problems for Hybrid Work
Of course, like any type of work, there are always going to be some challenges with a hybrid work model. One is in deciding where to put your hybrid team management—should they be in an office or working remotely? Or both?
The truth is that this is a decision unique to the particular team dynamics of every hybrid work team, and it may even need to be adjusted over time to better reflect the team’s changing needs.
Another challenge is ensuring that a supportive culture remains in place for remote work. At any company, there are different views on the value of remote work. Some view it as less significant than in-office work, while others see it as a huge benefit. It is particularly important on a hybrid work team to ensure that remote work is valued equally alongside on-site work.
Gaps in communication are also a common problem with hybrid work teams. Those working in the office might be privy to new developments on a particular project sooner than the remote members of the team. Communication must be constant and consistent to ensure that all members of a team, both remote and in the office, are on the same page.
Hybrid work is a flexible solution that can help all employees get what they need to be at their most productive and focused. For some, that means working from home, while for others, it might mean coming into the office. That flexibility can help companies improve productivity all around, making it more likely that hybrid work models will be the norm one day soon.