Is Hybrid Workplace the Future of Work or Just a Temporary Measure?
By: Syeda Gul-e-Khansha
Jul 13, 2021
The hybrid workplace model is slowly becoming the new norm in the post-pandemic world. Statistics show that around 52% of employees around the globe work remotely at least once a week. This indicates that a remote workforce can prove to be quite productive. In the U.S, companies that allow working from home have an employee turnover rate of 25% or lower . All these statistics reflect how the hybrid work policies are more than welcomed in the modern world.
What Is a Hybrid Workplace?
A hybrid workplace model is a flexible approach to work. It allows employees to divide their workload between the home and the office. Through this approach, employees have the option to work onsite and remotely throughout the week.
This model has become especially common after the pandemic. Surveys show that after the COVID-19, around 30% of employees work in fully remote companies, and 60% have adopted a hybrid working environment.
How Are Companies Adopting a Hybrid Office Post-Pandemic?
In 2021, around 63% of high-growth companies have adopted the hybrid work model. Among these are big names that plan to shift, including Microsoft, Ford Motor, and Google. In the tech industry, companies like Microsoft have started to view working from home, less than 50% of the time as the standard.
When choosing the best hybrid work strategy, companies need to keep their productivity, staffing, and culture in mind. Different companies are planning to adapt to this model in different ways. Microsoft, for example, allows employees to work from home upon their manager’s approval. These employees will lose their desks at the company but have specified workplaces when they choose to work in the office.
How to Design a Hybrid Workplace?
When the pandemic first hit, people were thrust into remote work practices that they were not used to. Now that the situation is becoming safer, employees have already become adept at working from home. Shifting back to onsite work takes away the flexibility that comes with virtual work.
Opting for the hybrid work approach is the best of both worlds. It helps employees transition safely from one extreme to another. However, to design a well-functioning hybrid work environment, we need to focus on three important steps:
- Implementing clear workplace policies
- Adopting the right collaboration tools
- Employee and resources management
1. Implementing Clear Workplace Policies
Workplace policies for a hybrid working environment should be clear with no room for confusion. How employees can divide their workload between home and the office needs to be decided beforehand. There are three approaches to a hybrid office:
• Most of the employees work from home aside from a few exceptions • Employees are supposed to come to the office a few times a week • The office is the primary workplace, and a few employees are allowed to work from home depending on requirements
The company management needs to decide which approach to follow and then give clear instructions to employees regarding it.
2. Adopting the Right Collaboration Tools
Efficient collaboration is critical in a hybrid working environment. Adopting tools that support flexibility will help employees implement this model seamlessly.
One example is employing software like PackageX Mailroom that helps employees digitize their mail and save operational costs. Whether they are working remotely, in-office, or in a shared working space, they can easily access important packages and business mail without any hassle. Aside from this, tools that assist communication, task delegation, and accountability are vital to a hybrid office.
3. Employee and Resources Managament
In a hybrid working environment, allocating work and remote days is important. Employees need to book their desks before coming to the office and leave them for others working remotely. Through flexible desking, office resources can be utilized efficiently. This can also save costs as the company only needs to invest in a certain number of resources that cater to employees working from the office at a given time.
By employing all these strategies, companies can aim to be more productive in the future.
Pros and Cons of the Hybrid Workplace
However, like all workplace models, a hybrid working environment also comes with its fair share of pros and cons. The following table gives you a concise overview of the benefits and drawbacks that come with it.
|This offers an employee-centric approach that promotes a more robust work-life balance.||Remote work is hard for employees that do not have quality internet access and dedicated workplaces.|
|It’s cost-effective as companies don’t have to spend a lot of money on large-scale office operations.||Frontline workers like those employed by hospitals and factories cannot work remotely.|
|It helps ease employees back into office space after working from home for so long after the pandemic.||Employees working at the office can be more productive, generating biases against those working from home.|
|By hiring employees that can work in-office and remotely, the company increases its talent pool.||Differences between remote employees and in-office employees magnify if the company leadership works from the office.|
|It also gives birth to a more resilient workplace as companies can easily adapt to fully remote work from a hybrid office||Communicating and collaborating with remote teams and in-office teams simultaneously can prove to be challenging.|
|A hybrid work office also limits exposure to the virus as fewer people are present in the office at a given time.||If not properly executed, a hybrid work model can divide the remote and in-office teams, which affects company culture.|
Hybrid Workplace – Is It The Future of Work?
Whether the hybrid workplace is the future of companies or not depends on several things.
1) Is It Feasible?
After the pandemic, work practices changed drastically. Employees are now looking for more flexible work policies. Around 73% of employees say that having flexible work arrangements significantly impacts their satisfaction levels.
In light of these statistics, it’s not far-fetched to assume that having no work flexibility can result in companies losing valuable hires. In 2021, with the availability of tools like Slack, email, and mail management software like PackageX Mailroom, adopting a remote working policy is more accessible than before. Thus, embracing a hybrid work environment is more or less doable in this day and age.
2) Is It Financially Sustainable?
For companies, it’s essential to consider whether a hybrid work model is more cost-effective than working in-office or fully remote. Working from home saves commute costs and expenses associated with living in urban areas. A hybrid work model also allows companies to expand their talent pool.
However, it might not prove to be as productive in some cases, leading to time wastage and losses. Whether the approach is financially viable or not plays a big part in its implementation.
3) Are the Productivity Goals Being Met?
The cornerstone of a hybrid work model is employee satisfaction. The decision of going hybrid depends on the employees and where they feel most productive to work. With robust HR practices and transparent work policies in place, companies can make a hybrid work environment successful.
All these points need to be considered when opting for this work model, which ultimately decides whether or not going hybrid is the future of work. Conclusion
At first, the hybrid work model was being used as an alternative mode of working due to the pressing changes brought forward by the pandemic. However, as employees adapt to working remotely and get used to the flexibility that comes with it, the demand for hybrid working policies is increasing.
As hybrid offices become more common, more companies need to decide whether they should change based on their financial and productivity needs. If the majority conforms to these policies, we may witness a complete transformation of the workplace as we know it.