The pandemic has been a game-changer for many companies and employees around the world, who had perhaps never tried remote working before this unforeseen event. Now, as teams trickle back into the office, some people are reluctant to give it up. As a result, many businesses are looking to move towards a hybrid model.
Hybrid working is a type of work arrangement that allows employees to split their time between working in an office and working remotely. This can provide employees with greater flexibility and can also allow organizations to reduce their overhead costs.
Hybrid working arrangements can take many different forms, depending on the needs of the individual and the organization. Promoting a hybrid culture can be beneficial for both the individual and the wider company, but it’s important to carefully consider the logistics before implementing such a plan.
In this post, we’ll highlight the different types of hybrid work setups, as well as some of the advantages and disadvantages that come with this approach, to help you understand its advantages and disadvantages to your company.
Types of hybrid working arrangements
There are a few different ways that hybrid working arrangements can be structured, but the most common is for employees to work in the office on certain days of the week and to work remotely on the other days.
Some other common types include job sharing, telecommuting, flex time, and compressed work weeks. Each of these arrangements has its own unique benefits and challenges, but all of them offer a way to increase flexibility and improve work-life balance.
With the right planning and execution, hybrid working arrangements can be an effective way to meet the needs of both employees and employers. It’s important for employers to recognize that one approach won’t suit everyone, so they should be prepared to have one-to-one discussions with employees to find a compromise, and make sure everyone in the team is clear about who will be where, and when. This will make sure that everyone can communicate and schedule their time effectively and be respectful of each other’s routines.
A hybrid working arrangement can offer many benefits for both employers and employees. For employers, it can help to reduce overhead costs associated with maintaining a physical office space – if you know that you’re only ever going to have half of your employees in at once, for example, you could look at taking a smaller space, and hot desking. Not only will this reduce your lease cost, but it’s also likely to cut your electricity bill, maintenance costs, and the number of computer screens you need to take care of.
It can also increase workplace flexibility and allow for a more diverse workforce. Many people with caring responsibilities or disabilities can struggle with traditional 9-5, office-based employment, as work is not the only thing they need to manage during the day. Offering flexible working arrangements and being vocal about this can lead to a wider range of candidates applying for open positions, and also help employee retention.
For employees, a hybrid working arrangement can provide greater control over their work-life balance, as previously mentioned. It can also offer the opportunity to work from home, which can improve focus and productivity, especially if you work on a lot of tasks independently, and need to focus. In addition, hybrid working arrangements often allow for greater schedule flexibility, which can be beneficial for those who work better outside of a 9-5 arrangement. Early birds, for example, might prefer to start working at 7am but finish in the middle of the afternoon, whilst night owls might start at 10am but work into the late afternoon/evening.
Overall, a hybrid working arrangement can be a win-win for both parties. It’s just important that employers and employees are willing to have an open conversation and compromise to find the best solution for the business and the individual.
While there are several potential benefits to a hybrid working arrangement, there are also a number of potential disadvantages that should be considered. One of the main concerns for employees is that it can be difficult to create a clear boundary between work and home life when both are taking place in the same environment. This can lead to increased stress levels and a feeling of always being "on call".
To manage this, agree on a way that your team can know if you’re available, whether that’s setting your work hours in your calendar, setting your messenger status, or simply dropping them a line to let them know what hours you’ll be doing that day. Create a culture of respecting boundaries, and play your part by also not messaging colleagues outside of their working hours. This will allow everyone to leave the computer behind, and disconnect from work.
Additionally, it can be challenging to maintain focus and productivity when there are distractions at home. Working from home often requires a lot of focus and an ability to manage your own time and workload, so it doesn’t suit everyone. Hybrid working may also not be suitable for all personality types. For example, introverts may prefer a remote office setting where they can have some dedicated time to themselves, while extroverts may find that they thrive on the social interaction that comes with an in-person workplace.
If you’re an employer who is concerned about whether or not hybrid working is right for your team, you could discuss having a trial period. However, you’ll have to trust your employees to give honest feedback – closely monitoring them and constantly checking in isn’t sustainable, and it’s likely to cause irritation.
Ultimately, it's important to carefully consider all of the pros and cons before making a decision about whether a hybrid working arrangement is right for you or your team. This approach has many benefits and is becoming popular, but that doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone. Before committing, make sure to have an honest discussion with the people that your decision will affect, and come up with solutions for any issues raised.