Reducing operational costs is just one of the many advantages companies can enjoy by shifting to a hybrid work setup.
Social distancing policies and other protocols set at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 have compelled many businesses to rethink their strategies in managing their workforce. Since then, most Companies have started to open their doors again but still aren’t fully back in office — hence, the rise of the hybrid work setup.
Hybrid setup and remote work are not entirely new concepts. Some businesses, particularly in the customer support industry, have been implementing these models for their employees even before the pandemic.
Nowadays, working from home is not a special privilege anymore. It is becoming more and more common for many companies to embrace this new “workplace culture” of providing their employees with the option to work remotely, at least part of the time.
This hybrid working trend has been strengthened by technology. With the rise of video conferencing applications, project management softwares, and other digital tools, companies have changed the way they do business.
Hybrid work model — how does it look?
A hybrid work model combines the benefits of working remotely and in-office. This may come in different forms, depending on which arrangement companies feel comfortable with.
There is the split-week model, where employees from different departments are assigned specific days to work in the office.
There is also the at-will model, under which employees have full flexibility on their work arrangements. While they can do their work remotely, they can freely come to the office whenever they need or want to. Some companies require employees to send an onsite request first before coming to the office. In a weekly model, employees are instructed to work from home for one straight week and onsite the next.
Biggest advantages of hybrid work setup
Adopting a remote work arrangement provides several benefits, not just to the business but to the overall wellbeing of workers. Here are some of the biggest upsides of a hybrid work setup:
Employees are able to improve their quality of work
Giving employees the option to take a hybrid work setup provides them with flexibility and autonomy to choose their work hours and location. Furthermore, employees have different comfort levels — allowing them to work within their safe zones enhances their focus and boosts their productivity.
An employees’ quality of work often depends on how satisfied they are with their setup. Giving them a sense of control will help empower them to work to their strengths.
Businesses can reduce their operational costs
The opportunity to reduce operational costs is one of the biggest advantages of the hybrid work setup from the perspective of businesses.
Many companies experienced an unprecedented dent in their finances during the pandemic as they navigated through the drastic changes in their processes.
With inflation becoming a concern globally, particularly the rising cost of energy, businesses are quickly realizing they can reduce their operational expenses by cutting their spending for office space. Many are now shifting from a traditional office block to smaller and more flexible working spaces. This enables them to minimize not only energy bills but also office supplies and other business expenses.
Hybrid work setup promotes work-life balance
With the option to work from home, employees are relieved of the struggle of going to and from the office, freeing a huge chunk of time they can spend doing something more valuable.
Maintaining a work-life balance is crucial to reducing the instance of work-related stress and burnout which, in turn, translates to higher employee retention. Furthermore, the hybrid work setup encourages employees to explore both their personal and professional goals more freely.
Remote work encourages both collaboration and independence
Looking at the collaborative aspect of remote work, it puts employees in a situation where they have to adapt to technology in order to work with their colleagues. Without the traditional conference rooms, employees are able to get creative in managing their projects, organizing meetings, and tracking their productivity.
At the same time, remote work teaches employees to work independently. It trains their minds to think of alternative solutions and workarounds on some of the issues they face on a daily basis.
Up-and-coming talents are attracted to companies with a remote work option
Many job seekers nowadays are actively looking to join companies that have a hybrid work setting. This means two things — while a smaller share of the talent pool is amenable to working in the office full-time, companies now have access to a broader range of potential employees in terms of location and demographics.
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Challenges of remote work
While remote work clearly has its upsides, there are several challenges businesses must factor in before transitioning to a hybrid work set up — here are some of them:
- Staff management can be challenging, especially for bigger companies
- Employees need to be properly educated about digital security
- Connectivity issues can arise given the different internet providers being used by employees
- For some employees, working from home blurs the boundaries of work and leisure
- Human resources departments must think of ways to keep employees engaged and up-to-date on the latest changes in the company
- There is a need for a high level of self-discipline among employees to not be distracted by things unrelated to work, like social media, activity at home, etc. Read: 6 effective ways to avoid distractions while working from home
Is hybrid work setup right for your business?
The hybrid work setup is indeed here to stay and many companies are exploring ways on how this model can help them better streamline their operations and businesses. While remote work is a very promising opportunity, not all industries will be able to fully shift to this model. Here are some industries that can thrive really well in a hybrid work setup:
- Customer service
- Sales and marketing
- Human resources and recruiting
Companies exploring the possibility of adopting a hybrid work setup must start with surveying their employees to set expectations and gain insights as to how the model would work. On top of this, companies must revisit their policies and procedures to ensure that a hybrid working arrangement will not compromise fairness, especially if only a selected group of employees will be given the option to work remotely.
They must specifically look at work assignments, schedules, pay, benefits, and promotion opportunities. Shifting to a hybrid setup also requires companies to have a deeper understanding of the available communication and technology software and tools. They have the responsibility of educating their employees about cybersecurity.
Most importantly, companies must be open to exploring ways to keep their employees engaged, productive, and rewarded even if they are working from miles away. With the right planning and strategy, businesses are able to reap huge benefits from shifting to a hybrid working arrangement.