Hybrid Work Model has become a buzzword since the world has adjusted to the remote working culture. With the pandemic-induced lockdowns, many employees have become accustomed to working remotely away from their physical offices.
As the lockdowns are being lifted, these employees are rooting for a hybrid work model. Many companies are also offering their employees the flexibility of working from either home or office, depending on their requirements.
So, what exactly is a hybrid work model? And why are the employees requesting it? What are its pros and cons from the perspective of the employee and the employer? Should you adopt the hybrid work model?
Let us find the answers to these queries.
What is a Hybrid Work Model?
The hybrid work model meaning can be explained in simple words as a working model that combines both working remotely and working from the physical office. There are several ways to implementing a hybrid work model. However, they can be classified into three major models:
- In the first model, the employees can choose when to come to the office. In this case, they generally have the freedom to work from home permanently if they wish so. However, employees who would still love to work from their offices can come to their respective offices for completing their tasks. This model gives the employees complete freedom as to when and where to work.
- The second kind of hybrid model involves the company asking the employees to come to their office for a certain duration or certain days in a week and they are free to decide where to work from on the remaining days. This model retains some control over the company as they are the ones who decide when the employee should be present in the company.
- The third most common hybrid working model of working happens when the company gives the individual teams or departments complete control over their respective working model. These departments can have their days as well as their working models so that they can work as per their collective comfort levels. Although this hybrid model bestows a certain aspect of freedom on the employees, it is not as liberal as the first hybrid model that we discussed above.
Why are employees rooting for a Hybrid Work Model?
A Salesforce global survey conducted in June 2020 has revealed that 64% of the workforce wanted to have some time away from their office as well as time at their offices, or in other words, work in a hybrid model, as opposed to working remotely or working from office premises entirely.
The same survey also revealed that Gen Z, the soon to become largest workforce segment, are more inclined towards hybrid work culture as 74% of them showed interest in hybrid working. This is in contrast to the mere 37% who said that they are interested in going fully remote by working from their homes forever.
This data also validates the shift towards a hybrid working trend showcased by major companies such as Reddit, Twitter, Microsoft, Coinbase, Shopify, PayPal, Zillow, etc. All of these organizations have shifted to some of the other forms of the hybrid model. You can read more about the top ten companies that have adopted the hybrid model below.
Even Facebook is planning to allow half of its workforce to work from homes permanently. While each of these companies has its reason for the shift to a hybrid working model, there remains a constant factor between them: the employee experience.
So, why are the employees rooting for a hybrid work model? The answer is quite simple: they gain the flexibility to work as per their freedom instead of being tied down to a certain time and location to undertake their daily tasks.
In the long term, the hybrid work option proves viable to a lot of employees. They get the much-needed freedom from their superiors as they are not being scrutinized constantly as they were in their offices. Hence, it boosts the employee’s confidence in the company and helps in retaining talent for longer.
Some of the reasons why a hybrid work model is preferred by the employees are:
- Offers on-site and off-site accessibility
- Removes time and efforts spent in daily commute
- Increases the agility and freedom for the workforce
- Improves work-life balance, thereby increasing job satisfaction
- Helps in relocating to a suburban or remote location.
Pros and Cons
Since we have understood the different hybrid work models and why employees are preferring them, let us take a deep dive to recognize the various pros and cons of the hybrid work model.
Let us start with the employees…
Pros for Employees
- Staff members can maintain a better work-life balance with hybrid work as they can spend more time at home with their families.
- Managers have been measuring productivity than efficiency in the hybrid work models since that is what drives the business, thereby reducing the stress on the staff.
- The job satisfaction rate of the employees has risen since they are working as per their convenience and the added flexibility helps in keeping them content.
- The hassle of daily commute has been reduced to a few days, which results in less time, effort and money spent on commuting to and from the physical office.
- Since companies have started emphasizing employees’ mental health with remote and hybrid work models, it proves helpful in reducing their stress levels.
Pros for Employers
- Due to the lower number of employees required at the office, companies can save on the infrastructure costs associated with it by reducing the office size.
- With hybrid work, employees can work from remote locations and hence, companies can wider their search for talented individuals.
- The existing workspace can be utilized efficiently since a lower number of people would be using it simultaneously, thereby reducing the maintenance and associated costs.
- The hybrid work model encourages a progressive company culture by having an inclusive and talented workforce since they are actively searching for such opportunities currently.
- Having a dynamic and talented workforce also helps in gaining creative employees who can provide their valuable inputs and innovative ideas for speedy growth.
Cons for Employee
- Since the employees are working remotely, there are a lot of distractions for them that might lead to delays and possible burnouts.
- As some of the staff members prefer working from home more than others, it might lead to an unconscious bias wherein the managers might start neglecting the remote workers.
- Due to remote work, employees might have an increased sense of social isolation which is detrimental to their daily productivity.
- Managers have started micro-managing their employees since they are not in front of them during their work hours, which takes a hit on their morale.
- There is a reduction in the collaboration between the employees which might lead to loss of cohesiveness and rapport between team members.
Cons for Employers
- There are several data security risks due to outdated hardware, poor network security, etc. when the employee is working remotely.
- Additionally, there are multiple technological hurdles such as old insecure personal PCs, slow internet connection, etc. that leads to reduced productivity.
- There is also the added cost of possible office redesign in case the company has decided to opt for a hybrid work model forever.
- There might be a reduction in the client experience as they would be accustomed to being contacted in person by a specific employee who may not be available for them.
- A hybrid work model is impractical for many domains that require their employees to remain at their office for performing their duties.
Top Companies with Successful Hybrid Model of working
The following companies have already moved to the hybrid model of working to improve their employee experience:
Microsoft is quite flexible when it comes to providing a hybrid work model. They have stated that although several departments require on-site personnel, other departments can opt for a hybrid work model. However, the number of employees working remotely should not exceed 50% of the workforce.
Google is even more flexible in its hybrid work policies with an emphasis on remote working. They have allowed over 85% of their employees to work remotely since they are in the software domain. In fact, they are one of the largest companies opting for a hybrid work approach.
Facebook has also kept their hybrid work policies quite flexible by asking their employees to work from the office only when required, such as for meetings, training, etc. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg quipped, “Enabling remote work is going to be very positive on that front toward creating more broad-based economic prosperity.”
Apple’s hybrid working stand has been a bit rigid. However, they are still adopting the hybrid model of working by asking their employees to work from their offices three days per week. The staff are free to work remotely on the remaining two days of their workweek
Christy Pambianchi, CPO of Intel had informed that they are planning to transform intel into a ‘hybrid-first’ company by remaining flexible for their employees to undertake their tasks from where they are most comfortable working.
Ford Motor Company has also boarded the hybrid work trend by informing their remote staff that they can continue to work remotely indefinitely. They have also provided the option of flexible shifts for their employees, revealing their intention to become a hybrid working company.
Infosys has stated that it is moving to the hybrid work model by allowing most of its staff to work from their homes permanently while others are free to come to their physical offices if required. Employees who are more comfortable working from the office may also resume coming to their offices.
Since Airbnb runs a decentralized business, they have fully embraced the hybrid working model. They have given their employees total freedom to choose the days when they work from offices and home. They reason that the employees drive flexibility and with a lack of flexibility, they would lose valuable talent.
Spotify has also fully embraced the hybrid model of working by leaving the employees to decide whether to work from the office, remotely or a combination of the two. However, Spotify has asked its employees to consult their manager before taking the final decision.
Target has also gone the hybrid route by providing their employees with the hybrid work approach. They have already gone public declaring that they no longer require the 1 million square feet of area in their skyscraper headquarters owing to reduced employee count.
As we have discussed until now, there are multiple pros and cons of a hybrid work model and it depends on the company, their business model, the management, and the employees to decide whether they need to opt for one. Despite the disadvantages mentioned above, a huge proportion of employees are rooting for a hybrid model to improve their work-life balance and enjoy the added flexibility of being able to work at their convenience.
Companies have also started providing hybrid work models for their employees as it combines the best of both worlds. Their focus has shifted from efficiency to productivity. However, they need to ensure that both verbal and non-verbal communication is a priority in the hybrid work environment as a lack of adequate communication could result in chaos.
Some factors to consider while developing a hybrid work for your organization:
- Invest in technology that can be adapted to your company structure
- Request active input from your employees for finalizing the hybrid schedule
- Encourage open seamless communication and provide required hardware and software access to conduct business remotely.
- Convey the hybrid working guidelines and policies whenever required.
All things considered, the hybrid work model is here to stay and you must invest in the right technologies to ensure that you can reap the benefits down the line. To stay ahead of the curve, ensure that all employees feel valued and remain engaged despite being a part of the hybrid model of working.
John Paul Davis is a content writer with Pocket HRMS, an innovative AI-driven cloud-based HR software provider in India with over a decade of loyal clientele. His handiwork usually reflects the latest technologies in the HR domain.