Hybrid work models offer employees the opportunity to split time between an office and a remote work environment. Though a hybrid work-from-home approach isn’t new, it has certainly seen a rise in popularity along with other modern technology trends transforming the workplace.
Hybrid work models can be successfully applied to many work environments. Mckinsey & Company estimates that as much as 20% of the modern workforce could work remotely three to five times per week, achieving the same efficiency as they otherwise would in an office setting.
The use of remote work resources has seen a parallel increase as hybrid work models become increasingly popular. Early 2021 statistics indicate as many as 145 million daily Microsoft Teams users, and as many as 12 million daily active users of Slack — a popular messaging and file transfer tool used in professional workspaces.
The remote employment portion of hybrid work is also trending well with modern employees. One study found that 65% of employees favored a full-time remote workload. And employers are taking note of employee preferences: another study found that 80% of employers are planning to introduce remote work as an option for employees in the future.
Many work environments require that employees remain onsite. Still, the increased popularity of remote work — especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic — has many companies considering hybrid work as a viable option for employees.
Types of Hybrid Work Models
Each company is unique, offering a distinct portfolio of products and services to consumers. Each type of hybrid employment model is characterized by individual benefits, which allow you to get the most out of a day’s work.
Common hybrid work models include:
- Remote-first employment, where employees work entirely from home, with a few exceptions whenever necessary. Remote-first companies often keep corporate workspaces open for employees who need — or want — to work in a more traditional office environment.
- Office-occasional employment, where employees are expected to visit a physical office space a few times each week. Employees retain all of the tools they need to successfully work from home, and travel with mobile work materials whenever a trip to the corporate office is necessary.
- Office-first employment, where employees are expected to work primarily out of a physical office. Depending on need, employer preferences, specific project requirements, and other factors, employees are also allowed to work remotely when it will not interfere with job duties.
- Centralized remote-first employment, where executives and other top-level staff typically work out of a physical office space. Other employees, who can fulfill job duties remotely, are allowed to work from home without visiting corporate workspaces.
Different types of hybrid work models can accommodate unique work environments. Ultimately, you are free to choose the hybrid work model that works best for your business.
Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Work Model
As with any work model, there are both pros and cons to hybrid employment models. Hybrid work environments offer several benefits to employees, which can sometimes come at the expense of employers.
Understandably, hybrid work models offer a variety of benefits. Hybrid work can benefit you and your employees, as well as any consumers who regularly depend on your company for its services. Benefits of a hybrid work model often include:
- Improved productivity for employees working from home;
- Enhanced work-life balance for remote workers;
- Reduced chances of work burnout;
- Increased use of cost-cutting technology to improve operations;
- Saved costs of maintaining a physical office space;
- Streamlined employee onboarding and hiring processes.
These and other benefits to hybrid work models serve to make remote work a viable option for your business.
Hybrid work models also have various drawbacks. These can include:
- The potential for miscommunication or confusion between employees;
- Malfunctioning technology;
- Workflow delays caused by the distance between employees and the introduction of new processes;
- Cybersecurity concerns for small business operations;
- Increased reliance on technology for communication, project management, and task completion;
- Decreased focus on customer experience;
- Potential disparities between remote and in-office workers;
- Data privacy risks after file transfer over shared networks;
- A necessity for improvements to in-home office spaces.
These and other drawbacks can sometimes make hybrid work difficult. However, your business, your employees, and your customers can all benefit from hybrid work models, especially after you implement cybersecurity best practices to promote device safety.
Tips to Adopt a Hybrid Work Model
You can integrate a hybrid work model in several different ways. As a decision-maker at your company, you will need to decide on the hybrid work model that best accommodates both your employees and your output.
After deciding on a hybrid work model that allows for easy management of remote employees, you can achieve smooth operations despite the distance between your company and your workers.
Find the Right Balance
As an employer, you can take advantage of many different kinds of hybrid work models. If you can establish a balance between onsite and remote operations, you’ll be able to keep employees happy while achieving efficient operations. This balance will be crucial to your ongoing success, allowing you to meet deadlines while you keep employees motivated.
Make Equitable Policies
You can also strive to establish equitable corporate policies. This means creating policies specifically for employees who might work remotely, even if they do so only part of the time.
Consider consulting your employees before any new decisions are finalized to get their take on the best way to create equitable policies. Ultimately, regardless of an employee’s location, your policies should ensure professional employee correspondence, efficient task completion, correct use of company resources, and a mutual respect between executives and all other employees.
Prioritize Tech Support
Especially for employees working from home, sufficient tech support is an absolute must. The success of a hybrid work model hinges on efficient technical support procedures, which can help address any issues your employees might be facing.
Fortunately, managed service providers have systems in place to handle employee and employer IT concerns. This includes remote access and support, which allow technicians to address employee device concerns through remote access software. With “work from home” device capabilities, your employees can transition devices between work environments.
Managed service providers can improve customer service, in the same ways that it enhances employee performance. Once you familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of employee monitoring, this service can serve as another powerful tool to enhance employee productivity.
Choosing the right remote monitoring management (RMM) tool can be a difficult undertaking. Look for features like streamlined platform onboarding, security management, mobile device management, and simple program deployment when narrowing your options.
Integrating a successful hybrid work model for your business often means rethinking basic employee communications. In a remote environment, communicating with your coworkers is no longer as easy as a trip to their cubicle or office. Instead, your company must implement systems that keep communication streamlined and professional.
Hybrid work models are forcing companies to overhaul communication between employees and customers alike. Sometimes, this means implementing communication tools that allow for project management, instant messaging, and file transfer between workers. In other instances, you can improve communications by refreshing emergency preparedness procedures in light of remote work conditions.
Some employees prefer to work on their own devices when working from home. This “bring your own device” (BYOD) approach to business policy can save your company money, and allow workers the freedom to use devices with which they are already comfortable.
Update Company Benefits
No matter where your employees work, they should feel adequately supported. New working conditions can also mean that you might need to update your corporate benefits package, to protect employee interests amid a changing work environment.
Specifically, you may need to revisit the portions of your benefits package that addresses time off, financial assets allocated toward employee resources, dress codes, and other sections that were once tailored to suit your in-office workforce.
No matter where employees are working from, transparency remains a key pillar for sustained success. You must remain upfront with employees at all levels, regarding any new policies to be implemented.
Many job applicants now have new questions regarding specific remote work policies. Besides maintaining transparency with current employees, it’s also important that you maintain transparency with any new potential hires. Executives, seasoned employees, and new hires should be informed of, and in agreement with, all hybrid work policies that you have implemented.
Find Unique Solutions
Every company’s hybrid work model is going to be slightly different, depending on that company’s concerns and issues. As a result, the solutions you implement to overcome remote work problems should be equally unique. Employees should consider all options, and think innovatively to find unique solutions that work specifically for your business.
If your company is preparing to implement a hybrid work model, consider identifying solutions to potential problems before they become a reality. Answering potential questions proactively can help you promote clarity.