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Hybrid-working - The new “normal?” A look at the pros and cons.



As we all know, the year 2020 was a difficult one for everybody. Businesses were not

immune to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which wreaked havoc on people's lives all around the world. The way businesses are run and the way workers work has changed dramatically in just over a year.


For this reason, when it comes to returning to work, firms are exploring a cautious "hybrid work" strategy. By using the correct technology and resources, a hybrid work culture is an

attempt to overhaul the traditional work culture in order to achieve both employee

satisfaction and an optimal work environment.


In this blog we will look at precisely what hybrid work is, as well as its benefits and

drawbacks.


What does it mean to work in a “hybrid environment?”

A hybrid work model combines the structure and sociability of working in an office with the

independence and flexibility of working from home, as the name suggests. A hybrid work

environment has less of an established structure than traditional working models.

Businesses can tailor it more to their specific needs and employee expectations and

requirements. In theory, hybrid work aims to provide employees more flexibility to fit work

around other elements of their lives rather than forcing them to plan out their week based on

typical office hours.


What's the difference between hybrid and remote work?

With remote working, employees can operate “remotely” outside of the traditional office

atmosphere, which is exactly what happened in 2020. Employees who work remotely can

usually complete their tasks by connecting to the office network from a location other than

the office, generally their homes.


The hybrid work approach, on the other hand, specifies certain days for in-office work and

others for remote work that necessitates individual focus. It is founded on the premise that

an employee's physical presence in the office isn't always required to complete work.


Before converting to a hybrid workplace, there are a few things to think about however;

Due to rising employee expectations and some compelling benefits that this model delivers,

many firms have been forced to explore adopting a hybrid work paradigm. For example, in

the United Kingdom, employers predict regular home workers to reach 37 percent post-

pandemic, up from 18 percent in the pre-pandemic phase.


Although hybrid work might improve flexibility and employee pleasure or satisfaction, it can

also be somewhat expensive. Businesses must supply staff with all necessary equipment

and resources (in some cases including furniture) while maintaining office space and

equipment to guarantee a smooth transition. Hybrid work brings greater difficulties to core

company operations like IT management, in addition to increasing operational costs.


Is hybrid work the “new normal” in the workplace?

Certain organisations may allow their entire workforce to work remotely in the aftermath of a

pandemic, while others may compel all employees to return to the office. However, a

considerable number of people will choose something in the middle.


However, it's important to remember that hybrid employment isn't always the greatest option for every company. When it comes to creating a hybrid work environment, some firms will err on the side of caution due to the complexities and costs involved.


Which businesses “should” allow its staff to work from home?

Businesses in finance, management, professional services, and technology, as opposed to

real estate, healthcare, utilities, retail trade, manufacturing, construction, and hospitality,

could benefit more from a hybrid work paradigm. It’s fairly self explanatory that primarily

customer facing roles like hospitality would not work as hybrid or home-based working,

whilst others that do not rely on face to face interactions would generally be more of an

option for remote workers.


The advantages of a hybrid work model

Now that we’ve identified what a hybrid work model is, let's have a look at some of the

primary advantages it could provide to your company. Remember that developing a

complete implementation strategy is critical to reaping all of the benefits.


Improvements to productivity

Is it true that working from home boosts productivity?


According to recent studies, employees who work remotely are more productive. Numerous

surveys have been conducted on the subject which show clearly that, during the pandemic

period, very high percentages of remote workers were equally or more productive than

before. On average, working from home seems to have enhanced productivity. In contrast

however, some remote workers said it was difficult to disconnect from work, and the general

consensus towards video chats is that it leaves workers mentally exhausted. As a result,

while remote work has increased productivity, it has also increased employee stress in some

circumstances.


Overheads are reduced

Do businesses save money by employing remote workers?

According to several studies, cost reductions are cited by a growing number of businesses

as a primary benefit of employees working remotely. Rent and utilities, cleaning services,

meals, and taxes can all be reduced for businesses employing a remote workforce.


Standardised communication

What's the best way for distant teams to communicate?

Businesses have been able to bridge the communication gap between remote employees by utilising virtual communication solutions such as team messaging and video conferencing. Many companies have introduced new virtual meeting solutions, and distant workers are using video meetings significantly more than they were before the pandemic.


Work-life balance

Are remote employees content?


A large proportion of workers believe COVID-19 has improved their work/life balance

because of the enhanced flexibility that remote employment has enabled. Professionals

have chosen the freedom to work while being closer to their families and avoiding time-

consuming treks to the office.


Staff retention and recruitment are now more effective.

Is it true that allowing employees to work from home helps with employee retention?

Employee retention has changed dramatically as a result of remote employment. Over half

of office workers would leave their current position for one that offered more flexibility.

Generally speaking, organisations that allow remote working will have a notably lower

employee turnover rate.


Drawbacks of the hybrid work model

Along with its obvious benefits, the hybrid work model has a number of obstacles for

businesses of all sizes, particularly in terms of staff management, maintaining a good work

culture, and keeping the network safe from hidden security risks. Here are a few of the most

well-known.


Visibility issues

Does the quality of work diminish when people work from home?

While remote employees may be working longer hours and being generally more prodthe ability to control and ensure quality work has dwindled. Many employers have indicated that remote work is causing them problems maintaining business culture and worker productivity.


Challenges for managers

What is the best way to lead a hybrid team?

A hybrid team is more difficult to manage from a managerial position when it comes to

setting standards, maintaining team morale, establishing equity, ensuring the correct level of

flexibility, checking for signs of fatigue, and more.


Obstacles to collaboration

What if I'm unable to contact a remote employee?

Most firms have had to deal with the problem of being unable to connect and communicate

with a remote colleague in a timely manner. It's no surprise that a lack of teamwork and

communication is one of the most difficult aspects of working remotely for many employees.


Reduced social interaction

How can you boost team spirit while you're working from afar?

A very common complaint amongst employees is that they miss working with their

coworkers, with loneliness being the second biggest barrier to remote work. In such a

situation, boosting team morale is sure to be more difficult than usual.


Increased security requirements

When employees work from home, how can you keep them safe?

Over the last year, the remarkable rise in remote employment has aided the growth of

cybercrime. Building strong cybersecurity with increased resilience has become even more

important as cybercrime is expected to continue to climb over the coming years. Ignoring this might prove disastrous for many, since cybersecurity risks will only get more difficult to

combat as this style of working continues.


So as we can see, there are numerous pros and cons for both the return to conventional

working and for companies to follow the hybrid-work plan being explored by many. In short

there is no one “right” answer to this, each company (and subsequently each employee) will

have to weigh up and decide what works best for themselves and their workers.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this, let us know your plans and or preferences regarding

the return to normal working arrangements or exploring the possibility of hybrid-working

going forwards, including once restrictions ease further.

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