As governments, businesses, and cities around the world execute their plans for reopening, they are all in an endless cycle of assessing what is safe and what is not. The new normal requires a new mindset and model for things to operate smoothly. As people around the world gauge what the next days, months, and years will look like, the hybrid work model is trending fast. This model of work mixes work-from-home and office-based working. Of late, researches has shown that a hybrid workplace could be the best way to move forward.
A study from The Adecco Group entitled Resetting Normal: Defining the New Era of Work showed strong signs of workers’ readiness to adapt to the new mindset. About 74% of employees surveyed globally say they prefer having the mix of office-based and work-from-home setup. The study includes 8,000 office-based respondents from Australia, UK, USA, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Japan, as well as 400 respondents from Singapore. In Singapore, 81% of the respondents say they like the flexibility of a hybrid work schedule.
What does a hybrid work schedule look like?
The widely accepted hybrid work model is spending around half (51%) of time in the office and half (49%) in remote work or work-from-home (WFH).
Generation Z (individuals born between 1997 and 2012) are becoming the largest workforce segment for this kind of setup. A study from SalesForce showed that 74% of Gen-Z prefers the hybrid work policy, while 37% of the respondents say they also would like to continue the hybrid setup full-time even after the pandemic.
The hybrid work model does not only give employers the freedom to schedule certain days for in-office appearances for their employees. More businesses globally are going further by hiring both locals and international employees for specific positions and specialised roles.
5 Benefits of hybrid work model
While it is clear that many employees prefer the work-from-home setup because of the convenience and flexibility for their part, employers can also enjoy many benefits from a hybrid workforce. Each of these benefits is discussed in more detail below.
1. It ensures the safety of your employees
Since employees work within the comfort of their own home, their risk of contracting the virus is signigicantly reduced through limited outside exposure. This setup is perfect for mitigating clusters in the office, which will be dreadful for any company.
2. It offers the best of both worlds
Forming a hybrid team means you have office-based and home-based employees. In an office setting, you can share ideas and communicate easily. Having some remote employees, however, can give you access to talent that is not limited to your existing team or geographic factors. This means your team can have fresh ideas from a perspective beyond the office space. A diverse team can be especially helpful if you have clients from different parts of the world and different time zones.
3. You have a bigger pool of talent
The internet provides access to a larger pool of talent. Hiring people from outside your local pool gives you the advantage of finding talents for specific roles that may not be readily available in your area.
Having a diverse and inclusive hybrid team will make you more competitive. With a global talent pool, you don’t have to wait for weeks to fill up specific positions, as many are available online.
4. Freedom and flexibility
Flexibility is, by far, the biggest reason why most employees prefer the work-from-home setup. They can have more time with their family while working from home, and opt to work from an office when the need arises. The ability for employees to decide where they can work best can improve their satisfaction and productivity, bringing positive results to their performance.
Similarly, everyone has different preferences in terms of when they are most productive during the day. Since an efficient hybrid workplace does not require everyone to work at the same time of the day, it lets employees work at their own pace and at their most efficient hours.
5. Help employees prioritise their wellbeing
The pandemic brought the world to its knees and looks to linger on for a while more. Giving employees the option to work from home helps them prioritise their wellbeing and family, above all else. This is the most important message you want your employees to take home and a great way to sustain morale and strengthen the company culture.
Why the office space is still important
While you may think that it’s feasible to shut down your office in favour for a full WFH setup, it is important to know that there are still invaluable benefits of having an office space, for both your employees and the sake of the business.
The office brings unique advantages to collaborations and internal communication. It provides a space for activity-based work, staff meetings, brainstorming, or any work that involves employee participations; it’s an avenue that fosters a sense of team and belonging that cannot be replaced virtually.
A great physical space is also healthy for the brand image for any business as it can speak volumes about your corporate identity.
Common Challenges in Hybrid Work Model
A disadvantage of the hybrid work policy is that remote employees may feel left out in terms of company culture. In an office setting, employees can easily interact with one another at any time. This is beneficial to build strong group dynamics and ensure there is good rapport amongst employees. Since this is not present in a work-from-home setup, employees need to find other ways and make time to kindle and foster such relationships in a hybrid environment.
A good way to address that is to arrange regular meetings in the office not solely for work but to catch up. The company can surround this over a lunch do or team-building events. To involve those who work remotely, casual chat groups can be set up to keep employees connected to emulate water-cooler conversations.
Having access to a flexible office space such as Compass Offices can help you work out the kinks as you adapt to this new hybrid work model. This type of office space model is designed for flexibility: it gives you the predictability of having your own office space and the adaptability of having more space for when you need to scale up. The access to tech and support available in this type of flexible space can make the transition a breeze.
While there is no tell to when the pandemic will be completely eradicated, going hybrid may prove to be the best way moving forward. It is a model that helps keep employers and employees on track with commitment, productivity, and safety to be the best they can at work and life.