Hybrid working is a style of working that breaks away from the traditional model of working. In traditional models work is done at a specific location at set times and days. In a hybrid working model, workers and workplaces are able to choose days and times and locations in which work they work from home or at the workplace.
Hybrid working has been around since the early 90s and has become an ever-increasing option for workers and work places alike. Unlike in the early 90s, high speed internet connections are in almost every workers house. Video conferencing, cloud storage and computing power have all led to a position where hybrid working, for some, can be a great alternative to the traditional working models.
What is hybrid work?
Hybrid working is a type of working model that allows both employers and employees flexibility in terms of days, times and location of work.
The specific hybrid working model used for each workplace should be one that fits both the worker and the workplace. It is not true that there is one type of hybrid model that fits all. In fact, hybrid models are almost always specific to the workplace and worker. Flexibility, work-life balance and commute costs can all be improved with a hybrid working model.
Types of hybrid work models
As mentioned previously there is no one fits all when it comes to hybrid models. There are many types of hybrid models to choose from. Some of these hybrid models might fit your entire workplace, but more often than not you will find that one hybrid model encapsulates many sub hybrid model types for each worker. Some hybrid work models include:
A fully remote hybrid work model involves a worker never needing to go into an office or commute to a place of work. This model suits a lot of online service business, such as content writers and software developers. A full remote hybrid working model offers entrepreneurs and business owners the ability to scale back costs on rent and insurances by not needing a brick and mortar premises like before. However, a fully remote hybrid model does have its drawbacks. Not having regular in person meet ups can lead to a sense of isolation for workers, and in creative industries not being able to have in person collaborations can stifle creative output and progression.
Hybrid Remote & Office
Hybrid remote & office working involves working some days in the office and some days at home. This model is the most popular model and offers the best of both worlds when it comes to creative collaborations and cutting costs for workers in terms of commuting. Hybrid remote working with some days in the office does not work for some companies. One of the biggest issues with this style of hybrid work models is that it can sometimes be difficult to coordinate large workplaces where each worker has different days off. To combat this, some industries with large workplaces have introduced set days and times for specific teams or workers involved in specific projects.
A fixed hybrid model could be a model that is always in place as a rule, or it could be used to fit a specific project that the worker is currently taking part in. The advantages of a fixed hybrid model are that the workplace knows when everyone will be in the work place at any specific date on the calendar year. This is great in terms of planning regular training or safety meetings. A fixed hybrid contract could also lead to some issue for the workforce, as the inflexible nature of the model could be hard for some workers to arrange their work life around.
Flexi hybrid is another popular model of hybrid working that benefits industries such as research, consulting and software development. This model really puts the worker first, offering the flexibility to work how and where they want. A flexi hybrid model allows the worker to choose days and times regardless of projects they are working on or teams they are in. A flexi hybrid working model would not work for some industries such as manufacturing or forward facing customer service roles.
Advantages of hybrid work
Advantages of hybrid work come for both the employee and the employer. The main benefit for both being flexibility, other benefits of hybrid work include:
Benefits for employees
- Cut down commute costs and time
- Offer a better work-life balance
- Arrange work around your personal life
Benefits for employers
- Increased productivity
- Attract a wider range of talent
- Cut down overhead costs
Disadvantages of hybrid work
Working remotely can have a huge positive impact on the companies productivity and workplace morale. However, hybrid working in a remote scene can be hugely impracticable and in some cases can lead to less productivity. It should be noted that hybrid working as a model cannot be used in some industries and sectors. Customer facing service roles or security industries are some of the industries that may find the disadvantages of hybrid working far out weigh the advantages.
Challenges for employees
- Feeling of isolation
- Not enough social interaction
- Having to dedicate an area of the home for work
Challenges for employers
- Additional procedures and time to coordinate remote and office days
- Reduced in person collaborations
- Less team bonding and building
Factors driving hybrid work
The graph above shows the trend in the amount of searches on google for the keyword “Hybrid Working”. It’s no surprise that the trends shows a massive up tick around the same time that lockdowns were being implemented around the world.
The lockdowns of 2020-2021 were almost a mass experiment on hybrid working in different sectors across the globe. Employees saw the benefit of the work-life balance and reduced commute times. Employers saw benefits, including in some cases, no longer needing to have a brick and mortar premises, drastically reducing cost.
Like most new ways of working and new models of working, there are some positive use cases and some negative use cases.
The bottom line of hybrid working is to show that for an entrepreneur, startup or current business owner there are more ways of operating rather than a traditional 9 to 5 Monday to Friday model. Working models should be tailor-made to suit not only the employee and employer, but also the industry and sector that they are in.