The onset of Covid-19 brought forceful changes in the lifestyle of people around the world. Be it work life or social life; we have seen different approaches towards a new way of living. Also called the new “NORMAL”. Companies and organizations across the globe established contemporary ways of working models which would be beneficial and safe for the firms as well as their employees. The most popular among these is the hybrid model of working.
Also read: Work from home is the new normal
Hybrid Working Model: A blend of Work from Office and Work from Home
In the hybrid working model companies allow their employees to work partly from remote areas like their homes and partly from their office, giving employees full flexibility to choose whether they want to work from home or office.
Not all jobs can be based on hybrid work model, some jobs require the employees to be physically present in the office. Now you must be wondering that every employee (whose job model can be hybrid) can opt for work from home and just call it a remote working model, right?
Well, that can be the case, but what makes this model different from the remote work model is that whenever there is any need for a team meeting or product launch or any such important gathering, employees are required to be present in the physical offices. While on regular working days the employees can choose to work from office or remotely from home.
The work environment of Hybrid Working Model
Surveys suggest that there has been an increase in efficiency of employees who has flexible working model and are able to provide more energy to their work. Team meetings and communications with the senior management happen virtually with comfort from their homes. Even HRs of firms are recruiting and managing remote teams effectively.
Advantages of Hybrid working model
There are many advantages of a hybrid working model for both the employer and the employees.
· Increased Productivity
Companies can adjust workforce structure and bring flexibility to increase productivity in a hybrid model. If employees feel lonely, less productive, or inconsistent staying at home for a long time they can come back to the office and collaborate with their colleagues anytime they wish.
· Improved work-life balance
Work-life balance is one of the major retention factors for employees. Post-pandemic there has been tremendous change in the workstyle which ensured better work-life balance. This on the other hand guarantee employee satisfaction.
· Reduced costs
This can be regarded as the key benefit of a hybrid working model. Companies can save huge on office space, infrastructure, rents, and electricity bills. According to a survey conducted by Gartner in 2021, 43% of respondents told that the flexibility in working hours helped achieve greater productivity while 30% told that less or no time in commuting helped them to be more productive. As this condition increased employee satisfaction, this can ensure saving on talent acquisition also.
· Increased job applicants/job retentions
With such working conditions and job structure, there is an increased chance of retaining the employees who would leave due to personal issues like children, location, family. Also, there can be an increase in job applications for a particular role, and people with location issues and disabilities can also apply.
Challenges of Hybrid Work Model
Although the hybrid model of work has many benefits, there are some challenges faced by the companies too.
· Improper communications between employees and management
There is a high chance of miscommunication between the management and within the team. In order to tackle this problem, there should be a proper schedule and timings of meetings and discussions.
· Lack of knowledge on communication tools
Many employees face problems due to the lack of expertise in using communication tools. Companies should invest in teaching their employees these tools which can help in solving the communication gap.
· Data Security
There is a risk of company data being exposed and hacked when employees work from home. Companies should provide laptops and computers which are exclusive for office use and invest in security systems.
How can a company adopt a Hybrid Model of Working?
For a company to adopt a hybrid model of working, they need to have a proper plan and strategy beforehand. Let us take a look at a few steps companies should consider before going for this type of model
1. Surveying employees and finding out what they need.
2. Creating different employee personas.
3. Investing in company culture.
4. Creating a great strategy and executing it accordingly.
5. Collect continuous feedback.
6. Conducting remote employee engagement activities.
Types of Hybrid Work Models
As we have discussed earlier that there is no one size fits all type of hybrid working model, therefore different companies need different strategies and plan to maintain their efficiency and be competitive in the market.
The employees in the Citi group had a 50/50 split between remote and in-office work. Bank employees and managers need to work in the office whereas employees of other departments can work remotely every day of the week. The CEO of Citi banned video meetings on Fridays. New names have been appointed based on employees working methods like, “Hybrid”, “Remote” and “Resident” and these would be applied to new joiners too.
The company has decided that they would have an ‘Office Centric Model’ of working in which the employees have to work at least 3 days in office. Although team leaders can decide what works best for their team. The reason they have an office-centric model is that they believe that innovation can only come through physical collaboration.
The CEO of Quora, Adam D’Angelo, said in his statement that the company would be shifting to the “Remote First Model”. In this type, all the employees can relocate from offices and work remotely. He also stated that the offices are always open for the employees who want to value working from the office.
Different ways of designing employee benefits for hybrid working companies are on rising with the onset of different working models.
Is the Hybrid Model of Working here to stay?
The hybrid work companies list shows that many MNCs are adopting this work culture and experts believe that this working model is here to stay. More than 55% of employees think that they prefer 3 days of remote work. Many companies have announced that they would be going hybrid. Some reasons have been stated by experts as to why employees are preferring the hybrid model.
· Better working conditions with good work-life balance
· Employees enjoy the benefit of time, as there is no constraint in it.
· There is an increase in money savings for employees as they don’t need extra expenses on transportation, fuel, etc.
· Most of the employees recruited in this era are gen-z (people born after 1997), who enjoy social life and with this type of model, they are not just restricted to office culture.