The coronavirus pandemic forced business owners and HR directors to adapt overnight to ensure their employees could work efficiently from home.
Consequently, hybrid working arrangements have been the norm for many organizations over the last two years.
In fact, a Microsoft report showed that 73% of respondents wanted flexible remote work options to continue in the future, while another survey showed that 40% of workers will consider quitting if made to return to the office full-time.
With this in mind, employers now need to build a hybrid workplace strategy that allows employees to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Today, we help you to understand the benefits, challenges, and practicalities of hybrid working.
What is Hybrid Working?
Hybrid working is a more flexible model of working where employees work both in the office and remotely. However, every company’s hybrid setup will be unique and depend on the company.
Therefore, each business owner and HR director develops a hybrid working model or schedule based on:
- The needs of the company
- The needs of the individual employee
- The work being performed
Hybrid Working Benefits and Advantages
Employers and employees benefit from hybrid work in the following ways:
- Improved productivity and employee satisfaction
- Talent from different locations, economic backgrounds, cultures, and skill sets
- Improved talent retention because of flexible work schedules
Advantage/Benefit #1 – Increased Productivity and Employee Satisfaction
Most business owners and human resource directors believe that employees will do less work if they’re allowed to pick their own work hours.
Far from it, though, employees who have autonomy over how and where they work are more productive and satisfied with their jobs. After all, working remotely is associated with less distractions, less in-person micromanagement, and an improved quality of life.
In fact, recent studies have shown a rise in productivity among employees working from home:
- 90% of workers stated that they were equally or more productive working from home compared to the office.
- 32.2% of hiring managers say overall productivity has gone up among remote employees.
- 48% of workers want to work from home permanently.
Advantage/Benefit #2 – Broader Talent Pool
Hybrid working opens the doors to new talent pools beyond what hiring managers deem a commutable distance to their office space.
This allows you to fill skill gaps in your organization and acquire top talent from across the globe.
Also, the Work Trend Index 2021 Annual Report showed that 46% of remote workers were willing to move to a new location to be able to work remotely.
LinkedIn data also shows that remote job postings grew by 2.4x between May 2020 and May 2021.
These trends indicate that talent pools are no longer restricted by location or a candidate’s capacity to relocate.
Advantage/Benefit #3 – Improved Employee Retention
A hybrid working environment leads to enhanced employee retention because:
- Younger employees prefer a greater degree of control over their working location and hours.
- Young parents and caregivers embrace the opportunity to work from home as it allows for more time with family and flexibility with childcare.
- People who feel their work-life balance is supported are less likely to leave your organization.
According to a Gallup poll, 54% of workers were willing to leave their current job for one that allowed for more flexibility in their schedule.
Disadvantages and Challenges of Hybrid Working
The possible challenges of hybrid working include:
- Reduced social participation
- Cybersecurity risks
Disadvantage/Challenge #1 – Reduced Social Participation
Hybrid work policy reduces opportunities for employees to get together in social situations.
A survey conducted to assess the psychological well-being of respondents who worked 41–60 hours from home showed that:
- 20% of employees felt more isolated compared to 14% who worked the same hours at their employer’s premises
Another study found that 61% of respondents missed office interactions.
Disadvantage/Challenge #2 – Cybersecurity Risks in the New Hybrid Work Environment
76% of companies adopted cloud services faster than they had anticipated due to the pandemic. This didn’t only increase attack vectors, but created vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit.
Emerging data shows that the FBI reported a 400% increase in cybersecurity complaints since the onset of the pandemic. That’s about 4,000 complaints per day, as compared to 100 complaints before COVID-19.
Disadvantage/Challenge #3 – Exhaustion
The lack of an established structure can result in irregular working hours, procrastination, and ultimately, exhaustion.
Exhaustion can also arise due to increased digital collaboration, including:
- Remote meetings
- Emails and online chats
- Groups working on documents together
According to a Microsoft study — high productivity tends to mask an exhausted workforce — as shown in the stats below:
- 54% of the interviewees reported feeling overworked frequently.
- 39% tend to feel exhausted.
- 60% of Gen Z claim they survive, rather than live.
- 62% of meetings aren’t planned in advance.
How to Make Hybrid Working a Roaring Success
Define Your Hybrid Working Policy
To ensure your hybrid working policy makes an impact and promotes best practices:
- Clearly set out which roles are eligible for hybrid working and why they are to mitigate future disputes.
- Clarify the expectations you have when employees are working in the office and remotely, such as working hours, breaks, and sickness reporting.
- Explain how to request hybrid work.
- Clarify roles and responsibilities for hybrid workers and their managers.
- Review other related policies such as homeworking, health and safety, expenses, IT usage, and data protection.
The policies appropriate for your organization will depend on your specific context. In addition, remember to issue your hybrid working policy with supporting guidance and information to enable effective implementation.
Communication, communication, communication
With team members working in different locations and possibly on different schedules, clear and consistent communication is more important than ever.
Here are some ways you can address this:
- Set Clear Expectations: It’s important to establish clear expectations for communication from the outset. Determine the preferred communication methods and frequency for team meetings, individual check-ins, and other forms of communication. Make sure everyone is on the same page about when and how to use each channel, and what to expect in terms of response time.
- Utilize Technology: Technology can be a game-changer when it comes to communication in a hybrid work environment. Consider using messaging apps like Slack, video conferencing tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, and project management software like Asana or Trello to keep everyone connected and on the same page. Be sure to provide training and support to ensure that all team members are comfortable and proficient with the tools.
- Foster Connection: Hybrid work environments can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection, so it’s important to take steps to foster connection among team members. Encourage social interaction through virtual team building activities or informal chat channels. Consider scheduling regular virtual coffee breaks or happy hours to allow team members to connect on a personal level.
- Practice Active Listening: Active listening is a crucial skill for effective communication in any setting, but it’s especially important in a hybrid work environment. When communicating virtually, it’s easy to become distracted or miss important cues. Make a conscious effort to practice active listening by focusing on the speaker, asking clarifying questions, and paraphrasing to ensure understanding.
- Provide Feedback: In a hybrid work environment, it can be more difficult to provide feedback and offer constructive criticism. Make a point to provide regular feedback, both positive and negative, to team members. Encourage open and honest communication, and provide specific examples and actionable suggestions for improvement.
Experiment With Different Hybrid Remote Working Models
There’s no one-size-fits-all type of hybrid workplace. Therefore, experimenting with different hybrid remote working models has the following benefits:
- Opportunity to customize according to employees and the organization’s preferences and needs
- Ability to define work according to specific time commitments, work type, and worker categories
- Gives employees the flexibility they desire
- Maximizes employee productivity and engagement
The table below shows the most common types of hybrid remote working models:
|Type of Hybrid Remote Working Models||Characteristics|
|Remote||Some employees occasionally visit a physical workspace such as an office or coworking space|
|Split||Splits the week between working from home 2–3 days per week and working onsite 2–3 days per week|
|In-person||Employees may report to the physical workplace but can work remotely|
|Week-by-week||Employees alternate working from home and working in the office on a weekly basis|
Combine It With Professional Development
Business owners and HR directors who don’t focus on corporate training and development will lose out on:
Therefore, Quantic’s online programs are an essential training method for hybrid workforces. Our online MBA and online EMBA programs offer employers the advantage of our Tuition Reimbursement Program, which allows you to reimburse your employees.
Quantic’s online MBA program is also the only program that will give your employees the skills they need for long-term growth, and free access to top of the line training in the skills they need to compete.
Quantic’s students perform as well as or better than MBA students from HBS and UNC. The quality of education also rivals that of the top 10 business schools worldwide.
For more information on how we can help integrate the online MBA into your workplace, contact us today.
“Participating in Quantic’s EMBA influenced how I approached my current role and contributed to me receiving a promotion prior to completing the program.”Marcus Gilmore, New York University
Create Hybrid Working Best Practices
The benefits of creating hybrid working best practices are:
- They provide the best course of action in a certain situation.
- They serve as the roadmap for how to operate a hybrid workplace.
Examples of hybrid working best practices include:
- Lead by example: Encourage transparency in how teams use their time and be flexible in coordinating how work gets done.
- Stipulate expectations for in-person meetings: Set the location in advance to ensure you have the technology required to effectively communicate with those on Zoom or teams.
- Recognize the signs of burnout for yourself and others: These can include measurable declines in the quality of work, withdrawal, irritability, and poor concentration.
- Build a learning culture: Implement an elearning platform to kickstart the learning process.
Build a Productive Hybrid Working Environment
One of the main reasons employees dislike hybrid working is that they change environments frequently.
Here are ways employees can boost productivity and reduce the friction that comes with maintaining multiple workspaces:
- Go paperless as much as possible to avoid carrying files back and forth between home and office.
- Invest in a second external keyboard, mouse, and laptop charger, so you don’t have to plug and unplug everything all the time.
- Determine which tasks need to be done exclusively in the office.
Business owners and HR directors support a productive hybrid working environment by ensuring that employees are well-cared for. A team’s performance may also be enhanced through upskilling, coaching, recognizing others’ needs, patience, and providing others time to perform a task.
If you’re ready to supercharge your team and enhance their performance and loyalty, set up tuition reimbursement for Quantic’s degree programs today.
“Quantic is pedagogy done right for the modern omni-learner……..I could really see the best practices so often talked about…..”Samuel Miles, Yale University