What is hybrid work and why do employees want it?

Hybrid work is a flexible work arrangement where employees have the option to work both remotely and in a physical office. It blends elements of traditional in-office work with remote work, allowing employees to choose where they work based on their preferences and job requirements.

Hybrid work is a new way of working that mixes elements from traditional office setups and remote work. It’s evolved over time and is known by different names like flexible or distributed work. While many companies worldwide have embraced it, it’s not the same for everyone. Different businesses and their employees have their own versions of hybrid work. In this article, we’ll explore what hybrid work means and how you can smoothly transition to it.

We’ll talk about:

  • What exactly is hybrid work?
  • The good and not-so-good sides of hybrid work.
  • Four different types of hybrid work schedules.
  • How hybrid work has changed over time and what we’ve learned.
  • Tips for making hybrid work successful and how to introduce it to your workplace.
  • The technology you’ll need to make hybrid work function well.

What exactly is hybrid work?

Hybrid work means you can work sometimes in the office and sometimes from home. It can be flexible, fitting different schedules. Companies doing hybrid work help employees balance work and life better. This makes employees happier and more engaged, boosting productivity and making businesses run smoother.

The good and not-so-good sides of hybrid work

Hybrid work has its perks and drawbacks.

Good Side:

  1. Flexibility: Employees can choose where they work, balancing office time with remote work.
  2. Work-life Balance: Hybrid work helps in managing personal and professional life better.
  3. Increased Productivity: Some find they work better from home, while others benefit from the office environment.
  4. Cost and Time Savings: Less commuting means saving money and time.
  5. Health and Safety: Reducing exposure to illnesses, like during the pandemic, is a plus.

Not-so-Good Side:

  1. Communication Challenges: Coordinating with remote and in-office colleagues can be tricky.
  2. Inequality: Some employees might feel left out or treated unfairly in promotions or opportunities.
  3. Technology Hurdles: Reliable internet and tech are crucial, and not everyone has equal access.
  4. Social Isolation: Lack of face-to-face interaction can lead to loneliness or feeling disconnected.
  5. Blurred Boundaries: It’s easy to overwork when the office is always accessible from home.

Four different types of hybrid work schedules

Hybrid work means there are different ways to make it work for your business. For instance, you might want to give your employees the freedom to plan their work week without any strict rules. Or you might think that having your employees come to the office on certain days will make everyone happier and more productive. It’s important to choose the best hybrid work schedule for your business because each schedule has its own benefits and challenges.

Here are the four types of work schedules:

  1. Hybrid at-will: Employees can decide which day(s) they want to work in the office.
  2. Structured hybrid or hybrid split-week: Your company sets specific days for onsite and remote work for everyone or for different teams.
  3. Hybrid manager-scheduling: Managers choose the day(s) when their team should work in the office.
  4. Hybrid mix: A combination of all three options.

How hybrid work has changed over time and what we’ve learned

Hybrid work is pretty common nowadays, with most U.S. companies using it. But it’s been around for a while. Back in 2019, around 32% of the U.S. workforce (that’s about 60 million people) were already doing some form of hybrid work. Over time, we’ve learned a lot about how to make hybrid work better, and we’re still learning.

To make hybrid work successful, you need the right tools. It’s not just about where people work, but also about how the office supports them. That might mean things like hot-desking, booking meeting rooms easily, or a simple check-in system for employees. Having the right tools can make hybrid work smoother.

The office should have a purpose for your employees. If they’re coming in from home, it should be for a good reason. Maybe it’s for team collaboration, meetings, or focused work. Whatever it is, make sure the office setup supports what your employees need to do their best work.

Hybrid work can be different for every company. It’s not one-size-fits-all. When you’re setting up hybrid work, tailor it to fit your company’s needs. That might mean adjusting schedules or having smaller workspaces alongside your main office. The key is to make it work for you and your team.

The future of hybrid work is still uncertain. We know what it is now, but it’ll keep changing as workplaces evolve. There’s no fixed destination for hybrid work—it’ll adapt as we learn more about what works best for businesses and employees.

Tips for making hybrid work successful and how to introduce it to your workplace

Now that you understand what hybrid work means, the different kinds of hybrid work schedules, and the pros and cons, it’s time to introduce hybrid work to your company. To start using a hybrid work setup, you’ll need the right people, processes, and technology.

Here are some tips to follow for successful hybrid work:

  1. Keep talking to your employees. Communication is super important! When you introduce new rules for working in the office, it affects everyone. It’s vital to keep them informed and ask for their thoughts when introducing hybrid work or changing the rules.
  2. Team up with HR and IT. It’s crucial to work together across different departments when adopting hybrid work. This ensures that your workplace technology works smoothly and supports everyone, no matter where they work.
  3. Make the office a nice place to work. No more dull or strict offices! With hybrid work, the office should be somewhere employees actually want to be. So, creating an exciting workplace is key.
  4. Keep both remote and in-office employees happy. With hybrid work, some people will be at home while others are in the office. Finding ways to make everyone happy and connected is essential for keeping morale and engagement high.

The technology you’ll need to make hybrid work function well

This guide gives you all you need to make hybrid work happen smoothly in your company. Now, let’s check out some tools to boost your hybrid work setup.

  1. Desk/room booking technology: This lets your team book desks or meeting rooms using a mobile app. Book a desk for solo work or grab a bigger space for team meetings.
  2. Workplace schedules: Sync up your schedule with coworkers to make sure you’re all on the same page. See who’s coming in when, and easily plan collaborations and meetings.
  3. Office wayfinding: Think of this as your GPS for work! It’s like having a map of your office that helps your team find each other, available desks, meeting spots, and more.
  4. Workplace analytics software: This gives you insights into how your workspace is used. See foot traffic and space usage to design a workplace that works best for your team.

Conclusion

In conclusion, hybrid work offers a compromise between the flexibility of remote work and the benefits of in-person collaboration. It meets the evolving needs of employees by providing autonomy and work-life balance while also supporting organizational goals such as productivity and collaboration.