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Team AckoJan 27, 2023
The pandemic brought the world to an abrupt standstill in 2020. Workplaces were not spared by the pandemic, forcing companies around the world to adapt to the remote work or work from home model. As the pandemic ranged on and started to dissipate in 2022, the remote work model gave way to a new method of working known as the hybrid work model. Unlike traditional in-person work, or even remote work, hybrid work models offered workers and employees the flexibility of working completely full-time, remote, with required yet infrequent in-person presence including at meetings, in organisation events, and to oversee machinery and other equipment.
Global studies and surveys prove that instead of breaking departments and making them drift further apart, that hybrid work actually brought teams together. Teams that once worked as silos now had the opportunity to connect with and meet their colleagues across the organisation over Zoom or other video meetings. According to Forbes, 90% of employees report the same, or higher, productivity levels working from home compared to the office, demonstrating the efficacy of hybrid work models. Learn more about the hybrid work model in this article, and how you can benefit from it.
Relying on remote work models during the pandemic, organisations were at the forefront of vaccine adoption to help people in the workforce return to in-person work. However, there was an interim period between going from all-remote work to in-person work that birthed the hybrid work model to allow employees to ease back into the traditional work model.
As employees returned to work, their organisations noted that productivity was higher with a hybrid work model which eased workers to full time jobs without yanking them out of their newly adopted remote and work from home work. The hybrid model successfully bridges the gaps in remote working such as gaps in communication, better employee experience, and constant learning and upskilling of employees.
The advantages outweigh the few disadvantages of a hybrid work model which can present challenges to employers. These disadvantages include the need to establish effective communication modes and encourage collaboration among team members who are working remotely or in the office. In addition, companies need to effectively manage and support remote workers as well as in-person employees. Organisations have to invest in labour-saving and supporting technology to ensure the success of hybrid work models. Finally, companies need to establish clear guidelines and expectations for remote work in company and HR policies.
A hybrid model works by allotting tasks and slots to different sections of the company's workforce. Hybrid work refers to a work arrangement in which employees split their time between working in an office and working remotely, often from home. It is a flexible arrangement that allows employees to choose when and where they work, depending on the needs of their job and their personal preferences. Employees take turns to work in-person, while their coworkers work remotely. Technology has aided in bringing hybrid work models to the forefront. Tools like collaboration technology help departments across the organisation work collaboratively on projects from anywhere and at any time!
Hybrid work benefits employers and their organisations. Among the benefits hybrid work offers are increased productivity, evening out the work-life balance, and little to no problems with commuting. Organisations find that hybrid work can reduce overhead costs such as paying rent, and maintaining tools and equipment. In addition, hybrid work models can help employers attract and retain top talent, as the workforce now demands hybrid or remote work options. Employees find and agree that hybrid work provides them greater flexibility and independence when it comes to their work environment and schedule.
During and in the wake of the pandemic, the hybrid workplace model offered employers and employees several ways to keep businesses running. These include the flexible hybrid work model, fixed hybrid work model, office-first and remote-first types. Companies and individuals integrate the work models that best suit their needs and requirements without compromising on efficiency, deadlines, and workloads.
Employees have the flexibility of remote work with the stability of in-person office work from time to time in the flexible hybrid workplace model. In this type of hybrid work, employees have greater autonomy and can manage their tasks in a work environment and schedule that suits them. Although the timing and number of hours an employee can work for are flexible, they will be expected to meet deadlines and complete projects in the same manner as working full time at the office. The flexible hybrid workplace model has been shown to increase productivity, job satisfaction, and allows employees to find a work-life balance that suits them best.
Organisations fix their employees schedule for working in the office or remotely in a fixed hybrid work model. Unlike the flexible model, where timings and work slots may vary, a fixed hybrid model requires the employee to be at office or work remotely at a set time for a certain period of time agreed upon by employer and employee.
As the name suggests, an office-first hybrid work model typically has employees working mostly from the office. Employees also have the option to work remote for a few days a week or a month. This type of hybrid work is seeing a rise in popularity post-pandemic, because employees can access office resources and meet coworkers, but also work remotely some of the time.
In remote-first work models, employees work remote most of the time, and will need to work in person for a couple of days a week or month. Remote-first work was one of the first few hybrid work models that were introduced as the pandemic waned, and employees were being eased back into full-time work. Still prevalent and the preferred hybrid model type, this variation offers employees an opportunity to connect with colleagues, use company resources, but still maintain higher levels of independence compared to the other types mentioned here. This is still the preferred method for employers to reduce overheads while being able to attract and retain top talent worldwide.
The hybrid work culture is here to stay, as employers leverage its benefits, and employees find that it fits into their work and life seamlessly. There are a number of criteria that led to the adoption of hybrid work, and continue to power it years later. Some of these factors drove workforces in pre-pandemic times, and are powerful tools that ensure that hybrid models aren't going away anytime soon.
The widespread availability and use of technology, such as video conferencing software and cloud-based collaboration tools, has made it easier for employees to work remotely and stay connected with their colleagues. Some of these tools include Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Rabbut.
Companies can save money with hybrid work models. The many ways they can save costs include reducing office space, lower rentals, lower overhead costs associated with resources and cost to company for commuting, meals, and on-site perks among others. Employees also enjoy the cost savings with little to no commuting, and reduced workloads.
After hybrid work models were introduced, many employees have come to prefer the flexibility and autonomy that comes with it, after 1 to 2 years working in this manner. Several employees looking for work or at their current companies demand remote work, whether it is full time remote or even partially remote. They cite their productivity and wellbeing as a priority leading them to choose hybrid work.
Although hybrid work started as a way for organisations to run their businesses in a safe and protected manner from COVID-19, hybrid work offers more health and safety benefits. During the flu season, for example, a sick worker can infect others, causing a strain on resources. Workers who do not need to come in close proximity to sick employees can stay safe and healthy, thus preventing them from falling sick and then not being able to work, bringing productivity down.
Today's employees demand remote or hybrid work models. Companies that offer a hybrid work option are what potential employees look for. This can help organisations hire and retain top talent, who may otherwise leave for a company that offers more flexible work options.
A Gallupreport states that among the many benefits of hybrid work, 71% of employees in 2022 cite improved work-life balance as one of the biggest benefits. In addition to improving work-life balance, the following are a few of the other hybrid work benefits.
Remote working was a work model that many companies had never taken seriously before. But it has its benefits. A Gartner survey notes that 50% of Indian employees working remotely feel like they were more productive as compared to working in-person
Work-life balance is considerably improved under the hybrid model, as it gives employees more scope to plan their work, and avoid unnecessary commute by giving them control over work hours and location; thereby reducing burnout.
There are a few key considerations to keep in mind when implementing a flexible hybrid work model:
Work is all about communication. This is even more important when employees are not in one location, but scattered around the globe. Clear and consistent communication channels help everyone be on the same page when it comes to tasks, projects, and workloads, whether they are working in the office or remotely.
Employees need access to the tools and technologies to work effectively. Whether employees work at the office or remote, they have to be equipped with the tools necessary for completing tasks and adhering to deadlines. Some of the technology companies could provide to employees include laptops, internet access, and access to video conferencing software such as Zoom.
Even if employees aren't working in-person full time, a positive workplace culture is important for their wellbeing and productivity. Adhering to and creating that workplace culture online is definitely challenging in a hybrid work model, but companies need to organise meetings, events, and activities to ensure that everyone meets and collaborates.
Employees working in a flexible hybrid work model will require support in the way of resources, tools, and equipment, to help them work more efficiently. Companies need to identify employee needs and provide them with the relevant support they need to ensure that employees feel confident and supported in their new work environment.
In hybrid work models, employees need to upskill and be ready to work with newer technologies their companies utilise. These softwares and tools may be powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Employees who cannot navigate these tools will need to learn how to use them so that they can provide the necessary work their companies require of them. Companies have to either offer training modules, or provide an allowance for employees to learn on their own.
The hybrid work model offers several schedules and arrangements to execute projects, meet deadlines, and boost productivity. Whether individual employees work remote and in-person, or if the entire organisation works remote on some days and in-person on other days will depend on individual and company needs. Companies have started implementing hybrid work arrangements according to their requirements to maximise efficiency, without it being dependent upon where employees work.
The most popular type of hybrid work is the flexible schedule. In this mode, individual employees can determine when and where they will work, according to project tasks, workloads, and deadlines. They may come up with a plan that suits them and their employer to work remotely on certain days, and in the office on the remaining days.
In a split schedule, organisations split the week for all employees to work in the office and work remotely. Split schedules are designed in such a way that a majority of the week is allocated for in-person work, with the remainder done remote or from home.
A rotating schedule is a roster where tasks and workloads are divided among employees who will take turns being remote and working in-person. These employees are organised by those working at the office and those who will be working remotely, with tasks and moving parts of projects routinely monitored for progress. All personnel will be designated a certain task or portion of a project across locations to ensure deadlines and project goals are met.
Unlike a hybrid work model, a hybrid office is designed in such a way that company spaces are designated for employees who choose to work in-person. Alternative arrangements are created for employees who opt to work remote or at another location so they do not need to come in.
In this set up, employees will be able to work independently while remote. Many of their tasks and workloads that can be completed off-site may be done at home, another office, or at a co-working space. The rest of the time, the employee would be at their designated and official work office or workspace.
According to Harvard Business Review, employees can feel isolated and fatigued working from home, but do not want to give up the flexibility and comfort of remote work. This is where hybrid work steps in, to offer formerly remote-workers the opportunity to enhance and boost their engagement.
One of the ways that organisations can boost employee engagement is via social proximity, or simply being around other people - including coworkers. In hybrid work models, meetings, on-site work, and company organisations are a way for employees to connect and engage.
Some of the pitfalls of working independently is often the lack of being able to critique one's own work, accountability, and group efforts. A competent manager can keep individual employees and teams on target, supporting them when they need a hand, and steering the company in the right direction towards hitting goals and meeting targets.
Whether online or in-person, company-wide meetings, departmental check-ins, and even one-on-one meetings ensure that no member is missed. This goes a long way in ensuring that all employees are doing well, and able to strive towards a single goal. Employees who need support can be identified and the right resources or training allocated to them to provide productive and efficient work.
Nothing boosts engagement at the workplace than appreciation does! Project managers, team leads, and C-suite executives can offer encouraging notes to employees doing a good job, and consider a small token of appreciation in the form of year end gifts. These small gestures go a long way in retaining talent and keeping them going in hybrid work models!
Although work from home and hybrid work share many similarities, there are subtle differences that set the two apart. Working remote or from home limits social interaction with teams and colleagues, whereas hybrid work offers some degree of social interaction.
Work from Home
Can be remote, in-person, or combination of both
Employers determine schedule
Collaboration with in-house teams
Collaboration with global teams
Meet with colleagues regularly
Limited social interaction
Home and work are clearly demarcated
Lines between home and work are blurred
What is the future of hybrid work? Hybrid work is here to stay, as demonstrated by the numbers of employees who show that they prefer it over traditional and remote work models. Organisations, too, find that hybrid work offers higher levels of productivity, better work, efficient projects, and keeps their employees happy. This is a win-win situation that will be impacted by the introduction of an even faster internet in the form of 5G, cutting-edge technology to aid employees, and automation.
Technology created to assist employees in their hybrid work models help organisations meet their deadlines, boost profits, and in turn help the employees stay on and stay happy. Employers can successfully bring a balance between remote and onsite working models with the help of supportive technology.
AI tools have empowered companies with the means to manage and monitor their employees. From tracking progress, to assisting employees with training, and generating performance reports, AI tools create better relationships between employers and employees especially in hybrid work models.
Protecting the interests of the company and its employees is key in a hybrid work model era. HR policies for hybrid work models list guidelines and practices to manage and support employees. Companies can start crafting their hybrid work model HR policies by asking their team members what's working, what's not, and what's most effective for them in a hybrid work model.
HR policies need to be transparent in detailing what is meant by hybrid work. This will include how much time employees are expected to spend in the office and how much time they are expected to spend working remotely. In addition, the work models that organisations and their employees use need to be explained.
Establishing guidelines on employee communication and collaboration is essential in a hybrid work model HR policy. These communication and collaboration definitions could include the use of video conferencing and technology such as Zoom.
Employees will need to be evaluated on their performance to demonstrate areas of improvement or ones they excel in. These evaluations can be managed in a hybrid work environment by setting clear goals and expectations.
It is important for organisations to give their employees the tools and technology they need in order to work effectively. These guidelines will govern employee productivity whether they are on site or working remote. Tools and software that come under this need to be clearly defined and explained.
Protecting the interests of employees' health and safety are important, whether they work remotely or in the office. The HR policies go evening this may involve providing guidelines for healthy work habits, and address any potential risks or hazards.
To adapt to a changing world of work, organisations need to regularly review and update their hybrid work HR policies. These updates will ensure that these policies meet the needs of employees and the organisation in hybrid work models.
A hybrid work model blends in-office and remote work for flexibility and efficiency for both organisations and their employees. In a hybrid workplace, employees enjoy greater autonomy over work and time, and better work-life balance.
Yes, hybrid working is a good thing. Scholarly research finds that employees are happier and more productive. Organisations can reduce costs and meet deadlines better in addition to improving their downline.
Yes, hybrid work models are effective. It produces more efficient projects, meets deadlines faster, and offers employees the flexibility they need to work in ways that are most effective for them.
There are 4 types of hybrid work models which are:
Flexible hybrid work model
Fixed hybrid work model
Office-first hybrid work model
Remote-first hybrid work model
Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on industry experience and several secondary sources on the internet and is subject to changes. Please go through the applicable policy wordings for updated ACKO-centric content before making any insurance-related decisions.
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