Given the events of 2020, it’s no surprise that many suggest the hybrid office is the future of work.
While some have argued that tomorrow’s workplace will be fully remote, others claim that this is too extreme. Instead, they suggest, we will blend onsite and remote working into a single office model.
Below, we’ll explore exactly what the hybrid office is, its pros and cons, and some statistics related to the hybrid office.
Pros and Cons of the Hybrid Office Model
A hybrid office includes both remote working practices as well as onsite work, as mentioned.
This model attempts to blend the best of both worlds – employees can enjoy the benefits of working from home, while still maintaining social connections at the office.
There are several reasons to incorporate more telecommuting into the workplace, even after the pandemic ends.
Benefits of Remote Working
Research from Buffer, for instance, has shown that:
- 98% of remote workers would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their career
- 97% would recommend remote working to others
- 80% of remote workers worked from home
These findings fall in line with research from Morning Consult, which found that:
- Around 3 out of 4 Americans would like to work from home at least one day per week, even after the pandemic ends
- 78% found that remote working saved them a lot of time during the day
- 71% felt more comfortable working from home than in an office
- 70% felt that remote working gave them more time to focus on their health
On top of benefits such as these, other research has found that, when telecommuting programs are executed properly, remote workers are more productive than onsite workers.
Cons to Remote Working
Despite the benefits covered above, it must be remembered that remote working is not a cure-all in and of itself. As with any other office model, it has its own drawbacks and considerations.
- Remote workers often feel more isolated from their teammates
- Many remote workers find that effective communication and collaboration is one of their top challenges
- Maintaining a cohesive workplace culture becomes more difficult as more telecommuting is introduced into the workplace
Done right, the benefits covered earlier can outweigh drawbacks such as these – however, proper execution is key, as noted above.
To take full advantage of remote working and design a seamless hybrid office, it is important to be strategic. Below, we’ll look at a few ways to implement the hybrid office effectively.
How to Adopt a Hybrid Office Model Effectively and Efficiently
Here are a few quick pointers to keep in mind when adopting a hybrid office model:
Digital tools make a big difference in the workplace experience
Since remote workers operate in a fully digital workplace, it is more important than ever to adopt the right digital tools and workflows.
Having the right tools, after all, directly affects:
- Employee productivity
- Employees’ ability to communicate and collaborate effectively
- The digital workplace experience
Having the wrong tools, on the other hand, can create software-related frustration, lower productivity, and more.
Have the right software onboarding and training solutions
Deploying new tools in the workplace is only the first step.
To actually make use of those tools, employers must also provide effective:
- Software onboarding
- Short- and long-term software training
- Ongoing technical support
That is, they must develop a structured digital adoption strategy.
Digital adoption – ensuring that software users are fully utilizing software for its intended purpose – is vitally important in today’s digital-first workplace.
However, it is even more important in a hybrid or remote workplace. After all, employees are interacting and operating in a completely digital work environment.
If employees lack the proper skills to use that technology, their performance, productivity, and engagement will suffer.
Implement the same policies across the workforce
The Buffer study cited earlier suggested that remote working policies were most effective when implemented universally across the entire workforce.
They found, for instance, that those who don’t recommend telecommuting work at offices with a mix of onsite and offsite workers.
That is, some workers are remote and some are not.
It is easy to see why such as setup could cause problems for the workforce:
- Teams are divided into two camps, which can cause a cultural rift
- Those teams working onsite will have one communication style, while offsite teams will have another
- Managers and teams will need to juggle two separate work styles
Integrating these two work paradigms into a single workflow will, in all likelihood, present an endless challenge for both managers and employees.
The solution: maintain a single telecommuting policy for the entire workforce.
When the same expectations, protocols, and workflows are applied consistently across the entire team, it will be easier for them to communicate, collaborate, and meet expectations.