Hybrid work is all the rage these days. And although it started long before the pandemic, hybrid work really came into its own and became the new way to work in 2021. It was during this time that organizations struggled to navigate unprecedented health concerns associated with COVID-19. To improve work conditions and ensure ongoing productivity and profitability, many organizations either went completely remote or took the hybrid option.
With the flexible hybrid option, employees have the freedom to choose where and when they work. And many are choosing to work from home now that they’ve had a chance to experience the pleasures of working in pajamas, taking the occasional mid-day snooze, discretely running an errand or two, and still managing to be more productive than ever before.
And this is true of even those who, at first, hated the prospect of working from home. Some of the more extroverted among us enjoyed the camaraderie of being shoulder to shoulder with co-workers in an in-person environment. It was for this group, especially that the idea of working from home, isolated from the rest of the world, was worse than any other scenario possible. However, virtually every worker, extroverted, introverted, or in-between, appreciates the idea of liberty at work, with each person empowered to manage themselves and decide on where and how they work best.
That means working in the office for some, but maybe not all of the time. This group may prefer to come into the office on a semi-regular basis, such as two days out of every week.
For others, it means working exclusively from home with the option to come in for the occasional meeting and company barbeque.
And for all, it means independence. It points to an organization that trusts its employees to make smart choices with their time. It’s all-around good feels.
Hybrid work isn’t always the right choice. Sometimes, it’s the absolute worst choice that an organization can make for itself and its employees. Let’s explore the pros and cons of hybrid work to help you decide if this is the best choice for your organization.
The Pros of Hybrid Work
Pro: Better Work-Life Balance
Whether they choose to work from home or their office, employees who participate in a hybrid work model tend to experience a better balance between their work and their personal lives. They can often choose their schedule to fit their needs, deciding when they work and when they take breaks.
Pro: More Autonomy Over Their Day
Employees are happiest when they retain control over how, when, and where they work. After all, no one likes to be micromanaged.
Pro: Greater Productivity
Studies have proven that remote workers tend to be more productive than their in-office counterparts. Simply being in the office doesn’t make the employee more productive. It just indicates that they’re present. They may still be dawdling and not doing. However, when working from home, an employee is likely to be self-motivated to get their work done.
Hybrid employees are also less likely to take time off, or even sick days. They tend to fit work around their personal to-dos.
Remote workers also seem to be more task-oriented when working from home. Instead of logging hours as they would in the office under a traditional work model, hybrid workers focus on how completing tasks. This makes them naturally more productive.
Pro: Attractive to New Employees
Are you looking to hire a new employee? Many modern-minded workers look for organizations that offer workplace flexibility. If you offer this type of model, you can attract many more candidates than you would if you demand workers to report to a central office.
Hybrid arrangements also mean that you can cast a wider net when hiring. If you don’t require all of the employees to work from the office, you can hire from anywhere in the world. This gives you access to the best talent on the planet.
Pro: Greater Employee Retention
The hybrid work model often leads to higher employee retention. Employees are more likely to stick with an organization that offers them the flexibility to work as they see fit.
Pro: Less Money Spent
A hybrid work model doesn’t do away with an office, but it does reduce the need to maintain a large office. Instead of spending the extra money on square footage and the utilities required to maintain that space, you can invest that money into actively growing your organization. You can also afford to provide more perks for your employees, such as work-from-home equipment allowances.
Pro: Better Health Conditions
By giving your employees the option to work from home or from the office, your employees can work where they feel comfortable. Employees who are sick or who are afraid of getting sick are able to work from home when they need to without feeling stressed out about their job security. This improves work conditions in the office and reduces unnecessary exposure to illnesses.
The Cons of Hybrid Work
Let’s now look at some of the drawbacks to consider before adopting this model in your
Con: Not Possible for Every Industry
Some industries are not able to offer the hybrid model because the work must be done in person or on site. For these organizations, allowing part or all of their employees to choose when and where they work can be unproductive and unsustainable.
How do you overcome this con? Decide whether your industry and your organization can survive the shift to a hybrid work model.
Working from home can feel isolating to anyone, but it can be especially brutal for certain personalities that want to work with others. Some employees enjoy the in-person aspect of work and languish when invited to seemingly endless video conferencing calls.
Isolation can also negatively impact your organization’s overall culture. If some of your employees feel “shut out” from your activities simply because they aren’t in the office due to their personal choice or circumstance, it can negatively affect the way they work with the rest of the team, and how they feel about your organization as a whole.
How do you overcome this con? Give all employees the option to work together as a team. Encourage employees to work from the office for collaboration purposes, perhaps assigning teams one in-office workday each week.
Con: No Work-Life Balance
This is both a pro and a con. Some workers are able to strike a work-life balance when working hybrid or remote. However, some people truly struggle with the idea of cutting off work at 5 PM. These individuals may be tempted to work way into the night and possibly on the weekends to catch up. That sounds like productivity to an employer, but beware: This is the recipe for burnout. And when burnout happens, it’s easy for an employee to lose productivity and ultimately decide to lose the job.
How do you overcome this con? Require your employees to take vacations from work on a regular basis to guard against burnout.
Con: Requires a Dedicated Home Workspace
If all of your employees work from home at least some of the time, they’ll need to have the right equipment. And, since hybrid is your chosen work model, you will be responsible for ensuring that your employees have the equipment necessary to do their jobs effectively.
Assigning equipment to your employees isn’t just a benefit for them. It also benefits your entire organization. This way, you can manage your network, improve your security, and also ensure that your employees can access your shared resources.
How do you overcome this con? Provide your employees with the equipment (or allowance for the equipment) they need to complete their work.
Con: Trouble Communicating
When working with a team, communication is key. However, communication can be a huge challenge when you’re not face-to-face. Team members may not be working on the same project at the same time and may sometimes respond to team messages hours later due to time zone differences, etc. This can be frustrating when working towards a deadline. But, teams can manage expectations and structure their processes so that they have more wiggle room to properly communicate with each other ahead of the deadline.
How do you overcome this con? Set expectations for how long employees have to respond to emails (i.e. within 24, 48, or 72 hours after receiving the notification).
Many have heralded the hybrid model as the future of work. It can certainly offer amazing benefits to both employees and organizations. However, hybrid work is not without its challenges. The hybrid work model does not suit every personality, and may not be the right fit for your organization. Weigh the above pros and cons to determine if the hybrid work model is a good option for you.
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