What is Hybrid Working?

The Covid pandemic forced many companies to switch their operations from office based to hybrid or fully remote working very quickly.

As we have moved away from the different lockdown measures put in place by the government and slowly returned to ‘normal’, familiarity in operating in this way (and its popularity) has hastened what was originally a more gradual move towards employees working remotely more often.

Hybrid working is a term that essentially means workers will divide their time between an office environment and working from their own home or somewhere else remotely. 

It is a broad umbrella that encapsulates various permutations, differing between company to company and also one employee to another. 

For example, it may be working 3 days of the week from home and 2 in the office or vice-versa. It could be a completely flexible option where the worker decides completely for themselves in any given week / month where they are going to be.

So, what are the advantages of it?

Well, there are a fair few, but the ones that stand out are: –

  1. Costs – In these uncertain times possibly the biggest advantage is a reduced spend for both employer and employee. Staff can save money they would have spent on such things as commuting to the office and childcare, whilst businesses can also reduce outlay substantially on office provision. 

There are some outgoings for the additional technology that is required but significant savings can still be made.

  1. Work / Life Balance and Mental Health – The extra time saved on going backwards and forwards to the office can be spent on precious moments with the family or on a leisure pursuit. 

The huge importance of mental health has certainly become far more understood and at the forefront of considerations over the last few years and striking the right balance has proved to have a positive effect on well-being. 

Furthermore, a happy, healthy and contented employee can increase productivity levels (the lockdown period is proof in itself that it can work) and is more inclined to stick with a company for a longer period. 

  1. Casting Out a Wider Net – Potential employees are no longer location dependent, meaning that there is a bigger talent pool / skillset available to fill any vacancies.

Are there any downsides?

I suppose there are, like anything in life it can’t all be plain sailing! 

The following are important points to bear in mind: –

  1. Implementation – Planning, putting together the rules and regulations of a hybrid working culture that is effective and fair to everyone, as well as reorganising office space to cater for remote and flexible working can be a real juggling act. 

Effective communication becomes crucial and trickier (but certainly not impossible) in a hybrid environment, as does trust.

  1. Not all industries are suited – Businesses may require some (if not all) of their staff to be on-site a large proportion of the time (for instance a manufacturing plant) and remote working would be impossible to put in place without having an adverse effect on operations. 

In a scenario, for instance, where a company chooses to allow hybrid working for some of its staff and not for others then it can quickly cause resentment across the workforce with unwelcome divides forming.

  1. Reliance on technology – Adopting this working environment puts more emphasis on the technology aspect working well (in both a performance aspect and from a security perspective.) A few ‘gremlins’ in the system can have a significant impact both on productivity levels and brand reputation.

So, is it right for you?

If you are part of an industry where employees do not need to be on-site all of the time, then a hybrid working model can be of a huge benefit to the organisation and popular with the employee.  It does need to be implemented and monitored correctly with safe and reliable technology. 

What we can say with confidence is that post-pandemic and onwards, hybrid working in some format is here to stay – for good.

If you would like to learn more about how telecoms can help you with your Hybrid working, click here to ask a question

1st November 2022