Is hybrid working here to stay?

  • Hybrid
  • By Aleks Szymanski
  • Published on February 28

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies worldwide had to adopt remote working on a grand scale. Staff began working from home, using video conferencing software to stay connected. The dilemma now facing employers is whether to bring everyone back to the office full-time or let people work from home indefinitely. But does hybrid working offer a happy medium?

The hybrid model: The best of both worlds

Without long commutes and office distractions, some employees found they were more productive working from home, while companies could save costs in terms of office space, overheads, and resources. However, it didn’t suit everyone, as some staff struggled with being isolated and separated from their co-workers. Plus, managing teams remotely can lead to challenges for companies.

For these reasons, many see the hybrid model - a mixture of remote and in-office work - as the ‘new normal’ for the post-pandemic workplace. This model aims to balance the benefits of remote and in-person work, offering flexibility and work-life balance while maintaining opportunities for collaboration and bonding with colleagues.

What are the different hybrid work models?

Hybrid work models are flexible work arrangements where employees spend some time remotely and some time working in a traditional office setting. The most popular hybrid schemes that companies are adopting include:

Flexible split

With a flexible split, employees have the freedom to choose how they want to divide their time between the office and remote work. This could be 2-3 days in the office and the rest remote, or vice versa. This flexibility allows employees to create the right balance between their needs and work styles.

Staggered schedules

Under staggered models, employees are assigned set days to work in the office and from home - although teams are split up so not everyone is in the office at once. For example, Team A will work in the office on Mondays and Wednesdays, with Team B coming in on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Doing so helps limit the number of people together at a specific time - either for reasons of health and safety or office capacity.

Core hours

Some companies implement ‘core hours,’ where employees are required to be available or in the office during certain times, such as from 10am to 3pm. Outside of these hours, they are free to work whenever is most productive for them. This method of working ensures teams have dedicated time each day or week to connect face-to-face or via video link, even when working as part of a hybrid model. 

The benefits of hybrid working for employees

Flexibility and work-life balance

A hybrid work schedule offers employees more control over work-life balance. They can work from home a few days a week and avoid a stressful commute, then head into the office when they require face-to-face time with colleagues or to collaborate in person. This flexibility allows better management of personal responsibilities at home while maintaining productivity at work.

Fewer distractions

Working from home eliminates the chatter and buzz of an open office, allowing people to focus without any distractions. Staff can settle into a quiet, dedicated workspace and avoid any interruptions from coworkers stopping by their desk. Fewer distractions mean individuals can enter a ‘flow state’ and power through important work.

Cost savings

Commuting less frequently to an office location can save workers money on fuel and parking fees. Hybrid work could also allow members of staff to move to a more affordable location further from the office since they won’t need to commute every day. Companies should also consider providing an allowance for home office equipment and utilities for the days employees work remotely.

Businesses see long-term benefits to hybrid working, such as accessing talent beyond their headquarters. However, making hybrid working a long-term success requires intention, empathy and adaptability from employers and staff alike. With the future of work likely to include a mix of in-office and remote time, the key lies in finding the correct balance and policies for your company’s needs. 

One thing is certain - the ‘new normal’ is not going away, so it’s unlikely we’ll ever return to the pre-pandemic status quo. As a result, the hybrid model is here to stay, at least for now - so adapt and make it work for you.