By: John Russell of Russell & Co Accountants
The hybrid working model is a very simple – It’s flexible and encourage autonomy. The hybrid model allows employees to blend working from different locations, be it the office, at home, or on the go. It’s all about providing an adaptable, fluid environment for your workers and allow them their own space to work and be productive.
Scheduling can be tough as there are hundreds of ways you can divide up a 40 hour workweek, so set realistic expectations with your staff. Will you work 3 days in a row from the office and spend the last 2 at home? Or come in a day, work from home a day and repeat? Work with your employees and see what needs to be done – If someones work requires a lot of brainstorming or collaborative work it may be advisable that they work from the office those days so as to get that real, human interaction. Simply put, communicate goals between staff and management.
The benefits of a hybrid working model are clear to see, with flexibility being the most prevalent. Hybrid models bend and accommodate other factors outside of work that staff my dealing with. It’s also hugely beneficial for companies too as there’s no longer a need for large, sprawling offices. You can save a significant amount of money by downsizing a big office space in favour of implementing hot desking. From a hiring stand-point, you’re opening yourself up to a huge pool of talent by not limiting your circle to just people in the vicinity.
Major players are also now fully switching to hybrid models. Reddit announced a permanent switch to hybrid back in October of 2020 with the likes of Twitter and Microsoft following suit – the latter offers employees to work remotely for at least half of their workweek. Businesses are now prioritising the employee experience, you’re attracting a whole brand new generation of highly skilled workers who demand this flexibility in their working week, when done right the hybrid model increases employee morale whilst actually cutting down on costs.
Prior to the pandemic, some office managers viewed remote working with an air of suspicion with many theorising that when given the choice of when and where to work, employees would do less. This has been debunked thanks to a research paper by the aforementioned Microsoft, who studied the impact of the pandemic on the performance of various companies across Europe – 82% of leaders actually said that their organisations were at the very least just as productive as they were prior to the COVID office closures. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as the hybrid model allows workers to utilise their time better, no more morning commutes stuck in traffic, office distractions and more – Workers can choose to work when they’re feeling the most productive, be it at 6am or 6pm, it simply doesn’t matter as long as the work gets done. We’ve known for years that when employees are satisfied, happier, rested and less stressed, they work far better.
When it comes to employer cost saving measures, hybrid works wonders here too. In a hybrid space you can significantly reduce the amount of space you need and scrap the endless rows of assigned desks and instead incorporate effective hot desking. In order to to run a successful space you’ll want to include versatile areas to support your employees whilst working – Standing desks for laptop work, lounges for catching up on emails and coffee areas for relaxed team meetings. Once you know how many employees you’re dealing with you can set new occupancy levels and cut costs on rent, office supplies and other physical expenses.
There are some cons however, communication can break down somewhat if you don’t have the proper tools in place. Some employees also struggle with setting a routine and can become easily distracted whilst working from home. It’s important to offer support for employees working remotely as they may feel disconnected from the office, so ensure the entire process is as seamless as possible.
Some employees tend to report burnout after awhile as overworking can often creep in if left unchecked. Generally speaking, remote workers work longer hours and take shorter breaks as they do not to appear that they are coasting, these employees often overcompensate by staying on late or responding to work related messages outside of work hours.