The Pros and Cons of the Hybrid Work Model
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic three years ago has imposed a significant shift in the workplace organisation and made employers rethink their flexible working strategies. As traditional on-site offices seemed to be associated with severe health risks, many business owners allowed employees to work from home or in a hybrid work model.
And now, when the pandemic seems to be under control, an immense number of companies still haven’t returned to “normal” offices. Interestingly, most employees do not seem to complain and are often reluctant when asked to work on-site.
Like any work organisation model, there are advantages and disadvantages of hybrid working. Discover the pros and cons of this solution and learn how you can make hybrid work better in your business.
Benefits of hybrid work
The flexible work model in which employees can work either on-site or remotely brings numerous benefits to their well-being.
The hybrid work model gives employees the freedom to choose whether they want to come to the office or work from home. This kind of flexibility usually leads to higher job satisfaction and better long-term work-life balance. Being able to make their own decisions regarding the place from where they work, employees can focus more on their actual duties and don’t get distracted by the surrounding environment. The sense of autonomy is also crucial for the well-being of employees who work physically in the office. To give them freedom they need, consider introducing a hot deskbooking system, which allows to find and reserve the appropriate workspace.
In order to efficiently implement a flexible work model, key channels of communication, that will be used by employees, need to be established. In some companies and teams, telephone conversations and e-mails can be sufficient, but there are also organisations that need more advanced communication tools, e.g., instant messaging, online collaboration and web conferencing platforms. Determining what types of communication regularly takes place in the on-site office is crucial in finding the right tools to successfully replace face-to-face contact. With the right tools, remote communication can be effortless and give exactly the same outcomes as physical meetings.
Lower operational costs
In the hybrid work model, employees can often decide themselves how many days a week or a month they want to spend working at home. In practice, it usually turns out that the number of people present on-site equals or is smaller than those who work from home. As a result, the occupancy level of the office space drops and there is no longer a demand for spacious office areas.
Thanks to the flexible work model and a related reduction in the number of employees in the office, employers can not only decrease rental costs, but also cut operational and office supply costs. There are several ways to efficiently control the presence of employees in the workplace. One of the most common today are office desk systems, which don’t only facilitate the workplace management, but also improve employee experience.
Most viruses and bacteria spread through direct contact, which means that spending time with an infected person can lead to transmission. Unfortunately, we are not able to efficiently protect ourselves from illnesses, if we are to spend long hours in the office with people who are asymptomatic. The hybrid work model seems to be the solution to this problem, especially in the flu season that lasts a few months, traditionally from October to April, peaking in January and February. Thanks to the flexible work organisation, employees who suspect that they are sick can stay in isolation without losing work days.
Risks of hybrid work
Although there are many benefits of the hybrid work model, many employers also encounter difficulties in implementing and managing this kind of organisational change in their business.
Work-related stress and occupational burnout
We have already mentioned that one of the major benefits of the hybrid work model is keeping employees engaged. However, this is not true for all types of personalities. Sociable and lively people, who simply need to be around others most of the time, may feel discouraged by the flexible work organisation. It may be difficult for them to carry out their duties properly without maintaining relationships with their colleagues. This can easily decrease their job satisfaction, make them feel miserable at work despite decent earnings, and evoke stress. And all this together, can lead to occupational burnout.
Challenges in building teams
In a flexible and hybrid workplace, it can be difficult to form teams based on strong relationships. When employees meet physically in the office and share the same physical space, they are more likely to identify one with another. If they meet mostly in virtual space, they usually feel no deep connection with other teammates. This may be even more problematic for fully remote employees who have never got the chance to meet their colleagues in person.
Poor customer experience
Thy hybrid work model can be a significant obstacle in the development of companies based on customer experience and satisfaction. Although the majority of companies today are able to operate without the need for customer-facing employees, there are still lots of people who prefer in-person interactions, meetings and conversations instead of the virtual ones. People are used to physical consultation in many domains, and depriving them of this possibility may disrupt their customer experience and result in negative feedback and reviews. This concerns mostly older customers who are not proficient in technology and simply prefer standard methods of communication.
The transition to a hybrid workplace requires certain changes that need to be adopted in the structure of the existing office space. When the number of employees who work on-site drops, an office rearrangement is simply necessary. In order to adopt changes that meet employees’ needs, it is advisable to use the services of a professional interior designer, which can be really costly. It is worth to realise that today’s employees are nothing like 5 or 10 years ago, and they usually demand full flexibility, not only in terms of whether they work from home or remotely, but also when it comes to the functionality of offices (even if they visit them from time to time only).
As you may see, the introduction of the hybrid workspace has both advantages and disadvantages. To make the transition as smooth as possible and easily control the daily presence of your staff in the physical office, we recommend you to introduce previously mentioned workspace booking software to your organisation. Deski – the leading desk reservation software – is a comprehensive online system that facilitates the office management and makes office work more approachable to everyone.
It is certainly worth trying out this desk booking solution in your business. Why? Because is highly beneficial for both employers and employees, as it provides up-to-date information on teams’ availability for on-site meetings. It is also viewed as an important employee benefit that allows workers to structure and communicate their hybrid schedule easily.