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November 3, 2021

Is a Hybrid Work Model Right for My Team?

After nearly two years of working during a pandemic, more and more people have had the opportunity to explore different ways of working (i.e. remote, in-office, or hybrid), and decide what does — and doesn’t — work for them. To empower team members across the board, a hybrid work model is becoming the norm for many organizations.

Even as the pandemic wanes, this trend will continue. In fact, it has become embedded in workplace culture across the globe — the 2021 Accenture Future of Work study found that 83% of workers prefer a hybrid work model, and 63% of high-growth organizations have enabled hybrid or “productivity anywhere” workforce models.

But what exactly is a hybrid work model, and will it work for your team? Let’s define the term and go over the pros and cons.

What is a hybrid work model?

For some people, remote work is a breeze. But not everyone feels that way — some people would much rather return to an in-person office environment.

Rather than forcing everyone to work the same way, organizations are increasingly giving their employees more choice and flexibility about where they work via hybrid work models, where some employees work remotely while others work in the office. 

The specifics of hybrid models differ between companies, and some are more flexible than others. Here are just a few examples of different hybrid models:

  • Everyone can choose whether they work from home or in the office each day.
  • Individuals or teams have assigned days when they’re required to come into the office, but can work from home on other days.
  • Individuals can work from home on a certain number of days each month, and which days they choose are up to their discretion.
  • Everyone works from home most of the time, but office space is still available for specific meetings and projects.

Whether you choose a hybrid model for your team (and if so, which one you choose) will depend on your team’s unique needs and work style. To help you parse out what’s best for your team, let’s discuss some of the pros and cons of hybrid work.

Pros of hybrid work models

Increased productivity

When people have the flexibility to work when and where they’re most productive depending on the circumstances, they can get more done. For example, if a team member needs to focus on a solo project, they may choose to work from home, while other team members may choose to come into the office to collaborate.

Lower overhead costs

With fewer people in the office each day, many companies opt to downsize, saving money on overhead expenses. Depending on your needs, you may consider keeping one central office open for those who wish to use it, utilizing coworking space, and/or providing flexible office spaces closer to people’s homes with a hub-and-spoke approach.

Larger hiring pool

As some job markets get more competitive, finding talent in your immediate area can be a challenge. Hybrid options are attractive to prospective employees, and if you offer hub-and-spoke or 100% remote options, you can hire the best fit for a position no matter where they live.

Better work-life balance

Hybrid work allows people to weave daily activities into their workweek. For example, on work-from-home days, employees have the opportunity to prepare lunch at home, toss a load of laundry in the washer, take kids to school, be present for deliveries, and more.

Fighting traffic during rush hour on a daily basis takes away valuable family and leisure time, so eliminating the commute for at least a few days a week can make a big difference in work-life balance. Additionally, not everyone wants to work 9 to 5, and companies are increasingly allowing workers to adjust their schedule to better align with their lifestyle.

Safety and health

Despite tremendous progress, the COVID-19 pandemic is still a concern for many workers. Hybrid work models can offer peace of mind and increase safety by reducing the number of people in the office each day, encouraging team members to work from home when they experience mild illness, and allowing those who need extra protection — like those with high-risk conditions — to work from home full-time.

Cons of hybrid work models

Technology challenges

When not everyone is in the office together, tech-based communication is key. Everyone on the team will need the correct hardware and software to collaborate and coordinate. Keeping everyone’s technology up to date and secure is no small feat.

Hard to separate work and life

While remote work offers better work-life balance for some, others struggle to draw the line between work and home. 

Especially for those who don’t have a private home office, working in their leisure space makes it difficult to stop working when the day is over. Some people feel the need to overcompensate for lack of visibility in the work they’re doing, and take shorter breaks or work longer hours as a result. In fact, a 2020 Slack study found that remote workers are more likely than office workers to feel that they are working more hours every day.

While increased productivity may seem like a benefit on the surface, it can lead to burnout and high turnover, so it’s important to remind hybrid/remote employees not to overwork themselves.

Hard to build company culture

It can be hard to create and maintain company culture when the team is fragmented by distance. However, there are ways to build connections between team members — they just require a bit more intentionality in the case of remote and hybrid teams.

Despite the above challenges, 82% of employees believe that the benefits of hybrid/remote work outweigh the cons. Additionally, many of these issues are easily solved by utilizing flexible office space.

Conclusion

Like it or not, the way we work has changed, and the hybrid work models are here to stay. They offer numerous benefits and can act as a compromise for companies that are split on the remote vs. in-office debate. 

Flexible office space is a modern solution that allows companies of all sizes to reap the rewards of hybrid work models and mitigate their challenges.

If you’re looking for maximum workspace flexibility, discover The Square by Hines. Contact us to book a tour.