The coronavirus pandemic has had an immense impact on the workplace. What started as a strategy to keep staff safe has begun to revolutionise work environments. As more and more statistics reveal the positives of remote working, you might be considering adopting hybrid working. But what is hybrid working, and is it right for your organisation?
In this article, you’ll learn exactly what hybrid working means, along with its pros and cons, and how to make it work for you.
What is hybrid working?
As the name suggests, hybrid working is a flexible work scheme made up of two different ways of working – remote work and office work. A hybrid worker will spend some time working from home and some in the office – meaning their working life combines the best features of both systems.
There are multiple hybrid work models. Some of these allocate set days where staff attend the office. There is also the ‘at will’ model, an even more relaxed scheme where staff decide as and when they want to visit the office. Office environments themselves are also transforming to meet the trend – with a wider focus on collaboration and teamwork in the workplace.
What are the advantages of hybrid working?
There are numerous benefits to hybrid work, and these are backed up with statistics. Let’s look at a few key advantages below.
Happiness and wellbeing
If staff are comfortable and happy in their work, they’re more likely to make an impact. Statistics show that employees who can choose to work either from home or the office at will are the happiest in their work.
So, why does hybrid working have such a big impact on wellbeing? Hybrid work offers a level of freedom not available in full remote or office-based work. It also enables staff to work from the comfort of home, spend more time with loved ones, and cut down on their commute times and costs.
Positivity increases productivity. Hybrid working gives staff more control over the way they work on projects, boosting their motivation levels. 69% of at-will hybrid workers and 66% of remote workers described themselves as feeling more productive at work, as opposed to the much lower 32% of on-site workers.
Hybrid working provides a ‘best of both worlds’ solution to communication issues in the workplace. In some cases, remote working scenarios can improve communications. For example, video conferencing ensures that, wherever they are located, an employee’s views can be heard by the entire team. Options to raise their hand or place a comment can also help staff members to speak up and be heard.
Hybrid working also improves the isolation issues associated with remote working, as staff can continue to work on-site, providing more opportunities for interaction.
While there may be some initial costs to invest in new technology, hybrid working can gain many savings. This includes savings on office rental costs and general supplies, as well as commuting costs for staff members.
What are the pitfalls of hybrid work?
Isolation and communication issues
Being away from the office for more extended periods naturally makes it harder for staff members to communicate effectively. The lack of face-to-face contact can sometimes mean issues aren’t raised immediately, and problems take longer to resolve.
This lack of contact during the working day can also lead to feelings of isolation, particularly for employees who live alone. There is also the potential for conflicts to arise between different teams – for example, between home and office workers – as each group may have different ways of working and communicating, even on the same project.
Potential for burnout
Whilst hybrid work generally improves the work/life balance for staff. It can also lead to burnout. Working from home can make it harder to establish boundaries. Employees end up working longer hours and taking on more work. It can also be harder for them to differentiate between their home and work environments, especially if they don’t have a designated office or workroom.
Remote communication often leads to a reliance on different forms of technology. A strong internet connection, high-quality phones, and a reasonable and reliable mobile service are all of vital importance to keep your team going. If your technology isn’t functioning, staff can’t communicate, which can disrupt the foundations of your organisation’s work.
What is the key to successful hybrid working?
Suppose your first question was ‘what is hybrid working’. In that case, your next will most likely be ‘how can my organisation be successful with hybrid working?’ Several factors are key to a successful hybrid working model.
Strong management and structure
To avoid burnout and procrastination, having a clear plan and structure for the workday makes a big difference to hybrid working. Online management applications can be used to assign tasks, record time spent on jobs, and be clear who is working on each task.
Communication is key to a successful hybrid working routine. As well as physical meetings in the office, staff members need to talk and message each other remotely. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) keeps communication seamless with hybrid working so that employees can focus on their work without interruption. Fully scalable and with a standard per-user-per month fee, VoIP gives staff video and audio conferencing wherever they are whilst also removing the need for expensive landlines.
Your hybrid workplace is only as good as your means of working. Your technology, including mobiles, desktops and laptops, should be robust and up to date. A reliable mobile phone service, with calls, texts and data, ensures your staff can communicate effectively – and within budget.
If your broadband goes down during a conference call, this can be disastrous. Having a fast and reliable connection eliminates these issues, so your online meetings go smoothly.
Make hybrid working work for you
So, now you have the answer to the question: ‘what is hybrid working?’ As specialists in telecoms and connectivity solutions for charities and small businesses, VS Group can help your hybrid working environment to succeed. If you’re looking for the perfect mobile service or broadband provider, we have the experience to find exactly what you need.
Want to learn more? Get in touch with our team on 0330 0940 170 or email via [email protected].