The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way people work. During the early days, most employees worked from home, though as people slowly make their way back into the office, a new work model has emerged- The Hybrid Work Model.
In this post, we’ll explore just what the hybrid model is and its main pros and cons.
What is a Hybrid Work Model?
A hybrid work model is an arrangement that allows employees to divide their working days between the office and remotely, such as working from home, at a coffee shop, coworking space, etc. It’s up to the individual company to dictate how often employees need to come into the office, if at all.
Pros of a hybrid workplace
Pro 1: Happier Employees
The biggest benefit of a hybrid workplace is undoubtedly happier employees. Since the pandemic, many employees have been working from home and loving it. Apart from the freedom of dictating your own hours (to a certain extent), not having to commute is often cited as the top WFH benefit. According to a recent survey, 1 in 4 workers has quit their jobs due to long commutes.
Remote work doesn’t have to always mean working from home either. The flexibility to be able to work at a coffee shop or even coworking space sometimes only further boosts employee morale. Statistics reveal that 89% of people who joined a coworking space, for example, feel happier.
Pro 2: Increased Productivity
In the past, a hybrid work model was viewed as a recipe for failure. Most managers believed that workers must work under supervision to be productive. But recent data proves the opposite is true.
A study by Mercer involving 800 employees revealed that 94% of the participants felt that productivity was at least the same, if not higher when working remotely vs. at the office. A 2-year study by Stanford looking at the productivity of people working from home also showed surprising benefits. It found that WFH employees were much more likely to actually work a full day every day compared to people who came into the office.
Pro 3: Decreases Intrapersonal Conflicts
Seeing the same people time and again can be very stressful, even if they are your closest friends. At work, you can’t choose who to see on a daily basis, which often leads to intrapersonal conflicts.
With a hybrid work model, you can find respite from toxic people on the days you’re working from home, giving you the space and peace of mind to focus on your work instead of avoiding or resolving people’s issues. To many people, this is one of the biggest advantages of a hybrid work model.
Pro 4: Saves Money
According to USAToday, remote workers save on average $4,000 annually. The primary savings come in the form of not having to commute to work daily.
A shift to a hybrid work model also helps employers reduce cost in the following ways:
- Savings in office space rentals
- Savings in electricity bills
- Reduction in cleaning services
In a nutshell, a hybrid work model can be much more cost-effective for both the worker and the employer.
Pro 5: Safer Work Environment
The covid-19 pandemic is perhaps the biggest threat the world economy has ever faced. Even as vaccination takes effect, health experts believe that social distancing measures will still need to be practiced in the foreseeable future as variants evade current vaccines.
A hybrid work model is much safer during any pandemic, as it means employees that suspect they are sick can work in isolation at home, hence reducing the risk of spreading any virus to other employees. By controlling the number of people that come into the office daily, social distancing is also much easier to implement in a hybrid work model.
Cons of a hybrid workplace
A hybrid work model isn’t all rainbows and sunshine, however. Here are the biggest disadvantages of this emerging work model.
Con 1: Employee Burnout
Left unchecked and with little or no supervision, a hybrid work model can slowly lead to employee burnout. This is because it’s very difficult to set boundaries when you’re working from home. The temptation to work late into the night and wake up at 10 am or even 11 am always there, disrupting your sleep schedule. If you have other family members present in the house during the day, distraction is also an ever-constant factor. Eventually, work starts to pile up as you try to balance work and home life, leading to burnout.
Working remotely can actually become more stressful for people that lack self-discipline.
Con 2: Increased Employee Isolation
A very common complaint of people working at home is a sense of isolation. At the office, there’s always someone to interact with, tell jokes or catch up on the latest office gossip. As social creatures, frequent mental stimulation and interaction with people are essential for our overall well-being.
According to a report from CNBC, as the covid-19 pandemic drags on, remote workers are increasingly feeling more isolated and lonely, leading to mental health issues such as depression.
Con 3: Heightened Cyber Risks
With a hybrid work model, embracing technology is inevitable, and with technology comes security risks. Employees working from home are especially vulnerable to security threats and data loss due to more relaxed security protocols at home.
Securing employees’ computers can be a costly venture for businesses. It means providing proper training, making sure remote computers are always updated, and enforcing tight passports. A comprehensive backup procedure also needs to be deployed.
Not practical for all institutions
And finally, a hybrid work model simply isn’t practical for certain types of businesses.Any type of institution that relies heavily on in-person interactions, such as banks, hospitals, and retail, will likely suffer heavily by allowing employees to work remotely.
A hybrid work model combines the best of Working from Home and at the office to create an environment that can satisfy both employers and their workers.