The Future of Work: Advantages of a Hybrid Office
With the pandemic changing the way we work, businesses are beginning to think about how they will operate in the future. Instead of choosing to simply bring everyone back to the workplace, many are considering permanently switching to a hybrid office, where employees work part of the time remotely and the remainder in-office. In this blog, we will take a closer look at some features of the hybrid working model and highlight some of the benefits it can offer to both employers and employees.
Emphasis on productivity and flexibility
Instead of measuring performance based on whether everyone is at their desk and looking busy, a hybrid model allows you to focus instead on whether the work is actually getting done on time and to a high standard. This emphasis on performance can actually help managers to focus more on the outcome, by giving them more time to support teams with the resources they need.
For employees, the reduction in time wasted on lengthy commutes and interruptions means a less stressful workday, more focus on work, and improved productivity.
One key to this is using project management and scheduling tools such as Asana and Slack to organize workflows between and among hybrid working teams, along with presentation tools like XSplit Presenter in order to better communicate information remotely. These tools can manage projects, improve presentations so they’re engaging, organize staff schedules and meetings, and even facilitate more casual ‘watercooler’ conversations.
There is no single model of hybrid working. The version you chose will depend on your employees, the nature of your business, and the working situation. The at-will model, which allows employees to choose the work arrangement that suits them best, may not be practical for every office.
Instead, a model where employees split the week between working from home and working in-person, or alternate one week at home and one week in-person, may work better. The benefit of moving to a hybrid office is that it offers flexibility to both employees and employers, and a chance to create a workable solution tailored for each individual company.
A number of businesses have realized that fewer people in the office at any one time means smaller offices – and lower costs. In fact, one recent report by Global Workplace Analytics found that “employers could collectively save over $500B a year — roughly equal to the GDP of Sweden, Belgium, or Poland— or almost $11k for each employee who works at home half of the time.”
The savings don’t stop at rental costs – fewer people in the office also means lower energy costs, and less spent on office supplies, while employees will save on their commuting costs and food (and coffee) expenses.
Many businesses will need to invest some money in new technology and software, but the savings gained from reduced overheads will far outweigh this expenditure. A hybrid office could also make businesses more agile and adaptable by allowing them to reorganize employee work patterns and work in tandem with these to their advantage.
A healthier, happier workforce
Being able to choose how to work and when to come into the office, could also improve employees’ wellbeing. It is easier for employees to take breaks to exercise or simply get some fresh air if they don’t have to worry about being seen as taking an undeserved break – or coming back from a run dripping in sweat.
Less exposure to ill co-workers, environmental and occupational hazards, and the ability to work while recovering from illness or surgery all help reduce both stress and absenteeism in a hybrid office. And reduced absenteeism and turnover eventually translate into a healthier bottom line for the company.
Hybrid work also sends the message that the employer cares about their employees and prioritizes their wellbeing. Hybrid work can also benefit employees by allowing them to live outside major cities or in cheaper areas – reducing stress associated with the high cost of living.
Access talent from anywhere
Hybrid working is a way for businesses to hire the best people for the job – no matter where in the world they are. Hiring an employee who lives 1,000 miles away is no longer a barrier to effective working. This means that companies can have access to the best talent without the requirement to pay for costly VISAs or relocation costs. On top of this, potential employees need no longer be put off by the prospect of having to relocate for a job.
A hybrid office also allows companies to be more flexible about hiring part-time workers or those with commitments at home who might not otherwise think to apply. This could be a particular boon for people with children, who no longer have to contemplate choosing between work and spending time with their family. Such a model gives people more options which in turn maximizes their potential for productivity.
Every time a company hires a new employee, there is a cost of anywhere from 10 to 200 percent of the salary involved in finding someone, interviewing, onboarding, and training them. High turnover rates can have a huge effect on the bottom line, as well as on employee morale, productivity, and team dynamics. High turnover can also impact customer confidence and lead to delays.
A hybrid model creates flexibility, which can reduce turnover at a low cost to the company. The Global Workplace report cited above also found that flexibility was so important to employees that, “a third [of employees] would take a pay cut of up to 5 percent for the opportunity [to work from home] and nearly a quarter say they would forego over 10 percent of salary.” Money talks and that alone is a pretty compelling reason for companies to consider switching to such a working model in the future.
Working remotely full-time may not be right for every business or every employee, but there is strong evidence that a hybrid office model offers more benefits than drawbacks. The future, it seems, is hybrid.