It’s the term we’re all talking about and something that will continue to be a topic of conversation for businesses post-pandemic.
Although hybrid working existed before the start of the first lockdown in March 2020, it wasn’t something at the forefront of people’s minds. However, since many organisations had no option but to have their employees work from home throughout multiple lockdowns, more and more businesses are considering the pros and cons of adopting hybrid working permanently.
What is hybrid working?
There are variations of what hybrid working means to different businesses, but it’s essentially when employees, teams and organisations can work both in-office and remotely.
Some approaches are more flexible than others, with employees given the option to choose which days they work remotely, and sometimes even the hours that best suit their lifestyle. Whereas others have a more structured hybrid model that requires employees to come into the office on set days of the week.
Pros of a hybrid workplace
Improved work-life balance
Having a hybrid working policy can increase employee happiness and improve people’s work-life balance. Not only does it give people more autonomy over their own schedule, but it can also give the gift of time to those who commute. This can have many psychological benefits, prevent burnouts and minimise stress.
With greater flexibility comes increased focus and productivity. For some, remote working can reduce distractions and allow them to dedicate more attention to tasks.
Hybrid models allow businesses to innovate and thrive, whilst still collaborating in-person. If employees worked remotely 100% of the time, the lack of face-to-face interaction can hinder both collaboration and work relationships, but with a hybrid approach it gives everyone the best of both worlds.
Employee retention and wider talent pools
Flexible working is now a must-have benefit for many employees and can help businesses improve employee retention. It will also widen talent pools and attract potential employees who don’t live close by.
Cons of a hybrid workplace
Some sectors can’t work remotely
Many industries aren’t suited to hybrid working, e.g., manufacturing. Whether that’s due to working set hours, little work that employees can do offsite, or if employees need to be able to interact in person, hybrid working can be more of a hindrance.
Employees may need a dedicated workspace at home
Working from home isn’t for everyone. If your employees don’t have a dedicated workspace at home, or the right equipment, they may find working remotely difficult or distracting, which could result in a dip in productivity. You may need to carry out a workstation assessment (DSE) to highlight any problems.
Employees can feel isolated
Working alone can result in staff feeling isolated and divided from their colleagues. This can lead to concerns about how employers support the mental health and wellbeing of their employees from a distance.
Interrupted customer/client experience
For some businesses, having customer-facing employees is extremely important to maintain relationships and deliver a positive customer experience. Before making permanent changes to the way you interact with your clients, it’s important to implement procedures that run smoothly, and everyone feels comfortable with.
There’s no denying that the pandemic has opened people’s eyes to new ways of working and made them reassess their work-life balance. Employers now need to listen to their teams and ensure job satisfaction, employee wellbeing and individual needs are being taken care of. This will ensure a safe and productive future, with happy employees that feel trusted and supported.