Recent report by Accenture 83% of the surveyed employees say they prefer a hybrid workplace model — in which they can work remotely at least 25% of the time. While the employees prefer it, so do the companies.
The pandemic brought about a paradigm shift across the world in the way businesses operate. From work cultures, work models, productivity enhancement, performance management to work hours -in these changing times everything has been approached with a different point of view as businesses were forced to shift to work from home models.
As everyone tried, tested, and adopted different methods to maintain business continuity, they were continuously ironing out the challenges brought about by the sudden change and designing work processes to ensure optimal productivity levels.
While many industries still struggle with inefficiencies brought about by the shift, most others have settled into a work model that used to be termed as the “future of work.”
As the pandemic catalyzed this transformation journey, a flexible working business model also known as the hybrid workplace is becoming the norm for many industries.
What is a hybrid workplace model?
As the pandemic pushed countries into lockdown, the hybrid workplace was the only option most industries had to maintain business continuity. From this arose a ton of challenges, most of which resulted in lower productivity.
Some challenges faced by organizations when following the work from home model –
- Lack of work environment for the employees and distractions
- Network and electricity dependency on localities
- Lack of office facilities
- Increase in IT issues and resolution times
- Intra and inter team collaboration
- Time management and work-life balance
- Lack of motivation
- Time zone differences
Most of these challenges directly affected the productivity of the overall business. Although, the model also had its own set of advantages –
- Savings in business expenses related to rent, overheads, facilities, maintenance and more.
- Savings in employee’s expenses and time otherwise used to commute.
- Employee independence to maintain flexible work hours.
- No constraint for businesses and employees’ when recruiting and applying for relevant job roles.
As time progressed, companies identified and resolved all concerns that arose as the model was implemented. While some teams performed better while working from home, some performed better when working from an office setup. This led to the concept of hybrid workplace model.
A hybrid workplace model has been defined as a business model combining remote work or work from anywhere with work from the office.
This combination differs from company to company, while some would give an option to all their employees to split remote work and office work within the week, others would split the workforce into core team members that are required in the office and the rest continue to work from anywhere.
The decision is usually based on the industry, nature of business, and their employees’ preferences.
Future of work: Hybrid workplace
Recent report by Accenture 83% of the surveyed employees say they prefer a hybrid model — in which they can work remotely at least 25% of the time. While the employees prefer it, so do the companies.
The same report also finds that 63% of high-growth companies have already adopted a “productivity anywhere” workforce model or the flexible work model.
Not only is the hybrid workplace a preferred model by many employees, but recent research by Wakefield proves that employees are positively averse to going back to the traditional on-site workdays.
The research shows that almost half (47%) would likely to look for a job if their employer does not adopt a flexible or hybrid working model.
As the hybrid workplace model establishes itself for the long run, HR (Human Resources) teams across industries must gear up with relevant policy changes, company culture shifts, training, and onboarding processes, and so on.
The hybrid model is here to stay and some of the major advantages that can be leveraged are –
- Work-life balance
Hybrid workplaces give employees the flexibility to choose where to work from and adjust working hours depending on their personal commitments. For employees who are caregivers, a flexible work model helps them split their time effectively ensuring optimal productivity at work and ample time with the family.
A complete work from home model robs employees of the chance to coordinate and collaborate effectively, reducing productivity. This in turn requires employees to stretch work hours in order to maintain their productivity levels and meet deadlines. The hybrid workplace essentially helps maintain work-life balance as it helps overcome this challenge.
- Flexible work hours
Preferred work hours are different for each employee – while some prefer working early in the morning others may not. The early bird vs. night owl debate is a long and old one. Flexible working hours – specifically in a hybrid model where the employees have the freedom to choose from where they would like to work, is a win-win for all.
As long as the employees have considerable overlapping hours, collaboration and coordination will not be affected. Every employee’s productivity level can be expected to improve if given the choice of working hours and place.
- Hiring across geographies
Since work from anywhere allows employees to choose from homes, vacation destinations, offices, and co-working spaces, companies have the liberty to widen the pool of applicants to search for talents from across geographies. This is a major constraint for aspirants across industries.
Most applicants look for opportunities in certain geographies or have to relocate in order to match their requirements. For many frontline workers, this is still a constraint. However, for those who have the liberty to shift to a hybrid workplace model, this is an opportunity that proves to be a win-win for both the company as well as the employees.
- Improved coordination and collaboration
Coordination and collaboration among team members is achieved best when the team is working out of an office space that houses all the team members making them easy to contact. Although, this is a scenario that is not possible – regardless of the pandemic situation – for most multi-national organizations.
As employees come together to form closer bonds when working from the same site, their offshore counterparts tend to lose out on the coordination affecting work quality and productivity. Shifting to a hybrid workplace ensures all the employees are on equal footing.
This ensures conversations and meetings are necessarily moved on to a virtual platform and reduces the chances of offline meetings and conversations – improving overall team coordination and collaboration.
- Cost efficiency
Moving to a hybrid workspace means companies need not build workplaces with full employee capacities. The cost of providing facilities to all employees including rent, overheads, pantry costs, and much more is high, and reducing it to a fraction of the workforce without losing the workforce is a cost-efficient alternative.
As per this McKinsey article, companies can reduce their real-estate costs by almost 30% by moving to hybrid workplaces. The cost-efficiency extends to employees who can reduce their commute time and costs as well as ancillary costs; like hiring help for home management, daycare expenses etc.
To adopt a hybrid workplace, companies need to evaluate their current working models, collect feedback from the employees, analyze the pros and cons, and initiate a change management program to successfully implement the desired working process.
Looping in employees, understanding their preferences, and ensuring their satisfaction should be the goal as it directly affects the company culture, productivity, and employee turnover. Leverage digital solutions like a low code platform that help ensure the workforce is virtually connected and happy.
Check out Amoga, a low code platform where employees can engage, work, and grow. Amoga simplifies, automates, tracks work and goals progress, all in one place, enabling your workforce to work from anywhere: resulting in higher employee engagement and productivity.