Fully-Remote or Hybrid Work Model: Which is Right for Your Business?

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Almost 2 years have passed since the outbreak which affected you, me, and basically everybody else around the world. From the use of the word pandemic progressing to the term endemic, unfortunately, so many things have changed. Our personal lives, our career paths and patterns, businesses around us, affected in ways we never saw coming.

With not much exposure and preparation, many organizations were forced to practice remote working, as there was no other option at that moment. Having to experience such situation for the first time, many had to do what was needed to just adapt to the situation without having the luxury of time and resources properly planned.

However, as time passed by, slowly companies started adapting to it. As realization started sinking in that to entirely eliminate the virus to go back to the old norm is pretty much impossible in the near future especially, many started to learn to live with it. True enough, with fear, confusion which then triggers anxiety as it involves so much energy and costs, adaptation does not come easy, be it for individuals nor companies.

What started off as a completely office-based work arrangement, some companies then progress to either a hybrid working pattern or a fully remote work environment. Nonetheless what’s confusing is the fact that there’s no clear indicator to reasons companies decide when choosing the model to be used, which will then lead to confusion and uncertainty to the staff members.

Hence, let’s continue reading about the types of work model to ensure the correct one is being chosen that best suits the organization along with the culture in it. Below are the different types of work model which have been implemented by some successful companies globally. 

1. Fully-Remote

Definition:

This is when companies implement a 100% remote working arrangement from home, with no in-office time or travel required.

Pros:

  1. Time – We live in a world that time is of an essence. One would notice that with working remotely, employees would use their time more productively as they would save time travelling, lateness & time wasted in coffee shops.
  2. Cost Saving – This would certainly bring about some, if not a majority of cost saving, such as for rent, utilities (i.e., water, electricity, internet), office equipment, office furniture and building maintenance.
  3. Reduction in Absenteeism – Take it from experience, employees would continue working despite feeling under the weather when working remotely, as they don’t have to travel and take rest in between when they feel like they need to.

Cons:

  1. Difficult to Stay Motivated – It is indeed difficult to stay motivated when there is no active supervision with no colleagues around. Without much discipline, as a remote worker, one can easily prone to a laid-back attitude as well as procrastination, which will then be downfall in the professional life.
  2. Isolation – By having a fully remote working arrangement, it has a higher tendency in making employees feel not as engaged and involved with the company as well as the staff members.

Ideal for What Type of Businesses:

Businesses that are familiar with remote working and have the sufficient technology for staffs to perform tasks as usual, such as Technology companies and Technology-based businesses, like e-commerce companies.

2. Remote-First Employment

Definition:

This is where employees work entirely from home, with a few exceptions (when necessary). ‘Remote-first’ companies often keep corporate workspaces open for employees who need or want to work in a more traditional office environment.

Pros:

  1. Option to Choose – Notice how at times it’s nice to be working remotely, but you just reach one stage where being in the office would be of a breather? Hence, this working model provides the option for employees to choose whether they prefer to work at home or work at the office.
  2. Work-Life Balance – Having the option to be both at home and in the office would be of a great practice of work-life balance which would improve the relations personally and professionally.

Cons:

  1. Professional Bond isn’t as Strong – The reason being is because by default working remotely is the option. Hence, as compared to fully working from the office where colleagues would be more close-knit, occasionally appearing in the office doesn’t guarantee the closeness.
  2. No Fixed Work Place – Moving from one place to another may be nice for some, but not for all. Especially for those who doesn’t like to be out of their comfort zone. Therefore, having two places to work from wouldn’t be an option a staff who prefers a fixed place to work from.

Ideal for What Type of Businesses:

Businesses that are familiar with remote working and have the sufficient technology for staffs to perform tasks as usual, but would occasionally need to come into the office for a few days, such as, the education industry and the design and creative industry, such as the companies involved in the marketing and advertising sectors.

3. Office-First Employment

Definition:

This is where employees are expected to work primarily in a physical office. Depending on the need, employer preferences, specific project requirements, and other factors, employees are also allowed to work remotely when it will not interfere with job duties.

Pros:

  1. Facilities are Provided – Having facilities already provided definitely takes one mind of many things, such as stable wireless internet, good set of table and chair, assisting with good features to be carrying the tasks as a part of the company.

  1. Good Communication – True enough we live in a world where everything is at the tip of our finger. However, it never will be the same with communicating face to face at the same location at the same time.

Cons:

  1. Increased Expenses – As the default option is to be in the office, there will be higher cost for both the employer and employee. For the employer, costs such as, utilities and cleaning facilities.
  2. While for the employee, there would be the expenses of travelling to and from the office, such as fuel, parking fees or public transport costs.

Ideal for What Type of Businesses:

Alike with remote-first employment, of not having a fixed work place. Businesses that would require being in the office more than remotely elsewhere, such as the Oil and Gas industry or the restaurant businesses.

4. Static Hybrid

Definition:

This type of work arrangement is for companies that allow individuals to make a choice of being based in the office or remote permanently. (Like the word itself, static; stay put, or permanent.)

Pros:

  1. Focused – Having to stay put at one place and not having to worry to move around would give more opportunity for employees to stay focused on their tasks and not spend as much time travelling and trying to adapt to a new place again.
  2. Team Work – For those working in the office permanently, the bond between the staffs will be instilled stronger as they would see each other much often as compared to those working remotely.

Cons:

  1. No Flexibility – Staying put at one place would eliminate the option of time out from one place to another.
  2. Rigid – Not having the exposure of another work type model as only one model is being used.
  3. Less Employee Interaction – There is less employee interaction between remote and non-remote staffs as not much opportunity in meeting.
  4. Cost Incurred – Cost would directly be incurred for staffs that are permanently placed in the office.

Ideal for What Type of Businesses:

Businesses that have space and facilities prepared for staffs who opt to be in the office. For example, within the Restaurant industry, workers that have to always be in the office location, would be the chefs, waiters and cashiers. The employees who may be allowed to work from home, could be the back-office employees, such as the finance or marketing department. 

5. Office-Occasional Employment

Definition:

This is where employees are expected to visit a physical office space a few times each week. Employees retain all of the tools they need to successfully work from home, and travel with mobile work materials whenever a trip to the corporate office is necessary.

Pros:

  1. Work-Life Balance – Being able to rotate working venue according to schedule would give the opportunity of having both personal and work life balance.

Cons:

  1. Time Wasted – As opposed to a work arrangement where employees are based from home or based from the office on a permanent basis, the travelling time taken on the road would be a waste when a meeting or a discussion can be done from the office or via online meetings for those who work remotely.

Ideal for What Type of Businesses:

Businesses that are familiar with remote working and have the sufficient technology for staffs to perform tasks as usual, but would occasionally need to come into the office for a few hours a week, such as the restaurant industry or the marketing and advertising industry.

6. Synchronized Hybrid

Definition:

This where certain teams within the companies are able to work from the office on the same days and also work from home during other days. For example, some employees or teams are allowed to work from the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while they work from home on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday.

Pros:

  1. Strong Team Work – Having a fixed schedule of the same team members coming in would instill a strong bond between employees.
  2. Face-to-Face Discussion – With everyone’s schedule known, it is easy to set up meetings and having it face to face is indeed easier.

Cons:

  1. Creates a Gap Between the Rest of the Team Members With Different Schedules – As there will be a fixed routine between the team members, for the rest, it would lead to an opportunity in feeling left out and leads to decrease in employee morale within the organisation as a whole. This, however, could be improved by occasionally holding company events.

Ideal for What Type of Businesses:

Businesses that would need always need resources in the office, such as the banking industry or the customer service sector.

Conclusion

In conclusion, hybrid is indeed a good initiative and indeed, to implement it is a way of moving along with the status quo. However, it is always recommended to look into the culture and find what suits the company best before choosing and implementing a model, for what we like to achieve is a situation where the benefit overcomes the drawback.

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