As many businesses and employees around the world gradually resume work back in the office, most remote-ready employees are keen on a hybrid work environment offers flexible work arrangements. A recent survey revealed that 34% of workers in Southeast Asia would not hesitate to quit their job if they had to go back to working full-time in the office.
Given the past two years of full or partial remote work, the workplace in 2022 is no longer the same. Employees in SMEs and large companies can now expect to work in a hybrid environment. Here are the different types of hybrid work models that companies globally use:
Types of Hybrid Work Models
- Remote focused
Most employees will be required to work remotely, unless the job can only be performed in the office. Meetings are held online. This model suits businesses that focus on creative services, accounting, and software development.
- Office focused
In this model, flexible work arrangements are determined on an individual or team basis. Essentially, most employees will be required to work from the office. Some companies have offer flexible work hours or co-working spaces to reduce commuting to work. Senior staff may have the option to work remotely on certain days of the week. This model is common in businesses that are customer-facing such as retail, banking, food and hospitality services.
- Employee option
Workers who have worked from home during the pandemic have the option to continue working remotely. They only come into the office for meetings and other activities determined by the management.
- Mixed option
This model is the most preferred hybrid model. Employees get to work partly in the office and remotely during workdays. Some employees can choose between working remotely from home or a co-working space. Management determines how many days and hours each employee should be in the office or work off-site, subject to the demands of the business. Most companies have implemented three days of work in the office and two days of remote work.
With the above options in mind, below, I have listed the main reasons why companies would choose of implementing a hybrid work model:
Top Reasons for a Hybrid Working Model
- Less time and money commuting to work
Most employees prefer hybrid work solely because they get to save money and time beating traffic to get to work. With hybrid work arrangements, employees can start their workday early if they need to without the hassle of getting ready for work and more importantly, avoid the stressful commute leading to greater focus and productivity in completing more urgent work at hand.
- Flexibility of time and work location
Employees have the freedom to work based on a schedule or fixed hours that suits them the best. On days when employees get to work remotely, they can choose to work from wherever they prefer, either from home or at an offsite co-working space, especially when things at home get too distracting. As long as employees maintain open and transparent communication and employers can monitor their progress, the flexibility of a hybrid work model is more employee-oriented.
- Greater work-life balance
One of the top reasons for a hybrid work model is the freedom to prioritize more urgent tasks at hand. This way, employees can manage their schedules and allocate ample time for personal and family commitments. Keeping a manageable workload and meetings for days in the office avoids overworking and promotes better mental health and a healthier work-life balance.
- Better employee satisfaction
Employees feel valued when a company is willing to shift from the traditional goal-oriented work model to a more employee-focused one. In turn, employees will not hesitate to go above and beyond for the company. Greater employee engagement and a good work culture benefit the company by reducing turnover rates and attracting the right pool of millennials and Gen-Z talents.
- Improved collaboration and work relationships
Shorter virtual meetings save valuable time for employees to meet urgent deadlines than workdays filled with time-consuming meetings. Giving employees an outlet to come together online for virtual games or to form support groups that cater to their well-being improves work relationships and collaboration. A company that looks into efficient ways to improve communication and team collaboration remains progressive and can adapt to new challenges in the business world.
- Promotes a culture of lifelong learning
When employees work partly off-site, they have better opportunities to learn a new skill by setting aside time to do so in their daily schedule. Managers can also create opportunities for their teams to learn on the job as their workday involves fewer meetings.
Since a fully remote work model may not be ideal for employees due to lower human interaction, a hybrid model allows companies to implement effective strategies that focus on the well-being of employees. Inevitably, companies that fail to embrace a hybrid work model may risk losing valuable talent in the long run.
Here are some ways of implementing an effective hybrid work model in the workplace:
Ways to implement an effective hybrid work model
- Identify roles suitable for hybrid work
Hybrid models come in different variations. A flexible hybrid model gives workers the freedom to choose how many days they work in the office and off-site, or a partly remote hybrid model where specific teams work entirely remotely and others (such as the HR department) works in the office. From the outset, identifying roles suitable for remote work and yet flexible (such as content teams) results in the effective implementation of any hybrid model.
- Get feedback from employees
As a hybrid work model is constantly evolving based on the employees’ roles and needs, it is best to get their input on what work arrangement enables them to perform their best. Communicate clearly to employees that hybrid models require a trial period before permanent implementation. This way, employees understand that flexible work arrangements may require changes from time to time to improve efficiency.
- Determine suitable hybrid work model and policies
Due to different roles within the company and business demands, companies need to determine the type of hybrid work arrangement that suits the company and employees the best. Policies should include when and how many employees work remotely in a workweek or on rotation, and notice period if they intend to work from home or come into the office for meetings, etc. The most important feature of hybrid work arrangements is clear communication of work expectations, as employees must be on the same page to avoid work disruptions.
To put it simply, a hybrid model requires proper planning and implementation for companies and employees to reap its rewards. In the future, SMEs and businesses that are open to discussion with employees on flexible work arrangements will be the ones to retain and attract the right talent for their company to forge ahead in challenging times.