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Thanks to systems like VoIP and UCaaS, many companies have seen that hybrid work is very much possible. Hybrid work is great way to keep employees engaged. It offers a new type of perk that many people see as one of the most important. Hybrid working is neither 100% in office nor a permanent work from home situation. It aims to offer the best of both worlds. “Hybrid work” is really a blanket term to describe flexible working. With hybrid work, however, there is not a one-size-fits-all model that works for every organization… or every employee.

Many times, employees and employers disagree on how many days should be worked from home. This even varies from employee to employee depending on their preferences. There are three types of hybrid work models that are emerging right now. We’re going to take a look at all three!

What is hybrid work?

A recent Future of Work survey by PwC found a huge spread in the optimal balance of office time vs. work from home time. More than half of employees said they’d like to work remotely 3+ days a week. Executives were closely split on whether workers should be in the office two, three, or four days a week. Data from Microsoft found that 2/3 of workers want to share more in-person time with their colleagues.

One thing these surveys agree on is that there are no longer strict rules about what a workday looks like. That’s why hybrid work has become so popular. It gives employees and companies the freedom to work with whatever model is most convenient for them. Having a flexible work environment is definitely a huge plus, and it is becoming more and more of a necessity. Check out our separate blog post, where we break down the different steps you should be taking if you want to work towards creating a flexible work environment.

There are three primary models for hybrid work that are popular. Let’s take a look at each model, and the pros and cons. Here’s what they look like, and the pros and cons for each.

Model 1: Employees split their week—part remote and part onsite

Model 1 is likely what most people think of when they hear “hybrid work.” This model has employees work from home (or remotely) a specified amount of days, and coming into the office for the other days.

Pros:

  • Employees choose to work from wherever they will be most productive. For example, doing work that requires more focus from home, and coming into the office for collaborative team projects. This can positively impact productivity and work satisfaction
  • Having a predictable or set traffic flow of employees give you a good idea of office space needs. With a set schedule and less influx, you can also lessen the demand for a large physical office space. This results in resource and cost savings 
  • Investments in technologies that support both onsite and remote users will see greater returns because they can be used seamlessly by the entire workforce in all situations

Cons:

  • With irregular schedules, it can be difficult to coordinate onsite attendance and in-person activities
  • It may require a more proactive effort to keep teams and cross-functional groups connected
  • With people in both onsite and remote locations, meetings can be difficult

Model 2: Some employees work remotely, others work onsite

In this model, whether employees work remote or onsite is determined by their roles and responsibilities. Some jobs and teams will work on a fully remote basis, while others continue to come into the office every day.

Pros:

  • Office occupancy is predictable. On any given day, management knows who is coming in, allowing for easier planning
  • Greater consistency for employees who prefer routine
  • You can staff remote jobs from anywhere, not just employees close enough to come in certain days a week. This allows for a wider hiring pool

Cons:

  • This may be hybrid for the company, but it isn’t true hybrid for the employees. Individual jobs don’t offer the flexibility of hybrid, with the associated benefits. Roles are either in office, or remote – not both
  • Remote employees can sometimes become separated and not benefit from the same thought and inclusion. It’s important to keep the same company culture as those who work onsite
  • There may be continued segmentation of tools, processes, etc. for remote and office employees, resulting in a fragmented workforce

Model 3: Some combination of the two

It isn’t always a possibility for all employees to work remotely. This could be because of their job responsibilities requiring them onsite. This could also be because they do not have proper space or money to create a productive working environment at home. Another reason could be that some remote hires simply reside too far from the office to come into the office. This third hybrid situation has some employees working remotely, some purely onsite, and others doing a mix of the two.

Pros: 

  • Allows an organization to provide flexibility to some employees that have the capability or want
  • Greater number of options to meet individual employee preferences

Cons: 

  • Can be difficult to scale if the model becomes overly complex
  • Multiple hybrid models may further increase the risk of worker isolation and company fragmentation

Whatever the model, it’s time to embrace flexibility

The future is hybrid—and this means work is becoming more flexible than ever. As businesses explore new hybrid work arrangements, it’s important to consider the needs and desires of employees. Starting off by hearing what your employees want can help create success in the long run. Once you have the proper technology in place, everyone feels trained and ready, and you’ve gotten good feedback from your employees, you are ready to go. Pick and specific start date, and get rolling. Remember, the best part about flexible work… is that it’s flexible. If something isn’t working, or you need to change things around, it can be easily done. You don’t have to worry about being stuck in a bad situation.

A flexible work culture allows employees to maintain a healthier work-life balance, which leads to better productivity. While shifting to a hybrid work model takes proactive thought and careful planning, they are exciting changes.