Many companies have made or are making changes to their work environment and what returning to the office might look like. While some companies are opting to keep their employees 100% remote, other businesses have and will remain in office as normal. But beyond these two options of work lies a third: the hybrid model.
This option serves as a halfway point between 100% remote and a 100% face-to-face workforce. While this format is made to be a compromise meant to get the best of both worlds, it is not without its setbacks. Here’s a list of pros and cons for this type of model and why it may be an advantage or more of a challenge for your business to adopt.
Hybrid work can provide a healthy balance of remote and in-office work. The added diversity in routine means environments don’t go stale. This in turn can allow for more creative juices to flow. And this can increase productivity while still having colleague and managerial engagement.
When employees feel trusted, they tend to have a more positive view of their company and leadership.
2020 brought health and sanitation to the forefront of everyone’s minds—including your team. The hybrid model of work inherently mitigates the number of people in the office by having rotating employees. This means there is less risk of large chunks of your team spread germs or catching an illness at the same time.
This goes for both the employee and employer! Employees will spend less on gas and car maintenance, workplace attire/uniform costs, and help them reclaim time spent on commuting to do the things they love.
For businesses, remote work means cutting down on internet, utilities, and supplies and equipment associated with business operations. Depending on the size of your company, you may even be able to close or scale back your facility space, which saves on renting/owning space.
Executing a hybrid model on a large scale is a relatively new concept for employers, so if this is something your team is testing, there will be a learning curve.
Still less employee engagement
If you have team members where remote work format simply doesn’t work, the hybrid model probably will be a challenge, too. If employee thrives in an analog space, where constant and instantaneous engagement from their colleagues and managers is needed, you may not see the production output from them, you were expecting.
The cost of cycling in-office days can come at a cost: You must build out a schedule/process that works for everyone. Depending on the hybrid structure (if teams are on rotation, get to choose which days they are in office, etc.) and team size, building a hybrid schedule can become complex very fast.
Logistics of in-office days need to be fully fleshed out: Team members need to know where they are located for that particular day/week, what departments will be stationed with them, etc. Furthermore, accommodations for team meetings and impromptu office drop-ins will also need to be accounted for when scheduling.
Increased chances of equipment mishaps
If your team is constantly transitioning between a home office and an office office, their equipment is commuting, too. Don’t be surprised if your equipment needs to be replaced a little faster from normal wear and tear (or the amount of laptop mishaps increase).
Additionally, all the swapping office space might increase your employees forgetting essential things they need at home when going into the office or vice versa.
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The big picture
The hybrid work model is a work format that can bring many benefits, but depending on the company culture, department, or nature of a position, it might not be the best fit. Because there is no “right” way to create (and manage) a hybrid team, it’s probably best to expect some speed bumps along the way.
Executing a hybrid model on a large scale is a relatively new concept for employers, so if this is something your team is testing, there will be a learning curve. The best thing to do to see if it’s the right fit for your team is simply to try it out and tweak the format as you go --because if there is one thing this past year has taught us, is there’s nothing wrong with adapting and giving something new a try!