Remote work has quickly become the new norm for many, but it doesn’t always have to be all or nothing. While some businesses have gone fully remote, or begun to offer fully remote positions, others have come to a sort of compromise with hybrid business models. Of course, everyone has their preferences of what works best for them. Let’s discuss the differences in today’s blog.
In a hybrid business model, employees spend some of their time in the office and some of their time out of the office, working from home. Some hybrid models keep this fairly balanced — two or three days in the office and the rest working from home. Others give preference to one location or the other. Maybe you can come into the office for big meetings but otherwise work from home. Or maybe you offer a couple “work from home” days each month but otherwise keep things to the office.
Many executives see hybrid business models as the best of both worlds. They may have switched to a hybrid model during the pandemic, or towards the end of the pandemic in order to adjust to time back in the office. However, many businesses are now taking them into consideration for the long run. Benefits include:
- More Flexibility. Everyone works at a different pace and in different environments. Hybrid business models allow employees to choose the best path for them. If they prefer to come into the office every day, they can do so. If they work better from home or need more time with their family, they can choose that instead.
- Retains the Community of the Office. The hybrid business model offers employees more flexibility, but it does not do away with the sense of community that comes with working in an office. It also typically sticks to the usual 9-5 schedule so that everything is consistent.
- Attracts New Talent. The newest generation of workers came into the mostly remote workforce, and they search for remote work when they’re on the job hunt. A hybrid business model can give them the freedom with their work that they’re used to and crave — without scaring off your older generations of employees..
Of course, the hybrid business model is not without its challenges. Some of those challenges are:
- Equipment and Office Space. Even if your team is only in the office for half the week, you will still have to pay rent on your office space as well as pay for all the equipment your team needs. You may save on your energy bills by not using the office full time, but there will still be costs involved.
- Jealousy Among Coworkers. In a hybrid business model, some positions may lend themselves to remote work more easily than others. However, you’ll want to be sure to be as fair about the way remote work options are given out as possible. It can be easy to build resentment among coworkers if it seems that some have preference over others.
- Bias Towards Remote Work. When you give people time in the office and some time working remotely, they’re likely going to develop a preference for the remote work. This offers them more freedom and they don’t have to wake up early and come into the office to do their jobs. Thus you may have those in your office longing for their next opportunity to work remotely.
In a fully remote model, your entire office works remotely — or certain positions work remotely — fully, without spending any time in the office. You may not even have a physical office space in these business models.
Employees have been asking for the chance to have remote work long before the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head. This model allows them to have exactly the freedom they crave. There are a number of advantages that come with this:
- Recruit Talent From All Over the World. Instead of being stuck within your local area, you can recruit employees from all over the country or all over the world. You can find the right person for the job, no matter where they are.
- Cost Savings. If your team works remotely, you don’t have to worry about buying desks, computers, office spaces, and copiers. Your team will work from their own computers and everything will be communicated digitally.
- Even Greater Flexibility. With remote work, there is more of a focus on the output than on a set amount of hours worked. Your team can work in the mornings, in the evenings, on the weekends, or whenever they work best. As long as you stay on top of tasks, the work will still get done and you may have a better quality as they are able to do so when it best suits them.
Remote business is hardly a corporate utopia, and it may not be for everyone. There are also potential drawbacks, including:
- Loss of Culture/Communication. It can be difficult to maintain that sense of togetherness when you’re not all working out of the same office. Tone can be lost over the internet and if people are working from different timezones or on different schedules, it might be hard to maintain that company culture that often lifts morale.
- Distractions at Home. For some, working from home can be ideal. For others, it could actually be harmful to their work/life balance. Distractions at home may make it difficult for them to focus on work. On the other hand, distractions of work may make it hard for them to put work down and focus on their family.
- Security Concerns. The other concern about moving businesses to the digital platform is that all of your sensitive information could be accessed by a skilled cyber-hacker. Because of this, many remote work platforms have upped their security by utilizing encryption. That way, even if the information is extracted, it will be hidden behind an illegible code. But even with these advances, the concern is still often on the mind of business executives.