Deciding to adapt a hybrid work model is step one – but choosing the model that fits your needs is step 0.
According to a PwC survey, 83% of employers say the shift to remote work has been successful for their company. This number is from January 2021, but the opinion has only been strengthened in the meantime.
The number of companies adapting a hybrid work model has grown exponentially since the beginning of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that all attempts have been successful. Often, the model is badly implemented due to a lack of understanding of the necessary frameworks that will help the company function no matter where the employees are based – as we discussed in our previous blog.
Sometimes, however, it’s the choice of hybrid model that creates the biggest problems.
Sometimes you just don't feel like the hassle of leaving your house.
Now, when talking about hybrid work, people tend to think that your only two choices are opting to go remote or not. While this technically isn’t false, it’s also not the full scope of the method.
Model 1: The office-centric hybrid
This option was popular in many industries even before the pandemic. Basically, the company office is the preferred place of work, with employees having the option to work remotely or off-site in case they need to.
This model is the most moderate of all, and can be used by almost all kinds of businesses, from consultancies to hospitality and retail.
The upsides include easier management (most people are on-site) and a more employee-friendly atmosphere. Increasing remote opportunities is also a great way to reward hard work, but it doesn’t cause the cultural issues other models might have.
Model 2: Remote-centric hybrid
A natural second step after the office-centric hybrid, remote-centric is a model that leans heavily on the remote location of the employees. While office-centric uses the office as a focal point, remote-centric prefers distance and the use of online tools to any actual in-person interactions.
This model is much more pandemic-friendly, if we can call it that. It’s great for software development companies, so don’t be surprised to see it featured often. It also tends to be the model most people think of when they talk about “remote work”.
Although remote-centric is the best option for social distancing, it’s also very difficult for morale and company culture. Getting quality engagement in video calls is, as any HR will tell you, and uphill struggle.
Model 3: Flexible hybrid
Taking it one step further, the flexible model combines both office and remote work. Employees are given the freedom to choose when and where to work, with minimum interference form the company itself.
While the freedom to choose the ideal method of work on a daily (or even hourly) basis may sound like a dream, this model comes with multiple perks that aren’t visible from the first. For instance, it is the best model for parents or people with medical conditions that want to make the most of their available “productive” hours. It’s also ideal for students juggling academic obligations.
Good side of flexibility aside, this model is potentially the most difficult to manage. With a lack of cohesive system that will keep everybody in the loop, the whole process tends to collapse. Team members are lacking the frameworks that help them collaborate, clients find it harder to keep in touch... Not to mention the long-suffering managerial / admin / HR personnel trying to keep on top of the situation.
All three of these models are strictly location-based. It should also be said that flexibility in location and flexibility in time of work don’t always go hand-in-hand, but are definitely becoming standard practice (especially in the more advanced models, like the flexible one).
Whichever model you choose, be aware of the drawbacks and problems that can arise. The experience of most companies shows that it’s the managerial and admin side of business that suffers far more than the technical, so keep an eye on the options available to help you.
Simple things, like checking in or making sure everybody is aware of a mandatory meeting, can be tricky when both time and place are relative. Luckily, there are some digital solutions out there that will help make sure the hybrid model you commit to will work out for both you and your employees – and we’re going to tackle that subject in a few weeks!