Employers today are struggling to keep up with the ever changing working landscape. One minute flexible and fun offices are the in thing, the next it’s remote work due to COVID-19 and at present we’re straddling two worlds of work.
On the one hand, there is the remote model. One in which employees work from home or a remote location with no centralized office. This has worked well for many businesses during COVID-19 and some have decided that it’s best for them to keep things remote moving forward.
On the other hand, you have the office work style. The traditional 9-5 in the office is slowly fading, however there is still a diehard group of companies who believe that offices are the pinnacle of professionalism and must be the primary work style.
We believe that the ideal work style will be the hybrid work model, which has already appeared heavily in 2021. That is, one that seamlessly incorporates both of these work styles to offer a safe, fun and productive work environment that keeps employees engaged and excited to work.
The Hybrid work model is coming into play as companies straddle the changes to office work. Hybrid working involves some key features:
The main reasons a hybrid work model has come into play is due to pandemic disruptions. As a result of COVID-19, many employees and employers have been exposed to new work models that they prefer. As both parties enjoy the remote working set up, many are reluctant to return to the office and this will shape how businesses run.
While initially the hybrid model was a kind of happy accident, many businesses are now finding that it is the ideal way to work for their business. The pandemic gave businesses the opportunity to trial new work styles that they wouldn’t have had the confidence to go forward with in the past. This need to take action and offer a more flexible work style has been a great step forward for many companies who have seen the benefits of the hybrid model across their business.
The result has been that many employees love the hybrid work model and find it the most productive work style. In fact, 64% of workers surveyed by Salesforce said that they want to work from outside the office and another type of workplace, as opposed to working entirely remotely. That same study also discovered that 74% of Gen-Z are likely to prefer either working from home or splitting time at home and work.
Hybrid working is the new work style, so it will be a case of keep up or lose your best talent. The hybrid workforce is likely to increase employee engagement and boost employee happiness as the workforce gathers more agency over how they work.
So, we know that over half (55%) of employers predict staff will transition to a new era of part-remote and part-office working in six months’ time, but why? Here’s the benefits of a Hybrid Work Model:
The number one benefit of a hybrid workforce is undoubtedly safety. By encouraging a culture whereby employees can choose to work from home or come in, businesses significantly reduce the risk that people will soldier in when they are sick, thus spreading their germs around the office. A hybrid model means that people can come into the office on a voluntary basis, ensuring that health and safety is always a priority.
People prefer having more agency over how they work, and the benefits of this are huge. A happier workforce is a more productive workforce, and therefore a hybrid work model is likely to boost profits as well as mood. Whilst a Gallup study shows that remote workers are slightly more engaged (32%) than office workers (28%) there is so little difference that it is safe to assume that every individual is different.
The hybrid model takes this into account and moves from a less prescriptive work model to one where the choice is in the employees hands. This freedom is going to make employees much more satisfied in their roles, and this will have benefits on the company’s bottom line.
Companies need to meet the ever changing demands of their market, and the best way to do that is to work across a variety of locations and if possible time zones too. This is the reason so many companies choose to outsource – so that they can create a truly agile workforce that is entirely flexible and can adapt to a changing situation. A hybrid work model can work as a strategic step to developing an agile workforce, and this will strengthen how a company does business.
Prior to COVID-19, a Harvard study found that the psychological and physical problems of burned-out employees, cost an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare spending in the U.S.
Burnout is often largely due to overworking, but can also be caused by the stress factors associated with long commutes, time away from family and day to day stressors involved with working with others in an office environment. By offering a more flexible model, we should see a shift in the number of cases of burnout.
One of the major issues with office only working has always been that it narrows down the talent pool and excludes people who can’t commit to that location. For employees, a hybrid work model could be the key to unlock some of the top global talent, who are now able to work in a much more flexible manner.
By increasing the number of locations that people can work from, a company can increase the potential applicants for a role. Plus, as the hybrid work model becomes the norm, good people aren’t going to accept the office only environment anymore. Companies will have to keep up with this change in order to keep their best people and attract the right talent.
One of the main benefits to employers is that the office costs can be cut back drastically. A recent study suggests that 30% of employers are planning to reduce their office space off the back of the pandemic. For many businesses, they’ve realized that having excess office space is unnecessary and expensive. Creating a hybrid work model means that they can still have office space, whilst being more mindful about how much space is actually productive.
When it comes to the outsourcing market, a hybrid model and outsourcing model go hand in hand. This is because outsourcing is often the logical first step for companies looking to expand their workforce outside their office space.
Outsourcing can help businesses transition to a hybrid model, and can open up a whole new world of talent that was previously unlocked. We believe that the hybrid work model is the future of remote work, however outsourcing will still play a crucial role in that evolution.
As we allow employees more agency over their work space, it makes sense that employers will capitalize on having a dispersed workforce. The lessons we’ve learnt from COVID-19 are likely to shape the way we manage teams for years to come. By creating a more agile work style, we can create a happier, healthier and more resilient workforce that can face any challenge it faces.