There are a range of new and progressive working styles that have surfaced over the past couple of years. Some of these will have emerged out of necessity, while others were perhaps just a continuation of existing trends.
In today’s business world, there is a far greater emphasis on workers and their wellbeing than ever before. This is probably due to greater understanding around aspects like mental health, as well as increased visibility of general working conditions.
There have been some environmental factors (such as the pandemic) which have accelerated the need to shift towards more flexible and productive workplaces. One example of a new working method is hybrid working.
In this article, we explain what a hybrid working pattern is, and discuss some of the different hybrid working models that can be selected. We also highlight the benefits of hybrid working for both businesses and employees.
What is a hybrid working pattern?
The traditional working approach was one in which all employees shared a single space (such as an office) at set times during the week. Remote working is when individuals work at home, or even on the road. This became a popular choice during the pandemic, as businesses had to find new ways to be productive while their usual workspace was unavailable.
The ability to work at home was, in many cases, facilitated by some form of Cloud technology. Once we started to shift back to a more normal reality, lots of business leaders, including those within the realms of HR and finance, realised that they could continue to use their new-found digital tools, while also spending at least some time back in the office.
Hybrid working is essentially the result of this. It is, as the name suggests, a combination of both office working and remote working. There are a range of hybrid models, meaning businesses should opt for the one most suited to their desired outcomes.
Hybrid working shouldn’t be confused with flexible working, which places a greater emphasis on a person’s schedule rather than their location. Flexible working allows employees to choose their own start and finish times. They could decide to work seven days a week, or only three days, so long as they fulfil their time quota or complete their assigned duties.
Examples of hybrid working models
Split time model
This first model attempts to give workers the most equal time split between remote work and office work. Ideally, employees will experience the best of both worlds as a result. While in the traditional workplace, they can more easily collaborate, and enjoy greater social benefits. For the other half of the week they can enjoy home comforts.
The best way to implement this model is to ensure staff have at least two days of the week in both locations. A variation of the split model could be to give them one week at home, followed by the next week in the office, on a recurring basis. As with every model we’ll discuss, companies should provide the infrastructure for employees to work adequately.
Split team model
This model is more centred around the team itself rather than the split of time. It involves ensuring at least half of the team are in the office at any given time. If half of the team have been at home for a week, this will then be rotated so that the other half of the team get to enjoy this luxury.
A way to vary this is to split the whole workforce rather than individual teams, so that you’re perhaps rotated based on who you most closely work with. It could also be decided that certain teams should be on-site at all times, while other teams are fully remote, depending on the unique role they fulfil.
Fully flexible model
This hybrid model is, as you would expect, the one that provides the most flexibility to workers. It is the model that allows employees to choose their own balance, so long as they spend at least one day in the office and one day at home.
This has benefits as it allows individuals to work around the events happening in their personal life, and to work more in the place where they feel most productive. It’s worth noting that it may cause dissatisfaction if only some people are given this level of flexibility.
As the name suggests, this model places greater importance on being present in the office. This would normally involve having one day at home, and then the remainder of the week in the shared workplace.
This is the model that is most similar to the traditional working style, and therefore requires the least infrastructural change. It’s most suited to those that must complete a lot of collaborative work, as they can more easily share ideas.
In complete contrast, this model asserts that staff should spend the majority of their time working remotely. They’ll spend one day in the office, with the rest of the week being fulfilled at home.
This approach is the most different to the old ways of working, and therefore probably requires the most investment to put all the foundations in place. The remote-first model is most suitable for those that require deep concentration for their work, or employees that are on the road a lot.
What are the benefits of hybrid working for employees?
Improved work/life balance
The increased flexibility brought about by hybrid working creates a much better balance between a person’s work life and personal life. By being at home occasionally, they have more time in the evening to engage in hobbies and spend time with loved ones. This will undoubtedly provide greater satisfaction and give them a better chance to reenergise. It also means they can more easily work around things like medical appointments and family commitments (such as picking up their children from school), without suffering the downturn in productivity that would have occurred had they been in the office.
Better health and wellbeing
An improved work/life balance usually goes hand in hand with better health and wellbeing in the workplace. Employees still gain the psychological benefits that come with the social interactions in the office. But they also have more time to visit the gym, go for an evening run, or prepare a healthy meal, on the occasions when they’re working remotely.
In the past, workers would have to spend a significant amount of money on public transport or petrol money. But with hybrid working they don’t have to commute as much, meaning these costs inevitably come down. During days at home, they’ll probably save money on food too, as they’ll be less likely to indulge in a pricey treat that they might have otherwise found in the vicinity of their office. These savings can make their salary feel more significant.
Fewer geographic constraints
If employees are given permission to work remotely most of the time, this may give them more freedom in terms of where they can live too, as they’ll be less worried about having to travel long distances. Previously, if a person relocated to a different part of the country, they would have been forced to find a new company. But under the right hybrid model, this won’t be an issue, so long as they can still attend the occasional office event.
Increased learning opportunities
The transition to different types of working has simultaneously created new methods and new technologies. Therefore, those that embrace hybrid working will give employees an opportunity to further develop their skillsets, which will ultimately increase their value and benefit their career prospects. This could include learning how to effectively present and collaborate virtually, while also mastering digital tools that have become prevalent in their field.
What are the benefits of hybrid working for businesses?
Increased employee productivity
When employees have an element of variation in their weekly routine, they’re more likely to feel more motivated and engaged with their work, as it’s not so repetitive. And if a hybrid model is selected which best fits with their strengths, it will likely lead to increased productivity in the workplace.
Higher employee satisfaction
All the elements discussed so far should, on the whole, make employees happier within their roles. If they’re performing to a higher level, they will probably feel empowered and enjoy higher self-esteem. If they’re given more freedom/self-governance, there will be fewer instances of workers feeling trapped or stifled. This should lead to more people staying in the long-term, which lowers recruitment spend.
When less people are working in the office, the business inevitably faces fewer costs. Bills are quite simply reduced if there’s lower energy consumption in the communal workspace. Once the business has a better understanding of office attendance (following the implementation of hybrid working), they can take measures to scale down, which would lower rental costs too.
Greater access to talent
We discussed how workers have fewer geographic constraints, but the same applies to businesses too. When a business can offer hybrid working as the norm, they have access to a much wider talent pool. They can search the entire country for candidates, rather than just sticking to their local area. This makes it far more likely to find a specialist who could take their performance to the next level. Not only can they actively search for a higher calibre of candidate, but they’ll also be a more attractive proposition too (due to their ability to offer remote working).
When employees are generally healthier and more fulfilled, they’re far less likely to want/need a sick day. Thanks to the better work/life balance, they’ll also be less likely to have a day off with stress. Even if they are feeling slightly under the weather, there’s still a chance they could continue working, as it’s far less strenuous to work from home than it is to commute into the office.
How can Advanced help with hybrid working?
When implementing hybrid working, it’s important to ensure staff have access to the necessary tools (so that they’re capable of working effectively wherever they are). Particularly when it comes to remote working, the company must provide the appropriate infrastructure. We have offerings which can help integrate seamless collaboration and productivity tools to help with hybrid working as part of our Managed Microsoft 365 and Device Management services.
Cloud systems have been adopted by many businesses, as they can be accessed via the internet (rather than being installed locally). This means that employees simply need an adequate internet connection to work as normal when at home. Cloud-based accounting software and Cloud-based HR software have enabled managers within finance and HR to empower their teams during this new age.
At Advanced, we offer a Cloud-based accounting software, Advanced Financials, as well as our HR software, Advanced HR. These systems have designated functionality for aspects like accounts payable/receivable, invoicing, purchasing, annual leave management, appraisals, absence management and reporting (to name a few). They increase efficiency by automating many of the more repetitive tasks. They also integrate with our MyWorkplace platform.
MyWorkplace is a transformative tool that streamlines daily activities, by taking snippets of functionality from your most used systems and presenting them in a single digital space. Task management/prioritisation becomes much easier, and with the ability to perform some actions at the click of a button, there’s far more time to focus on creative/high-level work.
If you’re looking to gain the benefits that come with hybrid working, and you need the right technology to facilitate this, be sure to take a closer look at our game-changing workplace productivity system, MyWorkplace.