In the Know | Adjusting to a Hybrid Working Model

By: Kayla Cruz

The COVID-19 pandemic catapulted most of the workforce into a hybrid working model with a combination of onsite work and work from other spaces (mainly home). For many, this means that employees can vary their working days and come into the office depending on the needs of the company. While increased flexibility and work/life balance is appealing to some, others feel that working from home has decreased their overall satisfaction with work. The following non-exhaustive list explores pros and cons of the hybrid working model:

PROS
1. Reduced Costs

 A hybrid working model can save employees and employers money. Employees who are used to driving long distances to and from work no longer must spend money on gas and lunch food from a cafeteria. Financial advisors noted that people are saving between $3,000 and $6,000 per year on commuting costs. Likewise, instead of spending money eating out, employees have the time to make meals at home. Moreover, some companies have downsized offices and have seen decreases in bills for utilities, office supplies, and printing.

2. Better Work/Life Balance

Workers who have the privilege of the hybrid working model enjoy the option to work from home when personal commitments call for it. For examples, parents can be more present for children, taking them to and from school. Further, they can take children to their doctor’s appointments without always having to use paid leave time. In some cases, employees can use the extra down time to tend to household chores, personal fitness, and mental wellness. In this view, the hybrid working model provides a level of freedom that was not enjoyed when employees were always required to be in the office.

3. Flexibility

With the hybrid working model, employees can decide where and how best they work. The hybrid working model does not require people to work from home; instead, a coffee shop or library is an option. Also, less manager oversight allows employees more time to be productive and work at their own pace. This flexibility has increased employee retention, with polls showing that more than 40 percent of workers state that they would rather leave their current job than give up remote work.

CONS
1. Difficulty Collaborating

Some employees find it difficult to collaborate with co-workers in a hybrid working environment. Brainstorming ideas and arranging meetings can be difficult if some employees are in the office and others are not. Those working in-office may feel like their co-workers are not working as diligently or responding to communications in a timely manner. Those starting a new position may never meet co-workers in person or have the opportunity to network with executives.

2. Employee Burnout

 At the height of the pandemic, many working from home experienced burnout because they felt the need to tend to all aspects of their lives at once. Parents were on conference calls and homeschooling children when they could find a break. Women in particular felt stressed about keeping up with home and work responsibilities and many left their jobs to tend to children. Additionally, some employees working from home maintain very few boundaries around their work because they do not have to switch environments. This leads to working before and after work hours, leaving little room for personal endeavors.

3. Heightened Cyber Attacks

The hybrid working model depends largely on technology, and with technology comes certain security risks. Some employees have to use personal computers as work computers and are vulnerable to increased security threats. Moreover, employers that provide remote computers must maintain them and ensure that they are always updated. Network security software and new computers can prove to be costly.

Key Takeaways

When done right, the hybrid working model can promote an employee-centered workplace. Workers can decide where, when, and how to work and have an overall better feeling about the company’s culture. Although it often entails fewer boundaries between work and personal time and less team building, many still prefer it over being in the office all the time. Still, the hybrid model is not practical for all businesses, especially those that rely heavily on in-person interaction.