The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the way that companies and employees work. In India, where most companies and employees follow a systematic and structured approach of on-site 9 to 5 jobs, remote work and hybrid working models are new concepts that are gradually becoming popular. As opposed to traditional working models, remote and hybrid working models provide employees with the ease and flexibility to work at their own pace and comfort. A recent study by Statista suggests that in 2021, 73% of the employees from a global survey want flexible work options to stay post-pandemic.
Hybrid working model: A reality
By embracing new working models, big brands like Google and Microsoft are making hybrid working the new reality. Microsoft’s decision to adopt a hybrid working model is based on the fact that a “vast majority of employees say that they want more flexible remote work options” along with “more in-person collaboration, post pandemic,” highlights Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella based on their research. In a recent post on LinkedIn, Nadella wrote, “Hybrid work represents the biggest shift to how we work in our generation. And it will require a new operating model, spanning people, places, and processes.”
Simultaneously, the tech giant, Google, has also offered a blend of remote and in-site working options to its employees. Google and Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai, took to Twitter to share more details about the plan – “The future of work at Google is flexibility. The majority of our employees still want to be on campus some of the time yet many would also enjoy the flexibility of working from home a couple days a week, spending time in another city for part of the year, or even moving there permanently. Google’s future workplace will have room for all of these possibilities. We’re moving to a hybrid work week with most Googlers in the office approximately 3 days a week.” This model will provide Googlers with the flexibility to work based on their preferences and convenience as 60% of the employees work together in the office for a few days, 20% work in new locations and the other 20% work from home.
As more and more companies adopt the model of hybrid working and move away from traditional work arrangements, it is essential to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the same to be able to implement the hybrid model better.
With employees demanding more flexibility at work and choosing to work on their own terms, companies must become more flexible to cater to the needs of their employees. This will in turn provide employees with the space to work on their own terms, providing them with a sense of empowerment and comfort. The positive impact of this decision will ultimately result in increased efficiency and productivity.
- Access to great talent
A hybrid working model will allow companies to access great talent without being restricted by geographical barriers. This will enable companies to build globally distributed teams and have access to great talent across the globe. Moreover, this will also help companies build more diverse and inclusive teams, encouraging greater collaboration and welcoming multiple perspectives.
- Reduced cost of operation
A hybrid working model will allow companies to cut costs of operations by reducing office space and rent. Businesses can now revamp and reduce their office size and space, supplies, tools and utilities without disrupting their workflow and day to day operations. According to a report by Microsoft, more than 56% of leaders believe that remote working delivers cost savings as businesses take steps like reducing their office footprint and their expenses on travel.
- Potential burnout
A hybrid model may hamper the work-life balance of many employees as they work for long hours. With employees trying to overcompensate for working from home or remotely, many may take up roles and responsibilities post-traditional working hours along with shorter breaks. This may result in potential burnout as employees feel exhausted and overworked.
- Disconnect between employees
Team building can be one of the biggest challenges in a hybrid setting. With half of the workforce operating from the office and others from home, the chances of communication gaps and miscommunication increase.
Despite the cons, the idea of a hybrid working model reflects the future of modern workplaces with increased digital fluency, greater innovation and autonomy for employees.
Ensuring a smooth transition
- Increased communication
In order to work effectively, companies need to ensure effective communication to avoid any confusion and misunderstandings between employees. Using technologies and tools like Slack, video conferencing, emails, etc., can be used to work efficiently. Team leaders also need to ensure that clear expectation setting helps employees and employers set the norms for a hybrid working model.
- Equip employees with the required tools and technologies
To successfully implement a hybrid working model, companies must adopt a centralized, cloud-based system to allow smooth collaboration. It is essential to provide continued support and training to all employees as well as equip them with the tools and techniques to collaborate effectively.
- Establish clear and transparent policies
While establishing the norms and policies of a hybrid working model, it is essential to ensure that all policies and practices must be impartial and support the needs of all employees – those who work on-site and those who do not. It is imperative to set some ground rules and address questions like can employees adjust their work hours? Can people work from the office and home as they please? Answers to these questions will help companies foster a culture of transparency in the organization.
As the world around us changes, so should our ways of working. The concept of a “workplace” is no longer defined by a physical set-up of desks and chairs in a designated space, rather it is a space where one feels comfortable and focused. With the concept of the hybrid working model gaining momentum, many companies are gradually embracing this idea with open arms, providing their employees with the freedom and choice to work on their own terms. This has proven to be a bold move as organizations take a step towards becoming more people-centric, acknowledging the needs of their people.