The Benefits of Hybrid WorkingPublié le 17 August 2021
As businesses look towards a post-pandemic world, it’s time to consider different forms of working arrangements. Employees and employers can both enjoy the benefits of hybrid working models as businesses continue to build on success.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic is still not over, businesses and organizations are already looking toward the future. One side effect of the pandemic is that it has called many aspects of traditional working models into question. With millions of people transitioning to working from home for the first time, it has shown that many job roles can be successfully adapted to the virtual workspace.
After this amount of time, it’s clear that a fair number of professionals are not in a rush to return to the office. This is supported by a new study that has found that 61% of Canadian employees prefer a hybrid working model. By embracing the benefits of hybrid working, it allows for employees to enjoy more freedom, and for employers to retain a productive and effective workforce.
What Is Hybrid Working?
A hybrid working model is when work is divided between remote working on certain days and in-person working environments on others. For example, one form of hybrid working would be to have employees gather in a shared co-working space on Monday and Tuesday for meetings and in-person collaboration, and then for employees to work remotely for the remainder of the work week. The idea is that it combines the advantages of both in-person work and remote work, while minimizing some of the most frequent drawbacks.
The Benefits of Hybrid Working:
- Reduces commute
- Maintains community
- Better work-life balance
- Lower overhead
The work commute is so ingrained in the popular image of professional life that it is sometimes easy to forget its flaws and drawbacks. Long commutes are bad. They’re bad for people, for employers, for cities and for the environment. Canadian workers will spend an average of 24 minutes commuting each way to work every single day, which works out to 4 hours each week. This is time that would be much more productive if it could be spent actually working, and much more enjoyable if it could be spent on personal activities and family life.
Hybrid working keeps in place one of the most popular aspects of remote working: the lack of commute. Hybrid-working calls for only a limited amount of days spent in a shared workspace, mainly for necessary meetings and specific collaborations. By not forcing employees to travel to the office or workplace everyday, it saves them literal hours each week. There is also a positive environmental impact, greatly reducing the amount of pollution and exhaust released into the atmosphere with fewer vehicles on the road.
When many companies made the transition to working remotely in the spring of 2020, one of the biggest concerns of organizations was the ability to maintain their company culture. This is understandable, as a strong company culture based in mutual support and collaboration is very important to ensuring continued business success. Businesses with a strong company culture perform better, have more satisfied employees, and even have an edge in recruiting. As so much of the relationships the company culture is built upon are developed over face-to-face interaction and development, going to a completely virtual workplace can make forming these relationships more difficult.
A hybrid working model still allows for opportunities for in-person collaboration between colleagues in co-working spaces and shared work environments. Working together on a regular basis, even if only for one or two days a week, still provides the opportunity for professional relationships to develop and strengthen. It also does so without the drawbacks of collaboration only through video conferencing, which can feel impersonal and strained. Company culture and community can remain strong through the use of a hybrid working model.
Better Work-Life Balance
There has been a dramatic increase in awareness regarding the impact of the workplace on the wellness and mental and emotional health of employees in all job fields and industries. The rise of remote work has not limited employee burnout, or the very real health consequences of long working hours. There has actually been research and much anecdotal evidence which indicates that working from home actually makes it more difficult to maintain anything related to a proper work-life balance for some professionals. This happens because removing the physical separation of work and home makes it much more difficult to mentally separate the two, leading to a blurring of professional and personal lives that is ultimately unsustainable.
Hybrid working still allows employees to work outside their homes and gather in-person with other employees. Even though a number of work days are spent in the home workspace, the fact there are some breaks from this routine involving a separate dedicated work space can help to improve work-life balance.
Starting, growing and maintaining a successful business requires a lot of money. There is no way around it. For start-ups and new organizations, operating costs will take up a huge amount of the budget during the initial years, likely exceeding profit margins at first. These costs include the money needed to rent or buy working space. As the price of property continues to increase in major cities across Canada, the monthly rent is getting more expensive for all businesses and creating a higher barrier of entry for new companies.
One of the biggest benefits of hybrid working is that it could potentially entail dramatically lower overhead costs. Without being in a shared workspace or office every single day, there is no need to spend a great deal of money on monthly rent. Instead, it provides the opportunity for businesses to explore new options, such as shared coworking spaces. In this scenario, businesses rent a workspace for only specific days, such as every Monday and Tuesday, or on an as-needed basis for meetings, while other companies use the space on other days. This allows companies to have the benefits of in-person meetings and collaboration, while reducing overhead costs and providing more flexibility for employees.
The benefits of hybrid working are accessible for both employees and employers. By mixing the best elements of remote work and in-person collaboration, it allows for the flexibility professionals desire and the stability that companies favour. With its clear popularity with the working public, businesses would be wise to consider the benefits of hybrid working as they consider how to transition to a post-pandemic mode of work.