The future of work is loaded with potential benefits and challenges for companies and employees. You’ve seen the headlines: ‘The Future of Work is Hybrid!’ ‘Work From Anywhere!’ ‘The Office is Dead!’ The truth, as always, is much more complex. But one thing is clear: At least in the near term – and most likely for years to come – hybrid work arrangements are to be considered ‘for your mix’ currently.
There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to re-evaluate the way they operate. For some, the shift to remote working has been a success, with employees proving that they can be just as productive outside of the office as inside. However, there are also challenges that come with this new way of working, and as we enter a new phase of the pandemic, businesses are faced with the question of whether to return to the office or continue with remote working.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, and it will ultimately come down to what works best for your business. However, these factors may influence your decision.
Top 7 Benefits of Hybrid Workplaces
If you are a business leader considering a hybrid workplace, here are the top seven benefits you should know about:
- Balance / Employee Satisfaction
Greatly-reduced commuting time provides more time for individual interests and pursuits. Increasing numbers of online collaboration tools pave the way for timely interaction.
- Less emphasis on facades
The status of workwear brands has taken a back seat to the ability to create and produce in a timely fashion.
- Positive Impact on mental health
WFH can provide the space many people need during critical times of crises.
- Increased competitiveness in the talent war
When flexibility is at the core of organizations, it attracts those who ‘make things happen’ in their own way. They seek empowerment, trust and ownership and are repelled by a supervised timetabled approach.
- Increased Productivity
Less distraction and/or office politics reduces the chance of diluted productivity.
- Reduced FFE business costs
Furniture, fixtures and fittings were previously an essential asset, yet now can be downsized.
- Shift in operating culture
Micromanagement is dying a natural demise, paving the way for trust and empowerment
There is an 8th research-based benefit, ‘hot off the press’ at the time of publishing this blog post, as shared by @Siobhan Morrin, Editor of LinkedIN, July 2022. Morrin quotes research from Stanford University:
“Hybrid work arrangements make people less likely to quit, research shows. Nicholas Bloom, remote work expert at Stanford University in the US, says quit rates are down and satisfaction is higher at a range of global firms that offer hybrid work options, with attrition falling 35% at one tech firm. Surveys have shown that workers prefer hybrid work, citing benefits such as less frequent commuting and better work-life balance. It’s these advantages that lead Bloom to believe hybrid work will thrive, even in the face of economic downturn.“
CHALLENGES FOR HYBRID WORKPLACES
Challenges always accompany any major change: resistance to change, changing structure, resourcing and policy requirements, the need for ever-evolving training and support, along with the probability of unforeseen problems and reactions. These ‘mountains’ have been climbed in many differing change contexts previously, and therefore will also be able to be navigated for the ‘to hybrid or not to hybrid’ argument with a little thinking, exploring and planning. There’s absolutely no reason these challenges should become insurmountable barriers for this current ‘hybrid’ issue.
The bottom line is that the decision to move to a hybrid workplace is not one to be taken lightly. It’s a complex challenge that requires careful planning, thoughtful execution, and – perhaps most importantly – strong leadership that allows people their freedom, and moment to shine. Are you up for the task?