A hybrid working model is a mix of working remotely and in the office or workplace.
This model could consist of three days at home and two in the office or four days in the office and one at home. Any combination can be a hybrid working model.
Usually, hybrid working models feature both types of work each week, but it can vary depending on the workplace.
Due to technology changing the way that we work, businesses were shifting towards hybrid working models pre-pandemic. However, Covid19 has accelerated this move.
Many companies established new work from home policies during lockdowns, and even now when some offices are open, they are trying to limit the number of people in an office at any one time.
Although many businesses have started working on this basis due to necessity, the good news is that there are many advantages of a hybrid working model.
We’ll go into them all in this post - and detail how you can maximise these benefits of hybrid working for a more productive and positive workplace!
One of the most significant benefits of a hybrid working model is not having to commute as often. In 2019, the average time for a one-way commute in the US was 27.6 minutes. Added up over a working week, this would result in 5 hours per week, or 20 per month - nearly a whole day.
But in cities like New York and Dallas, the average time was around 53 minutes when commuting by public transport. This adds up to nearly 10 hours per week and almost 40 per month. And that’s just the average time - some people commuted for far longer.
With a hybrid working model, commuting time is reduced. How much depends on how many days the employee goes in, but most have more free time each week.
Rather than spending this time in traffic or sitting on a stuffy subway, they can use it to exercise, be with their family, read or cook healthy meals. Having that extra time in the day can have a considerable knock-on benefit to an employee’s life.
Another advantage of a hybrid working model is having more flexibility. Usually, when someone travels to their office, they work solidly for the next eight hours before going home.
However, some employees may find that they benefit from taking a longer lunch and working into the evening, or perhaps they like to start their work early and finish in time to pick up the kids from school.
Whether your workplace can permit this largely depends on the industry and type of business. However, you could consider allowing employees to work on a flexible basis, provided they are online at certain times in the day and complete a set amount of hours per week.
Less commuting and more flexibility naturally equate to a better work/ life balance for employees. Pre-pandemic, many professionals, particularly those working full-time in a city, would revolve their life around their work.
Lockdowns and restrictions made many people question this. A general expectation (particularly for millennials) from now on is to, instead, revolve their work around their life.
A hybrid working model can easily enable this balance.
As we’ve seen, there are many benefits of a hybrid working model for employees. But how can it help employers?
When your employees have a better work-life balance and can adapt their job to fit around other commitments and things they enjoy, you might find them more focused and productive.
If an employee doesn’t have to commute every day, they should start work feeling more energised and refreshed, able to approach their work with more enthusiasm.
Or, if they are a morning person and are allowed to clock on at 6:00 am every morning, they might work much better than if they have to stay in the office until 6:00 pm.
Basically, a flexible working schedule can help maximise an employee’s abilities to be the most productive they can be.
In-person meetings and events definitely have their place in the 2020s. However, everyone knows the frustration of travelling for quick meetings that they could easily do over Zoom.
A hybrid working model allows some meetings to be done virtually, provided you have the right equipment. For example, interactive displays like the ones we offer at Avocor can easily connect to employees’ devices and provide remote video collaboration opportunities.
They can connect to the meeting and see the presentation; plus, in-person attendees can see virtual participants as if they are there.
This can save employees a considerable amount of time and, of course, boost productivity!
This benefit of a hybrid working model may take a little time to process, but it’s a definite perk that some businesses are already experiencing.
If you don’t have employees in the office all the time, you don’t have to pay for the extra electricity, hot drinks, heating, etc. If you rent an office space, you could even look at downgrading in size, which could save you money.
Some remote employees will even work on their own devices - but you might want to ensure that everyone has up to date hardware that can easily connect to meetings.
We’ve explored a lot of benefits of remote work so far. But one of the big advantages of a hybrid model is the opportunity to go into a physical office is always there.
One thing that the pandemic has shown us is the importance of human connection. Alarmingly, surveys have shown that around 65% of adults experienced increased feelings of loneliness during the pandemic. One of the main reasons for this was the increase in working from home, with many people thinking that fully remote working makes people unhappy.
Most people want a mix. They want to be able to work remotely and flexibly a few days per week, but also have the chance to go to their workplace, speak to people face-to-face, make friends with their colleagues, and arrive home at the end of the day feeling like they’ve achieved something.
Hybrid working allows this. It isn’t an all or nothing solution - there’s always an option to work in person and make connections, as well as the chance to spend a day working remotely, from home or a nearby coffee shop.
Different people have different triggers for their mental health. For example, some find lack of sleep particularly challenging, whereas others crave socialising and feel loneliness intensely.
A hybrid working model can help employees across the board with their mental health. Each employee could consider what balance between in-person and remote working would work best for them and, if possible, can work on this basis.
Not only will this benefit the employees, but it can have serious positive knock-on effects for employers too. Good employee mental health can increase productivity and job satisfaction and make the workplace - remote or in-person - a positive place.
Of course, the specific hybrid working arrangement will vary depending on your particular business. However, if you can be as flexible as possible, you’ll notice some of these fantastic benefits of a hybrid working model. They could help your business grow and expand throughout the 2020s!