The advantages of hybrid working
In response to this, many workforces (who’s nature of work allow) adopted a hybrid work model in 2021, which is looking now to be the new normal for many businesses going forward, in London especially. The meaning of hybrid working? An arrangement where employees can work from home or from the office, be it on agreed days, or flexibly.
Here’s a rundown of hybrid working advantages – from an employee and organisational perspective.
Perhaps the most obvious hybrid working advantage is that of flexibility. Depending on what form of hybrid model the organisation is taking (agreed days in the office, a certain number of days from home, or complete flexibility) giving employees a choice and more control over their own working habits is now more valuable than ever.
From an organisational perspective, it allows everyone to be more adaptable. COVID-19 showed us that office closures and lockdowns could happen with very little warning. In organisations where employees have all the tools they need to work from home, there is little forward planning or effort needed to adapt to future government guidelines, or other external forces that might cause the workplace to be closed.
We’re all different, not one of us the same as another. And the same goes for our personal situations and working styles.
The flexibility provided by hybrid working models means more people will be able to work in a way that’s suitable to them. Those who work better in quiet isolation can continue homeworking; those who want company and interactions can use the office; parents can do the school runs; collaborative sessions can take place in person – there are more options than ever to suit different people and preferences.
This freedom and the foundational trust that it’s based on can have a meaningful effect on wellbeing. Solidify this with time (and money) back from reduced commutes and it’s easy to see the many benefits.
With news that COVID-19 will soon become endemic (meaning it’s now in our rotation of common viruses within the population), we need to accept that this is stressful and upsetting to many of us who have underlying health conditions or are protecting loved ones who do.
These types of work models allow such individuals to adapt to new waves of infection, and protect themselves and their families – whilst also reducing the ongoing stress that risk of infection can cause.
We all remember being sent to work from home during the very first wave. Some organisations had slight problems with refreshing their technologies, and a great deal of investment and readjustment was required – hardware, laptops, video conferencing ability, and so on. Every employee had to be completely set up for remote working.
Hybrid working models continue to enforce this investment in infrastructure. With every employee having the choice and being set up to work in such a way, it also gives more flexibility in workspaces. No longer tethered to a specific desk and desktop, employees can make use of different spaces within their office. At sites like IQL, where connectivity extends outdoors, they can move outside to work, use collaborative spaces, or hot desk.
Our final hybrid working advantage refers to the efficiencies of space within your office. With hybrid working likely to mean fewer people within the office at once, it gives organisations the chance to review their space.
Perhaps less desks are required, allowing room for more branch-out spaces, or meeting rooms. Perhaps you can create parts of your office dedicated to employee wellbeing or give more space to each hot desk to be used by employees.
The efficiencies aren’t likely to be so large that you can reduce your space, but it can allow you to revaluate and redesign to create an office that caters to the needs of your workforce (we’ve given some more thoughts on what those are, here).
We know that hybrid working may not be suitable for every organisation but for many it offers a successful model for the modern workforce. It also offers an opportunity for companies to create a workspace that is truly effective and satisfies every employee’s needs.