The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Qatar prompted many companies to return to remote working on a massive scale—a move which was previously being left to select roles within teams at most companies. To ensure that employees remain productive and efficient with their time, some companies have adopted the hybrid working model which has seen employees maintain—if not more—productivity during this challenging period.
Yet this unexpected shift has its own fair share of challenges with some employers worrying about the levels of team productivity or the effectiveness of team management that comes with the model. But the hybrid work model that ensures an equal split between remote and office work may be here to stay. So it is important that we analyze how it is being adopted and the pros and cons that come with it.
How is the model being adopted?
By Leaders and Managers.
With a hybrid work model, a significant amount of work is performed and delivered by employees away from a centralized office or workplace. We find that the biggest worry for leaders and managers is whether employees will be able to get work done, at home. For that reason, the first step to getting started with a hybrid work model is getting the executive buy-in. When that is done away with. Leaders and managers must then assess how they are going to deal with some of the common challenges that come with the model. According to an article by vcfo, these are the questions that leaders and managers should find answers to as they adopt the model.
- Building and maintaining a strong, healthy culture – What parts of [your] culture do [you] need to protect most? What cultural norms need to change to better integrate with hybrid work?
- Actualizing employee engagement and inclusion – What practices will help employees not to feel alone in their endeavours? How can [you] support and sustain community and collaboration?
- Promoting accountability – How do [you] maintain expected standards of work as well as feedback and ideation across employee groups?
- Ensuring effective two-way communication – Are we being proactive and multi-layered in our employee communications? [Is] regular 1:1 communication occurring to ensure understanding and ask for feedback?
- Supporting continued learning and development – Do remote employees have all the tools they need to succeed and full understanding and confidence in using them?
For employees, safety is important as they navigate the new norm. We find that what influences employees’ experience with the hybrid work model is what specific roles and responsibilities they play. There are several things that employees must consider when adapting the model.
- How much collaboration with others do they need?
- Do their homes support undisturbed work for long durations of time?
- Do they feel like their work can be done at home or must they be at the office?
- How do they feel about working from home vs working in the office?
- Are they clear about the overall strategy and direction the organization wants to take?
What then are the Pros and Cons of the Hybrid Work Model?
- Increased Productivity
A recent Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report asserts that more than half of managers believe their teams are more productive when they work remotely on some days. This may be true because, in the office, there can be so much distraction related to a busy office set up and interruptions from coworkers; being at this all week could be a significant impediment to productivity. We also find that since employees can choose to stay home and work, they are more likely to show up and engage which reduces absenteeism that can sometimes arise due to the need to stay home and take care of personal issues. They get the chance to boost their productivity by choosing to work at their most productive times of the day.
We also find that in this case, employees do not have to look busy all the time—sometimes they do at the office when the manager is around. Instead, they set out to achieve objectives in their own time which has the potential to instil trust in employees and gives them a sense of self-motivation.
- The Model Helps Prioritize Well-Being
There are many reasons why hybrid working can improve wellbeing:
· Employees can work in ways that best suit their style and preferences—ways which they sometimes cannot do at the office because they may look like they are slacking.
· Employees get to pay fewer costs for childcare and get the chance to spend more time with their children.
· Some get to have their own private office at home which they may not have at work.
· Employees also get to have some more time on their hands since they do not need to commute as much.
Essentially, allowing employees to work from home helps them to prioritize their wellbeing and family.
- Access to a wider pool of talent
The hybrid work model allows companies to expand certain criteria they follow during the recruitment process which may include the location of candidates for relocation reasons. The model breaks that barrier and opens doors for anyone around the world to join the company which means that companies get to have the best people on their teams without limitations to area due to a diversified workforce.
- We know that some people and certain industries are just not cut out for this model.
Clearly, a hybrid work model is not for everyone. While some people may thrive with it, others can severely be impacted by it. From the fact that some industries have little to no work that can be done offsite to the fact that some people need the structure and social environment of the office to get things done. Here, the model can be a hindrance more than it is of help.
- Customer Experiences may take a huge blow
Some businesses need client/customer interaction to thrive, without employees dedicated to this in person, it could severely impact business in the long run—especially if the online customer service is not being effective.
- The challenge faced by remote and in-office employees
If a team has both remote and in-office employees, there can be an issue between those two groups. It is possible that the ones in the office will feel like the ones at home are not working as hard because no one is watching them. On the contrary, it is also possible that remote workers will see their in-office colleagues as having access to better opportunities since they interact with managers on-site more frequently.
Hybrid working is useful to managers, leaders, and employees because it helps them be more productive without risking their work-life balance. They get to focus on working efficiently, rather than simply being busy or meeting the required hours.
The current global situation has made people more comfortable working remotely than ever before. This is the same for companies because of the need they see in adopting a hybrid work model and adopting flexible work policies.